That’s a mantra I started a few months ago. It pairs well with Friday is for finishing.
Combined, they help guide action on my high-value activities during the week. Build momentum early to power through chaos and friction.
I shared this tweet to inspire others to build momentum:
My high-value activity for yesterday was to get an article written and published.
It didn’t happen.
To complicate the situation, I had a productive day. No need to combat chaos. No friction to overcome.
Turns out the culprit was resistance.
That sneaky little voice in our head that lies to us. The one that tells us we’re not good enough. Or creates distractions that keep us from expressing our value.
The leaders I work with are great at recognizing chaos. It’s hard to miss.
Friction is a bit more complicated until you learn to spot it. Those are external forces, though sometimes of our own doing.
Resistance is internal. And it’s sneaky.
The clue that resistance was beating me came during midday
I caught myself making an excuse. I figured publishing four articles this week was an improvement on the three last week.
I gave myself an out long before the day ended.
I immediately called myself on my own BS.
I grabbed my stack of article ideas, intent on picking one and getting it done. I had at least five to choose from.
It didn’t happen.
Instead, I got lost in which of the five. Then I expanded it to another list that had even more ideas. I won’t bother you with the third list of yet more ideas.
The day ended without publishing a single article.
Yet I had a great day
Solved some pressing issues. Improved my mindset. Advanced some of the projects I’m working on. By all accounts, the day was a success.
But I didn’t build momentum on my high-value activity.
Resistance beat me.
Once I owned it, I decided to do something about it. I followed three steps:
1. Put the day up for review
2. Diagnosed what happened
3. Put together a plan to fix it
Straight Talk is honesty with empathy. I embrace that and approached this process with compassion for myself. This wasn’t an exercise to beat myself up. I got beat and needed to figure out how to prevent it from happening again.
Step 1: Put the day up for review
I started by reflecting on the day and what happened. At first, it wasn’t clear what went wrong. I looked back further to last week when I published three articles.
That was my first clue. Last week I outlined all three articles in advance. After reading a post that linked to me, my brain raced with ideas. I sat down and typed out what came to me. Then another. Then a third. I actually sketched out a fourth idea, too.
The outlines had a sort of order to them. When it was time to write, I took the outline, review it, marked it up by hand, then wrote. Short break then revision. Found an image, selected a title, then published.
I had a folder of ideas. Not as structured. No plan. No clear purpose. I’m working on updating the website and creating a resource on how to value your time to increase your value.
My head is swimming with ideas. And I increased the pressure on myself. I want to share actionable ideas of value. I also want to make sure I’m writing what helps me develop the business over the next few weeks.
That’s all resistance needed.
Step 2: Diagnosed what happened
Once I finished the review, it was clear what happened. In the absence of an established practice, I:
- Lacked direction
- Failed to put a plan in place
- Got stuck and didn’t execute
Practice is the key. I know this. I teach this. It’s a core tenet of Straight Talk. Practice is essential to combat chaos, friction, and resistance. Among other things, practice:
- Has a purpose
- Has a process
- Has a place
I convinced myself that I knew the purpose and process “good enough.” I believed that as long as I sat down with some suggestions, I’d make it work. Turned out that was a bit more optimistic than I imagined.
Has that ever happened to you?
Step 3: Put together a plan to fix it
Once I isolated the problem, planning the fix was easy. Here are three steps I am going to take today:
- Spend one-hour sketching out my revised content creation process
- Spend one-hour rethinking the general ‘recipe’ for creating articles
- Test it out by outlining five articles today
I’m not looking for perfection. I know that progress reveals the pathway. My goal is to create enough detail within the two hours to improve the process.
I’m going to test it immediately by outlining the next five articles.
Success means not getting stuck again.
Note: I committed to this last night. Then a restless night of tossing and turning “helped” me with this article. I’m still going to follow those three steps. And if you think it’s helpful to your efforts, I’m happy to share what I come up with.
It’s what we do when resistance strikes that matters
It would have been easy to cite the productive day and revised, “more realistic” goal and move on.
But then I’d miss out, too.
Establishing a practice includes the benefit of reflection. Through that we learn about:
- our practice
- our work
Because resistance won the round yesterday, I’m stronger today. My writing (and soon podcasting) practice got stronger. And I reinforced some tenants of Straight Talk that I share with my clients.
I’m back on track.
It seems Tuesday is good for creating momentum, too.