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Blog: Blog2

#72 How to not give up


Giving up is part of life

Man climbing

The road of your past is littered with things you gave up on. Some were intentional, but many more just slipped away as they got hard and you found yourself moving on to something else (often with the promise to yourself that you'll get back to it, which still hasn't happened).

Sometimes, intentionally quitting is your best option, but that's not the focus here. What I'm talking about is the goals you want to reach — whether it's releasing an album, running a marathon or reaching R1 million turnover a year — that you still want to achieve but can't seem to remain beyond your reach. Whether you've abandoned them in the past or they seem impossibly far into the future, you've given up on ever achieving them.

Infatuation with the future

Many of your goals remain unrealised because you become infatuated with the future — you become so attached to the outcome that everything up to the point where you achieve it is a massive slog. It's hard to find joy in the process when the shiny outcome is so frustratingly far away and the voices in your head keep telling you that you should have already reached it. (If you've ever been subject to the chorus of, "Are we there yet‽" on a long road trip, you'll recognise that feeling.)

When your only focus is achieving the goal, you will eventually run out of steam.

And even if you do achieve that goal, you are often left with a feeling of “Oh, is that it?”

For the record, I'm not saying you shouldn't set goals. The first part of my Clarity Quest is focused on helping the Questers clarify their future anchor, and it is supposed to be a huge, scary invitation into the future.

The point is that once that goal is clarified, you need to fall in love with the process that will take you there.

Falling in love with the process

When you fall in love with the process, a few things happen.

1. Each step becomes an opportunity to grow and develop new tools

The distance between where you are now and reaching that goal is full of obstacles you need to overcome. When your focus is on the future, those obstacles can seem so large they can push you off course or halt you in your tracks. But when your focus is on the next step, each obstacle is simply a new competency you haven't developed yet.

What was a frustrating interruption on your journey becomes an exciting opportunity to add new tools to your toolbox, or build a broader network of people who can help you solve the problem if it is something you can't do yourself.

2. Going off course isn't a disaster

Now that your focus is on the process, when you do slide off course — which will happen occasionally — you don't have to enter panic mode because the way back isn't achieving the end goal, it's simply getting back into the process and course-correcting if necessary.

For example, if your goal is to run a marathon and you get sick enough that you can't exercise for a week, it might feel disastrous. But if you're falling in love with the process, your only responsibility is to get back to exercising as soon as you can. Whether you run this marathon or the next isn't the main focus anymore — it's about staying in the process to the point where you can run a marathon.

3. Falling out of the process isn't the end of the journey

In the same vein, your goal might have been to run a marathon but after breaking your leg and spending the next year making questionable life decisions, it seems like an impossibility now. You might hear thoughts like, "I'm so unfit now I'll never be able to do it", or "I like this life, why should I bother?" However, falling in love with the process means that all you have to do is start exercising again, and just start enjoying that satisfying endorphin release at the end of each run.

It's about who you become

Your goals have been achieved by many people many times before.

The reason you haven't reached those goals is because you're not the person who can achieve them. YET.

When you fall in love with the process, you might not notice the small changes that happen over time. But as you develop new disciplines, learn new skills and overcome your obstacles, the compounding effect of staying in the process changes you into a person who is able to achieve your goals.

As you crest each small horizon you'll recognise potential and opportunities that you were unable to see before, and the problems you have to deal with get better and better. And as you continue to fall in love with the process, you'll become the person who quits intentionally when they want to and knows how to not give up when it matters.


Do you have a clear future anchor?

If not, take some time to clarify it for yourself or join the next Clarity Quest open day and find out how so many Questers are getting unstuck and moving towards the life they want.

How much focus do you put on your end goal, versus on the next step in the process?

What is the next step in your process that you need to fall in love with?

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