When you Don’t Feel like It: #WYDFLI

In Ancient Greek mythology, there is a story of a young boy who wished to be strong when he grew up, so strong that he would be able to lift a fully-grown bull. In order to reach that goal he started to train by lifting a bull calf daily from the day that it was born. Each day, he would lift the calf into his shoulders and carry it around, lap after lap, making a loop in the grass. As the calf grew, so also did the little boy’s strength, until the day arrived when the bull was fully grown and the boy had become a man. That day, the man lifted the bull onto his shoulders and carried it around the same loop he had done every day before. All the villagers were amazed at his feat of strength! The only one not amazed—the man carrying the bull. To him, it was a daily routine.

Pause on this story for a moment. Recognize this key detail: The boy started carrying the bull when he was a little boy and the calf was small. He did it every day as he grew up and he got stronger along with the bull gaining weight.

I don’t know about you but there is no way my gym avoiding self would be able to pick up a small, malnourished bull let alone a fully-grown one if I was tasked with it today. It would be an overwhelming ask.

So back to you: what bull are you trying to carry? Have you been working to make it a habit or have you slipped a disk trying to pick up a goal that’s heavier than the training you should have put in?

Aristotle once said,

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.”

In this story you have a boy who, at an early age, formed a habit and kept at it until he grew up and was capable of achieving a seemingly insurmountable goal. (Remember the villagers.) He identified what it would take to get it done and kept at it.

I wonder though what the boy’s thoughts were as he woke up every day. I’d like to think there were days when he woke up and did not want to go out and pick up that bull. Yet, day in and day out he did what he needed to do.

The first time I heard Aristotle’s quote, I was at a conference during my time with Southwestern Advantage selling books door to door to pay my way through college.

The keynote speaker re-phrased it and said,

“Success is rented, never owned and the rent is due every day.”

This statement has resonated with me ever since.

Have you ever worried about missing rent? Have you ever missed a mortgage payment? I hope not. But maybe you can relate with the importance of coming up with the money. You don’t just hope you will have enough rent for the year. You have to proactively set money aside. When you buy a home or sign the lease you commit to making that payment each month. You commit to doing what it takes each and every month to make that payment.

I love this rent analogy because it speaks to the daily decision to follow through on a habit you know you need to keep at in order to hit your goals. Success is the sum of the daily decisions made over the long term when executed consistently. You have to follow through with the habits you are working towards daily to hit your goals.

Albert E.N. Gray wrote in his book, The Common Denominator of Success,

“Successful people form the habit of doing the things consistently that unsuccessful people don’t.”

Where this idea can be misconstrued or misunderstood is when people think they need to subscribe to the “grind.” Doing hard things over and over with no hope of change. Wrong. I am a big believer in delegating, outsourcing, and being humble enough to ask for help.

Instead, look closely at Gray’s statement and see the nugget of truth there. Often the things that are most vital to being accomplished are the very things that we want to avoid doing because they might not be the most fun.

Oftentimes they are the things that CAN’T be delegated because YOU are the one who needs to sign off on it, have the conversation about it, or in fact, it’s actually about you. You can’t delegate self-development, studying your scripts, or practicing your presentation. You can’t delegate or hire someone to develop your emotional intelligence for you or to make you a better presenter without putting in the work yourself. Yet the habit of consistently doing these things are often the things that are most quickly avoided because they aren’t fun but are the most impactful.

Like the boy who woke up and didn’t want to pick up the bull but did it anyways; what do you not want to do but you know you NEED TO in order to hit your goals.

Dave Brown, a founding member of Southwestern Consulting, senior partner, and my organization leader shared an idea recently at our Global Summit that pulled this analogy full circle. You know right now what you need to do. You know what you aren’t doing. What you need to do that you haven’t been doing or don’t want to do.

He called it: #WYDFLI – When you don’t feel like it.

This acronym is simple in thought but powerful in action. You already know what you need to do. But you haven’t been doing it.

I’ll challenge you to form the habit of doing that which you know you NEED to do; when you DON’T feel like doing it. (#WYDFLI)

On the business front, maybe it’s picking up the phone and making one more call or working to set one more appointment. Or it looks like taking the time to read your scripts at the end of the day or organizing your leads on a Sunday afternoon to be ready for the next week. But it’s so much more than just business.

Be someone who forms the habit of showing up for people when you don’t feel like it. Studying and self-development when you don’t feel like it. Be a person who cares and loves on others when you don’t feel like it. Who apologizes and humbles themselves when they don’t feel like it.

I bet the little boy had days when he woke up and didn’t want to go pick up that calf. But over time he kept at it and eventually he was strong enough to pick up the bull. He formed the habit of doing it even when he didn’t feel like it (#WYFDLI).

Take the time to slow down and recognize what you know you already need to do. Commit to doing it. Ask for help. Ask for someone to hold you accountable. Pick up the bull.  #WYDFLI

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