Emmie Brown Blog

Think Long

We all want to feel like we are winning at the game of life. Sometimes we feel like we are experiencing much more failure than success. Unhealthy pressures can magnify those feelings and lead us to make bad decisions, foster negative habits, and get further away from the success that we want to have. How do we change that?

We need to think long.

Thinking long helps relieve unhealthy pressure and increases healthy forms of pressure.

1. First, let’s discuss the unhealthy pressures.

To identify where you might be experiencing pressure, ask yourself, “What do I worry about?” In other words, “What keeps you up at night?” and “What occupies your brain space?” If you are worried, then you likely have a short-term perspective.

A friend of mine was telling me that his son, who is a freshman in college, did not make very good grades his first semester. He and his wife were really worried about it until he thought about his son at age 30. When he pictures his son at 30, he has trust that no matter what happens, he is going to end up okay- even if his son ends up taking a different path than they had planned.

You may be worried about your income, a relationship, a situation at work, or a family challenge.

In order to relieve yourself of unhealthy pressure, choose instead to think long by asking yourself, “Will this matter in five years?” or “Will it matter in ten years or will it even matter in one?”

2. Thinking long does not just get rid of negative pressure; it also helps you to put healthy types of pressure on yourself.

The summer after my junior year in college, I worked with Southwestern Advantage’s Summer Program. A 12-week summer was a relatively short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but the days seemed to drag on forever. Have you ever noticed how the days seem long and the weeks seem to fly by?

My business partners Dustin Hillis and Dave Brown also worked with Southwestern Advantage in college. They seemed to pick up selling books naturally. They took off like rocket ships right from the start. I felt more like a sinking ship. Every day, I cried and I wanted to quit. They were the top producers in their organizations from the beginning. For half of the summer, I was not even in the top half. I could have easily quit. I could have easily put in minimal activity, falsified my activity, or just stayed under the radar, doing just enough to get by.

You know it if you are doing just enough to get by. You feel it, there is this ever-present feeling of guilt hovering in the background of your thoughts.

I’m so glad I did none of those things. Maybe it is because I had the right mentors who were encouraging me and they had made me commit to the right things, but I did my best daily. I worked the hours. I put in the demos. And I ended up finishing the top first-year in North Carolina. That changed the trajectory of my life. It led me to write an honors thesis and graduate Summa Cum Laude from college, recruit top teams, become a District Sales Manager with SWA, and later working with SW Consulting, marrying my husband, and having the life I have now. I do not even know where I would have been had I not made a decision to give it my all that first summer selling books.

Where in your life do you need to decide to invest your full talents and attention so you can set yourself up for success in the future? Where do you need to sacrifice in the short-term for long-term gain? So many people who made a decision to give it their all literally change their situation overnight. Where do you need to invest your time in the short-term for long-term gain?

Having a long-term perspective can help you get rid of the negative pressure that holds you back. It can help you to put healthier pressure on yourself to perform. If you find yourself worrying, ask yourself, “Will this matter in five years?” If you need an extra push, determine where you need to invest in the short-term to get long-term gain.

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