It’s not the event, it’s the process
We all have goals and dreams, but it can be difficult to stick with them and that’s because we’re always a YES to the result, but we’re not always a YES to the process –and without the buy-in for both, we’ll never see it through.
intenSati creator, Patricia Moreno, calls this the YES-YES. She says your first YES is to the dream, desire or goal and your second YES is to the process. If you’re not a YES-YES, if you’re only a YES to the dream and not the process that will take you there, what you really are is an emphatic NO.
Patricia’s message of YES-YES was a big A-ha moment for me. Over the past few years, I’ve come to the realization that I’m someone who not only dreams big but who’s also very powerful in making those dreams happen. I’m someone who’s full of steadfast determination, focus and commitment, working the situation with all I’ve got. I know without a shadow of a doubt, when I put my mind to it, I’m unstoppable. And while I know this to be true about myself, I still experience moments where I’m running in place or finding walls at every turn instead of doors. Despite the fact that I have evidence of times when I’ve willed what I’ve wanted into existence, there are also times when I feel anything but unstoppable. And what I’m just realizing is the only difference between the times when I’ve manifested some pretty amazing things and the times I’ve felt walled in was my mindset: it’s the difference between a YES-YES and being a YES-NO.
When it comes to my career and teaching, I’m very clear on what I want, and it’s easy to be a YES to that dream. However, it’s not always easy to be a YES to the process that will take me there. Most recently, changes in my teaching schedule and the uncertainty around where I’m going has me gripped in fear. While I recognize that the process isn’t always a linear path, while I can acknowledge that the process isn’t always pretty, the truth is, when the process gets downright ugly, when I’m not getting the results I want when I want them, I’m quick to say NO to the process. When I start to feel defeated, broken down or uncertain, I’m quick to question if I’m good enough or talented enough to get what I want. My self-imposed restrictions are quite insidious and as a result I end up voluntarily living in a paralyzing mental framework, rather than confronting my own role in the process. Just the possibility of failing turns into something self-fulfilling where the things that once had my unequivocal buy-in, now resonate with a No, Not really, or Hey, maybe we should quit and pull out while we can.
It’s easy to work when we feel motivated. And it’s easy to feel motivated when we’re getting timely results – getting results has a way of propelling us forward. But what about when things aren’t happening in the way you want them, when you want them? What about when you’re bored and unmotivated? What about when the work isn’t easy? Are you willing to go through months of failing? Are you willing to quit what’s not serving the dream instead of simply quitting what you perceive to be unsuccessful? Are you willing to say yes to the dream AND yes to the process?
All too often we think about our goals in terms of the event. Success becomes the event and only when we’ve gotten “there” will we be successful:
Our health is an event: If I lose 20lbs, then I’ll be in shape, healthy, beautiful, worthy, accepted….
Entrepreneurship is an event: If I was on the cover of this fitness magazine, if I had more clients, if our company was ranked #1….
Our relationships are an event: If he/she just did _______, if I was in my ideal relationship….
The events themselves are not the difference. The events themselves are not the markers of success. Rather it’s our ability to do the work when the work isn’t easy – it’s our ability to be IN the process when the process is downright ugly that makes the difference and the only way to be in the process is to be a YES to it. All of it.
The process is an investment and it’s our full buy-in that is what will allow us to enjoy the end result anyway. Investment is what gives meaning, purpose and fulfillment:
If you want to be a great writer, having a best-selling book is great, but the only way to reach that milestone is to fall in love with the process of writing – it’s the process of writing hundreds of shitty first drafts that will ultimately birth the final product.
If you want the world to know your business or craft then of course it’s great to be ranked #1, be on the cover of a well-known magazine, or have the accolades and markers of that success. But, the only way to get to “that” point is to fall in love with mastering your work, with failing and learning, with deep practice – and it’s only by putting in that time that you’ll be able to sell and market what you’ve got to offer.
If you want to be in the best shape of your life, then losing 20lbs may be necessary. But in order to stay in the best shape of your life, you’ve got to commit to the process as a daily, life-long thing – you’ve got to consistently exercise, eat healthy and be mindful. The process is never a quick fix.
If you want to be significantly better at anything, you have to fall in love with the process of doing it. You have to fall in love with building the identity of someone who does the work and works through the hard stuff, rather than somebody who merely dreams about the results they want.
The process isn’t pretty, but it’s the place where progress happens. It’s in those really f-ing ugly moments that we discover that we can dig deep. The process is the place where we unearth parts of ourselves waiting to be birthed. It takes will and awareness and real grit to stay in the trenches of the process. And if you’re like me, somedays you won’t be able to do the work because you’ll be sidetracked with your self-imposed limitations and you’ll consider, even briefly, the likelihood of other dreams. Somedays, you will just flat out not want to stick it out because you feel like you should be “there” already. But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look at the process differently. You can simply view the process as something you either say YES or NO to, knowing that it’s THAT answer – nothing else – that determines the path before you.
I’m convinced the hardest part in all of this is convincing ourselves of the possibility of our dreams and hanging in the process long enough to see it through. Even as I struggle with saying YES to my process, I’m also certain that saying YES is the catalyst for that conviction and that ultimately in any process we’re working through, we can either be the obstacle or the door. And, it’s only when we are a full-on YES to the process that we not only get to be the door, but also walk through it.
This week, fall in love with boredom. Fall in love with repetition and practice. Fall in love with your challenges. Fall in love with the messy, the ugly, the non-filtered and unedited process and let the results take care of themselves.