One Simple Secret To Success That Anyone Can Do
You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
In 2005, four Navy Seals were sent on a mission to extract a high value target. Unfortunately, the mission didn’t go according to plan, leaving the Seals to fight for their lives.
Three of them were killed in action. The other was shot, fell off a cliff, and in the process shattered his back and legs. He also bit off half of his tongue, and endured multiple gunshot wounds.
Yet, despite the fact that he couldn’t walk, he managed to crawl 11 kms to a nearby village and to safety. When he was asked how he did it he said that he took a stone in his hand, stretched his arm out in front of him and drew a line in the sand.
All he wanted to do was get across that line. As soon as he managed to drag his feet across the line, he drew a new one. In fact, he kept drawing lines and crossing them for 11 kms. That is how he did the impossible. One line in the sand at a time.
Motivational speakers love telling us to take big actions; to think and act big. Although I can appreciate the sentiment, and sometimes it’s apt, I think that it often has a counterproductive effect.
It scares people. It implies that there is also the possibility for massive failure. But it's not just about the actual failure of a project or business. It’s the internal dialogue that goes with it.
The inner voice that starts telling you that you aren’t good enough. That you shouldn’t even try. I’m sure you can relate. We all have a judger inside us that rears its head when we are trying to do meaningful things.
That criticises every move and decision. The judger has a great ability to prevent us from taking any action at all. Let alone massive action.
It’s for this reason that I always encourage entrepreneurs to simply focus on the line in front of them. Keep in mind the direction you want to move in, and the goal you would like to achieve, and then start by crossing that first small line.
And when you’ve done that, cross the second. As you continue, you pick up momentum. Your actions become bolder because you become more confident. Soon you find yourself taking bigger and bigger decisions and actions.
But they were born from the thousands of small decisions and actions that you took before.
I talk about this principle often.Accretion is the accumulation of all of your compounding efforts, small wins, abilities, knowledge, and experiences. Over time this process accumulates and perpetuates what you feed into it.
When you realise that accretion is about the accumulation of all the things that you do and all the decisions that you make, you start to see the importance of aligning everything in your life in the direction of your goals.
The reason I am writing to you today is because of the body of work that I have accumulated through the writing of my daily email. An email that has gone out more than 580 times. Every day without missing a beat.
It’s my line in the sand that I cross every day. And the result of it has not simply been an accumulation of 580 emails. It has been a successful business, the opportunity to become a coach, to speak on stages with well-known businessmen, and write this column for Entrepreneur magazine.
Remember that consistency breeds success. I’d much rather bet on the guy who consistently executes well than the guy who hits a home-run every now and then. Draw a line in the sand. Cross it. Then tomorrow, do it again.