Throughout 2023, I’ve had the privilege of learning from some of the world’s greatest masters of their craft. And oddly, my conversation with each of these titans of industry – the business leader, the athlete, the orator, the professor, the singer – did not focus on their achievements or accomplishments. Instead, I’ve been thirsty to glean insight into how these icons go about preparing to perform their gift that we so greatly appreciate.
As we stand on the cusp of another change of year, it’s only natural to engage in reflection. The usual thoughts come to mind — achievements, milestones, and perhaps a smattering of regrets. But what if, for a moment, we shifted our focus away from results and instead, delved into the often overlooked but magical realm of process?
Give Voice to Your Process
While people are quick to reflect on or share their achievements (highs) and struggles (lows), the messy-middle often gets tucked away. In my experience, there is immense power in giving voice to your process, making it less abstract, including the lessons learned between challenges and victory. Consider writing down your thoughts on your process in a journal. Documenting your journey helps you gain clarity while also providing a source of inspiration.
The Importance of Iteration
In a world obsessed with perfection, it’s easy to forget that process involves iteration. We all know the road to success is a series of experiments, tweaks, and adjustments. As you step into 2024, embrace the concept of iteration. Be willing to adapt, refine, and evolve. Trust the process, celebrate the small wins, and view setbacks as opportunities for growth.
Choose a Word for the New Year
Kick off your journey into 2024 with a practical tool that can serve as a guiding star through the next 365 days — selecting a word for the year. Unlike the usual New Year’s resolutions that tend to be highly specific and goal-oriented, a word for the year provides a more nuanced and flexible approach that aligns with your process. It’s a touchstone that grounds you, reminding you of the essence you want to infuse into your actions and decisions.
Think about what you want to cultivate in your personal and/or professional life this coming year. Is it resilience, creativity, connection, or perhaps balance? Your chosen word becomes a focal point and a mantra, of sorts, that guides you through the inevitable ups and downs.
Embrace the Messy Middle
In a world that often celebrates the highlight reel, it’s easy to overlook the messy middle — the space between your starting point and the finish line, often representing your how, where the real magic happens. Just ask any performer, there’s meaning in the in-between where the training, the practice, and preparation occur. Instead of fixating solely on end results, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of your process.
Cheers to the magic of process!