Fall in love with the process

Your ultimate goal is important but it’s loving the process that gets you there, explains Nigel Collin.

When you sit down and think about your career, your goals or the things you really want to achieve, it can be a daunting task. As we all know achieving anything of value takes time and effort.  Yes it’s important to focus on your goal and what you want to accomplish but let’s be truthful, it can also seem like a marathon where the finish line is a long way off.

So, how do you keep inching away and staying motivated during the journey?

Recently, I’ve been working on a new book with an associate of mine, and over the past few months I’ve been reminded of the importance of loving the process. Like building a career as an EA, writing a book is an adventure in its own right. One could say, with the risk of being berated for using one of the most overworked and cliché buzzwords of all, a journey.

This is because when you start you are filled with excitement and drive but soon reality sets in when you realise the task ahead is greater, more difficult and complex than you ever imagined. Then once you get your head around that and start actually doing it, new challenges appear and holes in your plan show up. You might be working on certain projects or short-term goals but what you thought would take a matter of weeks ends up taking months. On longer term projects, what you thought would take a matter of months ends up taking years. As a result, you get peaked out, anxious and overwhelmed, which then makes you less effective and less productive. Building a career takes time.

The solution is to focus on the process and enjoy each step of the way. If you want longevity and a sustainable career as an EA, one that constantly moves forward, you need to take time and do it right.

Think of it like a road trip where you have an ultimate destination, but the actual joy is the trip itself. The journey, the experiences you have, the people you meet, the sights you see, places you visit and the challenges along the way. The destination is almost an excuse.

The other thing about a road trip is you could choose to drive like a maniac without breaks and you might end up at your destination but the cost of speeding means you won’t enjoy the destination as much because you’ll get there tired and grumpy (if you get there at all without incident). Or you could choose to take your time, do it right and savour every moment along the way.

So, enjoy the process of getting there because it is not just a joyous experience but also a productive one. Does that mean goals and milestones aren’t important? Of course not, it’s just that once they are in place, be aware of them, check in every so often but it’s the process of doing that will get you there. Fall in love with the process. Here are some major benefits.

1. It takes the pressure off

It’s overwhelming to look at a career or a work project and all that needs to be done to achieve it. If you just focus on what needs to be done now, it takes the pressure off.

2. It’s more enjoyable

When you do something you enjoy every moment it becomes effortless and just seems to flow. So, if you learn to enjoy the process you’ll get into the zone and everything becomes easier.

3. It gives you small achievable steps

Loving the process lets you focus step-by-step, inch-by-inch, and so reaching your goals becomes achievable. They are no longer insurmountable. Interestingly, a study done by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer The Progress Principle in their book ‘The Progress Principle’  indicated that 76 percent of participants cited progress as the main reason for a great day at work.

To savour the process is not just a joyous experience but also a productive one. If you learn to love the journey, not only will you be more productive, more focused, more effective but you’ll also enjoy a more prosperous career as an EA.

See Nigel at the 2020 Melbourne Executive PA Summit

If you’d like to meet Nigel Collin and see his presentation, apply to attend the 2020 Melbourne Executive PA Summit. This free one-day event is designed for busy EAs and is jam packed with professional development seminars, tailored meetings and networking opportunities. Positions are filling up quickly, so apply today.

Nigel Collin is a change and leadership expert helping people and organisations make change happen through small consistent steps. He is author of ‘Game of Inches’, an Internationally recognised keynote speaker and executive coach. www.nigelcollin.com.au