My youngest daughter, Sitota, is fearless. She’s enthusiastic. She’s encouraging. And by some stroke of luck, she possesses a determination to get better at the things she’s working on.
Her newest phrase is, “Practice makes progress!”
I know she’s learned it from her teachers. What I love though is how she has internalized it and understands it.
She may not comprehend the shift the phrase has taken over the years from perfect to progress. She likely can’t conceive what perfectly even looks like. I’m glad.
But watch her attempt a handstand as she counts how many seconds she can hold it. Watch her do cartwheels over and over and then try a one-handed round-off. It is clear she understands progress and the sheer joy of holding just one second longer than before.
Shrink the Gap
As with anything we don’t know how to do, there is a gap between where we are and the picture of being able to do it.
We label that picture as our goal.
We look for examples of those who have accomplished it. We look ahead to imagine what life will be like once we’ve reached our goal. I mean, that’s what we’re supposed to do, right? We’re adults. We’re supposed to be able to picture our lives five years from now.
At seven, Sitota doesn’t have that ability quite yet. She’s just trying new stuff. She’s trying to hold a handstand for one more second. As she gets better, she attempts more complicated flips.
Every attempt, every second she adds, shrinks the gap. And it started with just doing what she could.
Doing Creates Options
I’ve come to dislike the phrase “all in”. I get it. But I sometimes think it can prevent us from trying in the first place.
Sitota isn’t all in on some goal of being a future gymnast. She’s just trying something new. If she gets better at it, she can choose to keep working at it and devote more time.
That said, if she never does another handstand again, she’ll also be fine. No one will care or ask her why she never followed through. She’ll just move on to doing other things. But doing gives her those choices.
We’re less forgiving of ourselves. We sometimes think that every decision in our business has to be all in. I don’t think that’s true.
One of the things I admire about my friend and business partner, Chris Brogan, is his ability to do. He’s always trying something new. He does and learns and does more. Sometimes it turns into something significant. Other times, it’s a learning experience. But in all cases, he makes progress. That progress creates opportunities. It gives our business options.
To me, success has always looked a lot like having options.
So, what could you do just to see what happens next? What could you attempt without feeling like you have to go all in?
Who knows, doing it may give you options you haven’t even considered yet.