This month, I’m sharing with you a series on life lessons about success and goal-setting. Today, though, I want to share with you something that surprised me about this process — about actually getting what I wanted and how it disappointed me.
Before we talk about that, though, have you registered yet for Michael Hyatt’s upcoming webinar on goal-setting?
If not, sign up right here to learn the five most common mistakes we make in setting and achieving goals.
All, right, on with the next lesson (you can listen via the player here)
Here’s the secret to continued success…
Lesson 7: Don’t get sophisticated, stay scrappy
One of the things I didn’t expect to learn from this process of setting goals and actually achieving them was that once you get to the mountaintop, you don’t really know what to do.
Nobody prepares you for this. I once wrote about my best year ever, explaining how “I got everything that I thought I wanted and it wasn’t what I thought.”
What do we do when this happens?
I think we ought to remember what got us here in the first place — and maybe that was the point. This goes along with Lesson 4 when we talked about how we should measure the process, not just the results.
In other words, don’t get comfortable. The habits that make you successful are the same ones that allow you to succeed. And although this makes perfect sense, many of us forget this.
We achieve a little bit of success, think much of ourselves, and forget to keep practicing. We get lazy, and as a result, we lose the very thing we worked so hard to attain.
But wait. Haven’t you heard the saying, “what got you here won’t get you there”? I think there’s even a book about that. And that’s true… sometimes.
Don’t get comfortable
Some things do change when you succeed.
But a lot of things don’t.
Take relationships, for example. When you started dating someone, you do everything you can to be around that person. Maybe you write letters or emails or send them text messages. In my case, I wrote songs for the girl who captured my heart (and eventually married her).
But at some point, we get comfortable. Lazy. We take each other for granted, and the relationship starts to stagnate. We’re busy; it’s easy to find an excuse to not spend time together. Because, we think, that person will always be there.
What do we do when we recognize this pattern?
If we’re smart, we go back to the basics, to what got us here in the first place. We date our spouses again. We pursue them. We start writing letters and songs and sending text messages that say “I love you” for no reason at all.
Sometimes what got you here is the only thing that will keep you here.
The same is true with success.
At the beginning, we tend to strive and hustle and work ourselves to the bone. And we love it. It’s fun. Exciting, even. We have all this energy and passion — it’s almost infectious.
But at some point, we achieve our goals. We get what we wanted. And for whatever reason, we think the rules change. We get sophisticated.
It is in these moments when we must discipline ourselves to stay scrappy.
I remember working so hard in 2012 to make enough money to quit my job and write full-time. Then, as soon as I got what I wanted, I stopped writing for three months.
It’s because I thought that once you achieve a goal, the work somehow becomes easier. That’s rarely true.
Again, I will say it: what got you here, keeps you here. Stay hungry.
Look. I’m not saying you can’t relax or enjoy your achievements. Just don’t get lazy and entitled about it. Stay humble. It makes you more likeable and allows you to more easily notice your blind spots.
Are you enjoying this free series on getting the life you’ve always wanted? You can catch up the previous lessons here:
- Lesson 1: Find your who
- Lesson 2: Decide not to drift
- Lesson 3: Set habits, not goals
- Lesson 4: Measure the process
- Lesson 5: Seek feedback, ignore criticism
- Lesson 6: Run your own race