Are we there yet?

Lesley McDonald NLP Master Trainer & Coach at Lesley McDonald Associates

I remember once boarding a train for London; I was travelling from Edinburgh. The journey takes about 4 ½ hours, and as I settled into my seat and the train slid from the station, I heard a little girl ask her mother ‘Are we there yet?!’

I admit it! I inwardly sighed just a bit, knowing only too well it was unlikely to be the last time I’d hear this question over the coming hours!

And yet, even as an adult, it is often an unvoiced question that accompanies me, when I’m embarking upon or progressing on a project… or on bad days ‘Am I ever going to get there?!’

The difficulty with these types of question has never been so clear to me, as when I was recently embarked on a 90-day challenge. The challenge was to record a video, everyday for 90 days and post the result online.

My reason for taking the challenge was to get comfortable in front of the camera, so I could be relaxed recording webinars in the future, if I wished.

I started well and up until around day 50 I post every day, though from as early as about day 5 I began to lose track of how many videos I had actually recorded! Each one blurred into the next and then every-so-often I would do a count and keep going.

Somewhere between day 50 and 60 I fell off the wagon!! I missed a day but immediately videoed again the following day. Somewhere between day 60 and 70 I missed a few more, and again picked things up and continued.

By this time I had only the vaguest idea of how many videos I had to go. At one point, the rate of filming seemed to be slowing exponentially, which would mean day 90 was now, theoretically at least, stretching out towards infinity, or at least it’s how it felt.

With my motivation wavering, I limped along filming sporadically but crucially I did keep going. With what I thought was about half a dozen videos to go I decided I would count again and go for one more push.

This time though I even put off counting them!! When I finally got around it I was hoping I was in the 80s. I was.

In fact the last video, which I had recorded a couple of weeks earlier, had been video 89!!!! Video 89!! I couldn’t quite believe it. Only one video to go!

If only I’d known, I’d have got on with it! Yet a bit disheartened and demotivated, I could have given up! It struck me that for some projects we don’t know how close we might be, some projects require a degree of faith as well as effort !

And I wondered how often we maybe give up, when we are so much closer to achieving our goals, than we realise; when we are within a whisker of the finishing line, of achieving the result.

It was a bit of a moment for me! I wondered what had kept me going, even with all the hiatuses, distractions, and procrastinations!!

In the end, it was a combination of the support I had from people watching the videos, along with the commitment I’d made, right at the beginning, to complete 90 days of videos, and not the proximity to the result.

I had wavered plenty, I’d fallen off the wagon on numerous occasions and I gone plain AWOL more than once, but the support and the commitment to complete continued to bring me back on track.

The last video was easy! It would have been just as easy a couple of weeks earlier, if I’d kept my eye on the prize, rather than the distance I may or may not have had to travel!

And now I’m wondering about your goals, outcomes, and projects. The ones that are important to you, how close you might be, and how you might keep moving, even when the actual distance to the destination isn’t clear.

What is it about the goal that is important to you? What support might you get, what commitment might you make to keep yourself on track when the bright lights of procrastination and distractions attempt to tempt you away?!

How can you keep yourself going without getting disheartened just because you you’re not quite there yet?!

It can sometimes be tempting to give up, especially when it appears as if not much is happening, or as if we’re not getting anywhere fast.

It’s natural when working on a challenging goal or project to want to give up at times, to walk away! And yet I wonder how often we maybe give up too soon, so close to success, without ever even knowing it!

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