Progress is a beautiful thing. It’s one of the most under-appreciated intangibles we have access to every day. We take it for granted and often times don’t even acknowledge it. If we lose “just” 1lb, we’re upset. If we run our 10 minutes on the treadmill just 0.1 faster, we feel inadequate, as we see the person beside us sprint for what seems like 30 minutes straight in our peripheral. But true athletes understand the value of progress.
A track star understands the value of -0:01.
A wrestler understands the value of -0.5lb.
A body builder understands the value of 1mm.
Even the slightest bit of progress is advancement in performance. What will it take for us “normal human beings” to see our progress in such a way? What keeps us from patting ourselves on the back every now and again for the small feats?
The biggest obstacle to appreciating progress is comparison. We are constantly comparing ourselves to someone else. This past week I delivered my first keynote speech to an audience here in Charlotte, NC. Up to the speech, I prepared like no one’s business. I watched my favorite speakers, took notes, and practiced. I didn’t look or sound like Lisa Nichols, but I inspired my audience and touched lives. As opposed to beating myself up for things I forgot to say or things I meant to say differently, I decided to celebrate the progress I’d made it delivering a 40-minute speech for the first time like a PRO! I’m sure my audience couldn’t tell it was my first time, so in my humble opinion, I rocked it out!
If I sit here all day and compare myself to Lisa Nichols or Les Brown, I will wallow in inadequacy, never do it again, and never make moves to possibly be on their level one day.
Don’t get me wrong…. competition is healthy. And you can’t be competitive without some degree of comparison. But
Excessive comparison leads to an under-appreciation of progress.
Take time to acknowledge your small victories and appreciate them for what they are. Sometimes you have to silence the world and view your progress with tunnel vision. Don’t allow the victories of others to determine how you view your own victory—small or large. In sports, a W at the end of the day is a W. It doesn’t matter if the team playing on the court beside you won by more points.
Acknowledge your progress this week. Maybe you had 1 less cheat meal last week than the week prior. Maybe you were able to make it to two of your daughter’s soccer practices this month instead of none. Maybe you read a whole chapter last night instead of 2 pages like the night before. Maybe you lost 1lb instead of gained.
The best thing about progress is it signifies you’re getting closer to a goal. The closer you get is completely up to you.
You eat an elephant one bite at a time.
If you’re hungry enough, eventually you’ll consume it all.