When the Going Gets Tough, Keep Going
Tough conditions require tough decisions. We all have heard of sayings like these but not many can understand the meaning truly until one is caught in a situation that demands far more than you think you are capable of handling.
Imagine you are leading a team of people who are far more experienced than you in a place like the Marine Corps. What happens next is that when the training process is initiated, it becomes a challenge to get recruits to do things at the desired speed and intensity. In such a case, one has to look at one’s environment and figure out what can be controlled. Instead of being frustrated when a recruit does not listen or move as fast as they need to, one has to make some personal sacrifices to accomplish the tasks with the entire team.
Will it make you popular? Probably not. However, after taking some tough decisions like reducing eating time, the team will come around and perhaps respond better and faster. Sometimes, a short-term pain is the perfect input for a long-term gain, but we need to tell ourselves the right mental narrative to push through times of difficulty or we cannot hold that imaginary line.
To start with, we must understand our situation and all the possible inputs at our current Point A. Often people try to see where they are going but they do not understand the point of origin that they must start from. This leads to inefficiencies and, most importantly, lack of understanding of all possible inputs. With limited options, we will never be as impactful and lessen our ability for success.
Paint the picture of point B. What is it exactly that you are trying to accomplish? Be very specific with all the components that will need to be brought to this point. Do not settle for less than what you think you want to accomplish because you think that it is too hard to bring to fruition.
Set the Constraints
You must understand all the limitations that are going to be present on this journey that limit you from approaching things in a certain way. Your time may not allow you to put together a team. Perhaps finances stop you from hiring more help. Whatever it is, you must understand those constraints and set them. This is incredibly important because this is the step that most people fail at.
When they hit a tough spot, they open their constraints beyond the predetermined limit, not realizing how they will pay for this later with doing more work or an overall failure on the journey. Think of this as a bowling lane. The gutters will not get wider no matter what. Hence, we cannot have a wider lane to try to achieve our score.
Reverse Engineer to Step 1
Once you know where you are and where you are headed you can work your way backwards from the end result to the first step that you must take on this journey. First, look at all the major checkpoints that must happen. Then, break them down into smaller ones. From there, fill in the right inputs in your arsenal, but make sure that you are using the right inputs that do not create operation outside of the pre-set constraints.
Take the Smallest Step Forward Tomorrow
The second largest mistake that people make in this process is thinking that there needs to be some monumental first step. Make the first step as easy as possible so it can literally be taken tomorrow even if you just started this plan today. Often people wait for the right timing, and the environment to become magically perfect. What they really need is to just start and hit some bumps on the way to make the necessary tweaks early in the journey so that they don’t become massive problems later.
Here is one of the most prevalent examples of where people fail to incorporate the right inputs and continue to suffer due to poor analysis of their situation. Stress management is a hot topic right now, but few people are doing something about it with effectiveness. Why?
They do not understand all of the hundred or so different inputs available to them. The most common understanding is that they need to shed their workload, change jobs or retire. Hence, many do nothing because they desire high levels of accomplishment. There is nothing wrong with that desire, but we can accomplish both the stress management and achievement with proper inputs.
Remember, all things are possible when you follow this five-step process with discipline and innovation.