Day by day, little by little, step by step, and moment by moment we are chasing, pursuing, and becoming something.
The reality of our story is that we are shaped by how we spend our time. The matters of life that get our most energy have a profound destiny on where we end up.
This is true whether we want to talk about our big life dreams of fulfilling our calling, or the small mundane tasks of a Friday afternoon in the workplace.
One big thing I’ve noticed in coaching and leading individuals is that our goals and ability to change, lies in the attitude we bring to the problem.
Without fail I can tell early on in the coaching relationship who will see massive success and breakthrough from those who won’t.
Those serious about change offer not just words of affirmation about the desire to change, but they develop the plan to see it happen.
Everybody wants change. We all want to lose ten pounds, eat healthier, run a faster mile, get our finances in order, mend broken relationships, finish that degree we started years ago, parent better, or become a nicer person.
The problem with those statements is not that they aren’t true, it’s that they aren’t definable.
What is ‘nicer’ anyway? Being less angry? Paying more compliments? Not flipping someone off in traffic? Until you can define what that looks like, you won’t see the success you desire.
That’s what I see in coaching all the time. Two clients will both come into the phone call with a desire to have a happier job life.
Client A hates his job. It’s boring, utilizes very little of his skills, and leaves him feeling bad about himself?
“So what will you do to change the situation this week?”
I dunno. I’ll see if I can get some resumes out. Maybe I can get one out by sometime next week.
In contrast, there’s client B. He also hates his job because it utilizes very little of his skills and leaves him feeling down about himself.
“So what will you do to change the situation this week?”
I’m going to put out two resumes a day until our next conversation. I’m also going to follow up with a friend who said they had an opening in their company that I think I’d really like to work for.
“Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” – Exodus 23:30
God, speaking to the Israelites after their freedom from slavery, offers them this promise. He knows that they couldn’t take possession of the land all at once. They as a people weren’t ready. The nation wasn’t big enough. They wouldn’t have survived, so God came up with a plan and a strategy to help them succeed. Gradually, little by little, battle after battle, victory after victory, they increased their territory. They also increased in confidence and ability.
This can often be true of us, in both a physical and a spiritual sense. It’s easy for us to adopt an “I want it all right now mentality.” We believe that we are entitled to great things, right here and right now.
The problem is that in reality, we often aren’t ready for that.
Achieving success too quickly can lead to pride and arrogance that leads to a great downfall.
What’s important is that we learn to balance the importance of dreaming big, with the humility to work day by day towards our goals.
When we choose to live and work with a ‘little by little’ mentality, we are blessed in numerous ways. Here are five things that we learn to appreciate when we experience victory little by little.
1.) Growing confidence in our ability and God’s faithfulness. Just like the Israelites, we need to become confident in the journey. If God gave us everything we wanted instantaneously we’d end up pretty terrible. Not only do we not always (in fact rarely) want good and righteous things, but even when we do, we can’t handle it all at once. Working to achieve our goals (in whatever sphere of life they might be) to achieve small victories teaches us to trust in God’s faithfulness and learn our own skills better.
2.) Disciple and patience. Hard work and experiencing small victories makes the taste of achieving big goals more enjoyable. It also teaches us discipline and patience. It raises our grit level while helping us find our inner motivation.
3.) Humility. We’ve all been around (and maybe even been ourselves) that person who knows it all. They have it all figured out and can offer advice on anything that we might be struggling with. They are full of themselves and somehow make us feel more empty. Perseverance, grit, and hard work, the strategy of taking the land ‘little by little’ also benefits us in teaching us humility. We can know that our hard work pays off, and not become conceited in the process. We know that we aren’t where we want to be, and that keeps us level headed.
4.) Appreciation. As our humility increases, so will our appreciation for what we have. As we become more aware of what we have and where we would like to go, we have the chance to practice thankfulness. We know what it will take to reach our dreams and we either have what we need (tenacity, skills, connections, determination, whatever) or could acquire it when the time is right. Remaining humble in the midst of hard work raises our thankfulness.
5.) Hustle for the dream. Finally, working in the ‘little by little’ mentality we learn to hustle. We can clearly see that we are in mile ten of they twenty-six mile race of our dreams. We have appreciation for how far we’ve come, are humble in our current position, but also know that the race isn’t over. It makes the fire within us burn stronger.
In 2017 much of my blog writing on this site will focus on two key areas.
1.) I’m going to be sharing some of the things that God has been giving me during my quiet time. Some of my journal entries will be published here, and some implications from what I’m learning.
2.) I’m going to tie that in to leadership development and coaching. We ended last year looking at the Health and Integrity Pyramid and how to develop healthiness in a holistic manner. We’ll continue to dive deeper into Scripture to see how that brings out total health for us.
For now, I also want to leave you with a helpful tool to help you achieve your ‘little by little’ success.
As you set goals (or reaffirm your New Years Resolutions) get as detailed as possible.
Think I want to lose twenty pounds by spring break. I’ll do this by exercising for forty minutes four times a week, eating no more than two desserts a week, and having one meal a day that is carb free. That’s a much clearer picture of where you want to head than, “I hope to lose some weight this year.”
Specificity helps us achieve little successes. Little successes bring positivity and optimism to the journey. That positivity and optimism keeps us wanting more. Soon, the momentum has built, we’ve reached our goals, and we need to set a new goal.
If you want help with that journey, reach out to me and I’ll help you set up your 2017 success chart. As you experience success, I’d love for you to share it on this or another blog post.
Keep moving, I believe in you!