How do you feel when you have made clear visible measurable progress on something?
I know what my unique abilities are. They lie in the areas of accounting, business, problem solving , communication and innovation. I am not good at DIY, anything that involves manual dexterity, building things, cutting things, screwing things or gardening. Despite the fact that I am not good at gardening one of my favourite activities is cutting the lawn. Now that we are in Spring I am happy because lawn cutting is back and here is why!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just love sitting on or pushing my lawnmower and cutting the lawn. Before starting I put the petrol into the mowers and then I strategise my approach to optimise time efficiency and maximise the number of straight lines that I can achieve in that cutting. Then I plug in my earphones and I go for it.
What I really love about it is following that line between the cut grass and the uncut grass. Every time I do a line I can see the progress I am making and every time I turn I can see how much I have cut and how much I have left.
My kids are now old enough to help me cut the lawns but I enjoy the progress so much that I am considering making me solely responsible for grass cutting in 2023. I genuinely find it therapeutic to see all that grass being chewed up. To start a job and finish it. To see how much I had when I started and to see my progress throughout. As I cut the lawn, I then reflect on the progress I have made in that week, in that month or in that year.
In a world where completions are hard we need to celebrate the wins on the things that we achieved and closed out. In a life where we are striving to be better we are reaching for a horizon that will always move just beyond our grasp as we re-adjust our goals and aspirations. We will never reach our destination as the destination changes in tandem with our progression.
Think about. Look back to a time in your life when you have an aspiration or a goal.
Pick a goal that you had in the past that you have now achieved. Think back to the time that you set that goal. In the moment you set that goal what would you have given to achieve it? Now that you have achieved it did you rest on your laurels and stop or did you set a bigger better goal.
As we succeed. As we are successful. We change our goals and our horizon moves ahead of us. Like a boat setting out on the ocean we will never reach our horizon until we reach dry land. Striving is good for us to visualise our ideal future.
Measuring ourselves against our ideal future is tiring as we never actually get there. To measure progress we must look back to where we started from and what our original goals were. Real progress is about looking at how far you have come and how much you have achieved.
Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach thought me about the Gap and the Gain.
If we continually live comparing ourselves to our ideal future we can fall into the Gap. The Gap is not a nice place. The Gap creates discontentment. The Gap creates unhappiness. The Gap is demotivating. Living in the Gap does not allow us to realise our true potential and become our best selves.
Having a Gap is good because that is what keeps us growing. We need to live in the Gain.
Looking at where we started and seeing the Gain motivates and inspires us. Looking at where we have come from and the Gains we have made gives us momentum and builds morale. The Gain shows us what is possible. The Gain inspires us and gives us confidence. The Gain is something to celebrate. The Gain is something to be grateful for.
Do you live in the Gap or do you live in the Gain?
How far have you come and what progress have you made?
When I cut my lawn every week it reminds me to step out of the Gap every time I find myself falling in there and to consciously spend more time living in the Gain.
When I cut my lawn every week it reminds me of the Power of Progress.