What Is The Twenty Mile March That Will Move You Forward?
As I started writing this blog post, it was 10:09 pm. Yep, I've either waited until the last moment, or I've been inspired to do something new!
I've actually written two other blog posts today. So, why did I write three posts, when I was only planning to publish one? After completing my first blog, I realized I wanted my words to have a few days to mature into a final published piece (It's ideally part of my writing process for every blog post).
The second post I wrote was my go to option for writing and publishing same day (Well, the idea was planted three weeks ago, so there was something to run with since my brain had processed the concept already). As I was writing the second post, a third idea came to mind and I veered off the cliff to go with my inspiration, and write about twenty-mile marches. So, let's get at it.
What Does It Take To Make It Happen?
"Mediocrity is the sign of chronic inconsistency." Jim Collins hit me, like a two-by-four across the head as I sat there listening to him in the middle of Catalyst conference years ago. If you've read my irunurun guest blog post, you've heard this quote from me before. In his talk, Jim told the story of two adventurers in a race to the south pole. One of the two men made it there and back to base camp ahead of schedule while the other died along the way.
One of the three reasons (the other two were productive paranoia and empirical creativity) the first gentleman succeeded was his fanatical discipline. He not only knew what his mission was and the actions that went with it, he followed through on them. As part of the race to the South Pole, his action was to traverse twenty miles each day. So, every day, no matter how hard or the conditions, he was going to log those twenty miles. If he was going to fall short, it was because nature wouldn't let him.
On the flipside, the second man hoped to make it twenty miles each day, but he'd continually fall short and think to himself that he could make it up later. The next day, he'd have to knock out twenty miles plus the four he had to make up from the day before. Over multiple days, he found himself running way behind schedule doing what he could, just to stay caught up.
And then when the opportunity arose and the conditions were perfect, both of them were able to take advantage of the opportunity, but only one was perfectly positioned to do so. It was the first man who was able to more than double his daily trek. The second guy was only able to go a handful more miles over the twenty. Ultimately, the first man would finish the race ahead of schedule while the second would die before ever reaching the destination.
Blogging No Matter What
And, it was writing my blog for the day that made me think about this powerful story. As part of our weekday blogging challenge, we've got to publish a blog post hell or high water each and every weekday. And so here I am, 10:52 pm writing my post for the day because unless mother nature takes out my power (which just happened minutes ago because of hurricane Irma), I'm finishing this post and publishing it to my website.
In a similar vein, this is how I approach my freelance work. I've got my daily (six paid hours) and weekly (thirty paid hours) marches, and whatever it takes, I make sure I knock out the hours I have and find new hours if I'm lacking. As a result of this consistent trek, I've had an awesome upward trend in my organic growth as a freelancer. When opportunity strikes, like it did last month, I'm able to log extra hours and get ahead of the curve. This positioning is the place of strength.
By writing two blog posts today, and leveraging the energy of the inspired third idea, I've set my self up for success this week in finishing five blogs. My goal is to get to the point where I'm publishing a week ahead of schedule. This will ease up on the pressure and give me margin to adjust when the unexpected arrives. When challenges and unexpected circumstances do arise, I'm planning for them. Whatever it takes, I'll get the blog post up and my freelancing hours logged.
So, What Do You Do When The Power Goes Out?
Like I mentioned above, my power went out as I was finishing this blog post. With the power out at my house, I was stuck discovering how to get the post live. My phone was still working and my laptop had battery remaining, so I connected the two and used the remaining juice to get this blog live. There is always going to be some obstacle making it harder than we hope, but the key is not how hard it is, but instead, the key is about how much we're able to overcome in the face of these challenges.
In your work, do you know what your daily, weekly and monthly marches are? Do you know what you need to do in order to make sure you keep making progress towards the destination?
If you can't quickly and clearly articulate the answers to these questions, it's time to sit down, reflect and find them.