The Art Of Follow Through: A Journey Of Self Discipline
Sometimes I ask myself... why are you not successful yet? This question, I do believe, can be answered with this little phrase: Follow Through
Lets put a short background to this desire of being successful. First and foremost, to me, success is the ability to provide for my family with the freedom of time and money. Through my quest to obtain this elusive desire - there have been many ideas, bumps, and shortcomings. Some of which I wish never happened, some I want to repeat, but all of them I have learned from and am thankful for every moment that I have had.
The word tried, and I have a very close relationship. I have tried a lot of things and my pursuit, here are a few just to give you an idea; multi-level marketing, online courses, affiliate marketing, drop shipping, list building, and social media marketing. While all of these are fantastic business models, I have yet to find success, all because of the follow through. While reflecting, I realized that skipping from one thing to the next is a horrible idea.
Follow through can save you from a life of should have. During all my efforts listed above, I found that I probably was just a few months away from "making the magic happen." Sometimes, you spend so much time creating something that it never gets finished. Today, I want to talk about how to do just that: Finish
What Is Follow Through?
Webster's dictionary defines Follow Through as the act or an instance of following through - which doesn't lend us much help. So, let us look elsewhere to find out our answer. Collin's dictionary describes it as "If you follow through an action, plan, or idea or follow through with it, you continue doing or thinking about it until you have done everything possible." - which is a little closer, or a lot closer.
The reason why I never found success was that there was no follow through. I had just jumped from one thing to the next without a care in the world. However, don't confuse it with a lack of effort. If I had followed through with everything I set out to do and did it until I had done everything possible, I am sure I would not be writing this article right now. But, because that is not how it played out, I am glad we can dive into this subject together.
Ultimately, follow through is the ability to see something to the end whether it is an end of complete failure or complete success - it must be an end. The attitude we are looking for here is one that says "I'll try every way to make this work, no stone unturned." I look back at every endeavor I have done and see that I left a lot of stones unturned. Though I am excited to change that in the future, and if you suffer from this, I hope you change it in your future too.
The Desired Outcome
When you go off to complete a quest you most likely have an end in mind. A destination you want to reach. There are things; however, that can quickly get in the way of success and make us want to take the "easy" way out or find a shortcut. Though, to follow through with an intention, you must have a system of self-discipline in place.
Having happy customers by making stunning websites, has made me fall in love with web design. Consequently, if I want to be a great web designer I also have to do things that I don't so much enjoy. Some of these are, creating useless pages or doing tedious, time-consuming tasks. So, if I want to be a master website designer, then I must endure the things I don't want to do but must do to complete a website.
Why is it that doing the things that we know we should do or have to do for our success seem so hard?
It's because our own humanity will ultimately override our own intentions. You will most likely do what you want to do instead of doing what you have intended to do. This is a rampant problem that needs to addressed.
At this point, it may seem hopeless. If we can't get through the weeds of a tedious task, then we might as well through in the towel huh?... Not so fast. There ware ways to get around this desire to do what we love and avoid what we do not want to do.
You Need A Lever
A lever, a system, or a reason. Call it what you may, but it is critical to put something in place that will force your hand. Something that will ensure your intentions don't succumb to human nature.
What could force my hand into doing what I have intended? It's simple; it comes down to the lesser of two evils. Humans tend to be lazy, so a good lever is one that makes the alternative more difficult. The aim here is to make it harder not to do your good intention. Thus, by making it harder to fail than to succeed, human nature falls to your advantage.
Let's look at some examples of levers in action.
Weight loss can be tough for a lot of people, but it can become doable with the right lever. Say I want to lose 30 lb, but I can never seem to make a dent in the number. I could challenge a friend to a weight loss competition if I desire to win.
Working on a tedious project can be very difficult especially if you don't have any source of accountability such as a boss or manager. Tell a friend not to let you go home until all of your work is done; this will force you to finish, wheater you want to or not.
Accountability does play a huge role in most levers, but some don't need accountability at all.
Say you get distracted by your phone easily, then just leave it in your car or another place that is inconvenient for you. More times then not it will be harder to get your phone in the middle of your work then it would be just to finish your work and then get it.
You also don't need to play it safe. If you have to get something done, then set the stakes high.
Let's say you have to read an essential manual but can't seem to find the motivation to do it. Though, you have to read it for a promotion at work. Set a high lever, something you couldn't afford to lose. One way you could do this is by giving a friend $500, and telling them only to give it back when you have finished the manual.
Now, every lever takes a certain level of discipline, but by making a lever you significantly increase your chances of success.
Follow through is your ability to finish. Something that most people, including myself, are not very good at - especially when it comes to doing something that we dislike. Moreover, even our best dreams have some tedious things that we don't want to do but must do. Except following through on our good intentions sometimes can seem impossible.
So, to break the destructive cycle of bad follow through, we must make a system of self-discipline, This system or lever is the only way to get the things done we intended to do but don't want to do. Make it harder to fail that it takes to succeed, and do this with everything.
Practice finding and executing your lever of self-discipline, and soon enough it will be easier to identify and implement.
Also, If you want to learn other reasons why you might not be successful, go ahead and check out this article!
What levers will you create today?