Before we jump into this week’s article “Don’t Confuse Growth With Results”, Have you entered my #feBRUary contest yet? I’m giving away over $2000 in prizes HERE.  This is Part 3, continuing the theme from last week of “One Step At A Time”.

*If you missed part two about the pain of discipline vs pain of regret, you can read here or if you prefer listen here.

One of my new coaching clients asked me how fast he could expect to see results. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. It seems everybody wants the quick fix. The media programs today’s society to think that way. You see advertisements and messages that deliberately mislead you into thinking that change will be quick and easy. Sexy titles like an “8 Minute Abs” video and a book titled “The 4 Hour Work Week”. How many people who have read that book actually work 4 hours a week after reading it? I have a feeling it’s the same number who did 8 minutes of abs and got a washboard stomach.

You’re inundated with propaganda like that so much that people start to believe results should be quick and easy. My message to my client was the same as my message is to you today. The worst thing you can do is expect results. The best thing you can do is just put in the work, one step at a time based on a system with a track record of success.

When you expect results to occur and they don’t magically appear your mind assumes nothing is happening. In reality a lot is actually happening, you just don’t see it.

It’s been my experience that most of the time when it looks like nothing is happening is precisely when the most growth is actually taking place.

Stop expecting results, it takes your eyes off the process.

Having a process-oriented mindset is a lot like the method farmers use to grow bamboo. Bamboo farmers plant giant timber bamboo seeds six feet deep in the ground and water them every day. At the end of the first year they see no growth. They continue to water them daily. At the end of year number two they still see no results from their daily efforts to water the bamboo. After three years there is still no outward sign of growth. Then all of the sudden after four years (over 1 200 days of watering) once the bamboo reaches the surface the bamboo shoots will sprout up at a rate of 90 feet in just 60 days.

If you’ve coached or played a sport, you’ve lived this experience. I know I have.

  • Freshman year, I learned a lot, fast. It was a big jump up from high school to college lacrosse.
  • Sophomore year, it all went to hell. Felt like I couldn’t get out of my own way. I wondered if I should even be playing the sport.
  • Junior year, I hit my stride and everything started to click. It was my best season.
  • Senior year, I really felt like I had put it all together and had a complete understanding of the game. I was more polished and refined as a student-athlete.

An outsider might look at my body of work and think that my junior year was where the growth happened. And they would be dead wrong. My sophomore year when it felt like nothing was going right was actually when the most growth was taking place, it just wasn’t visible to me or the public. Looking back I couldn’t see it happening but my junior year results were absolutely the result of growth during my sophomore year. For all of us growth is often uncomfortable at best, ugly and looks like nothing is happening. In reality, growth is what’s going on when it looks like you’ve got nothing going on. This is why you can’t confuse growth and results.

The problem is that progress isn’t always visible. Like the giant timber bamboo, just because you don’t see your growth happening doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. And there’s nothing easy about growth, the process isn’t supposed to take 8 minutes or 4 hours. It’s supposed to be challenging as hell. (Like gut wrenching challenging and to the point where you contemplate quitting.)

Our society today has what I call the Easy Button mentality. Too many people expect easy results and instant gratification at the push of a button. This is an illusion, there is no easy button, but there is a hard button. You push it every day for four, five, maybe ten years in some cases; you grow and the results will follow. The reality of it is that it takes thousands of nights to become an overnight success.

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