I’m on a little bit of a soapbox this episode because something has been irritating me. Do you get those emails promising huge results in very short amounts of time? Incredible gains for hardly any time investment? That’s what is on my mind so in this episode, I’m going to talk about why that’s not the way success works.
High-intensity performance to get a peak result is something we know how to do, certainly, but it’s not the way to do long-term change. Athletes who do a high-intensity burn to achieve a competition goal have already put in months and years of slow and steady practice to get to that point. And that’s how progress is really made.
I’m going to explain why we should focus on process goals over outcome goals. First I’m going to explain what that means so that you can really understand why slow and steady change is what wins. What do we have control over? What can we change in increments that will stay with us for long-term gain?
4:31 Downsides of focusing on challenge culture intensity
7:02 How to achieve stackable habits
8:10 What are process goals?
- Life is a journey, not a destination
- Focusing on the process makes the rewards more fulfilling
- If you are selling quick transformation goals, check your integrity
Resources discussed in this episode:
Contact Kari Lotzien | Be the Anchor:
Kari Lotzien: [00:00:01] Welcome to Be the Anchor, the podcast. I’m your host, business and leadership coach Kari Lotzien. When the seas of life gets stormy, and they always will, it is not up to us, to captain anyone else’s ship or to try to calm the waters of the ocean. It’s up to us to set our own destination for what we really want and to learn how to navigate those waves of life together while finding that place of security and stability with others. I call this being an anchor. If you are a dreamer, a visionary, an entrepreneur, whether you have an idea big or small, that you think might just make the world a little bit better, kinder, gentler place, you are in the right spot, my friend. We are going to talk about everything from big ideas to mindset and strategy and sometimes just how to get through the day. I don’t want you to miss an episode so be sure to follow and subscribe to the podcast so that we can stay connected and keep doing this journey of life together. Thanks so much.
Kari Lotzien: [00:01:10] Hello my friends. Thank you so much for being here. I’m Kari Lotzien, your business and leadership coach with Be the Anchor. Today I’m getting on a little bit of a soapbox because I’m feeling a little irritated, to be honest. And it’s something that’s been on my mind for a really long time, that idea of challenge culture. And it is really picking my butt because what I’m finding is that my newsfeed, my email, my sales calls that I’m getting are filled with promises of short term huge results in a very short amount of time. Whether that is, you can earn six figures a month or you can make seven figures in business in your first year. You can lose 15 pounds in 14 days before you have to go to your high school reunion. Or you can change your relationship in a weekend retreat with your spouse.
Kari Lotzien: [00:02:12] Here’s the thing. When we have long term goals that we want to move towards that are going to change our lives, it doesn’t happen through short term intense practices. It doesn’t ever. Ever. We can do intensity. Our nervous systems know how to do intense. We can lift really heavy weights a few times, maybe even once. If you are someone who is experienced in the world of high performance sport, often times you will focus in your attention on perfect form. You have the ideal mindset. You’ve prepped your joints and your muscles so that you can do the heaviest lift you’ve ever done, and you do it once. You can knock out of the park that huge project at work that requires intense focus. But you can’t do that for years and years. You do it for a short amount of time where you control all the other variables, you take the distraction out, you optimize the environment so that you can focus in on doing your best performance, but it’s for a short period of time.
Kari Lotzien: [00:03:30] When we keep doing this, when we keep coming back to intensity and we try to sustain it long term, it never works. This is the path to burnout where we do something really intently and then we fall off and we go into burnout phase and we completely shut down because our nervous system needs to recover. That’s the way this happens. If you want to do that heavy lift, the way that you do it is by allowing your body a space of pure rest, of stopping before you go back to it. You don’t do ten lifts and then just slowly build up and have no space in between. The way that you accomplish that big, heavy goal is you rest before and after. That’s what your nervous system needs to do to recover. That’s what it needs to do to look after itself. It is the exact same when it comes to mental focus. You can zone in. You can get really intently focused on a project and really focus your attention in, but you can’t do it long term.
Kari Lotzien: [00:04:31] You’ll get to a point where all of a sudden the ideas are gone, you have nothing left, and you need to walk away from it and have sleep or rest to recover and recuperate to come back to it. This is what challenge culture is doing to us. Is it’s pushing us to this idea of gaining something short term, building this up over a very short period of time, and then when we fall off, we think that we failed. And then we don’t get back on the proverbial horse to come back to our goals. The way to create long term change is to focus on consistency over intensity. I don’t care what you can do for 30 days. I care what can you do for two years? What habits can you develop that feel doable in your life, that can contribute to making your relationship just a little bit better? And let me tell you, these things are usually not Facebook worthy. We don’t create big, exciting programs that have transformational results in a very short period of time because that doesn’t sell. Taking 15 minutes where you put your phones away and you have a conversation when your partner comes home or you have dinner together and you talk about your days, you talk about your challenges, you talk about the most exciting thing that happened or something funny. That creates long term change. When you develop consistent habits of following through on leads or when you consistently show up to network in your business and you consistently focus on developing, what’s one little thing that we could be doing a little bit better or a little bit more efficiently in our business? Is that going to create five figure changes in a month or a day? No. It might create 2% change this week and maybe 1% change next week. And those things build over time. You do get the results. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen as quickly. But what happens is you’re not building your success in that intense focus where you’re hitting that peak of performance and then needing that recovery phase. What happens is you’re building in slow, steady increments where you might have points where you’re really sprinting or you’re really focusing in, but you’re guiding that those are short term, you know that there’s a short term. And then you’re building that consistent habit over time.
Kari Lotzien: [00:07:02] Things like I’m going to focus on my hydration. I’m going to lean in and I’m going to have a water bottle beside my computer so that I stay more focused, so that by 3:00 in the afternoon, I don’t have that headache that I’ve had from drinking too much coffee and sitting in one place for so long. That habit over time, which is easy to maintain, now you might notice, Well, actually, now I’m eating better at night because I’m not grabbing that quick snack at 4:00 or another cup of coffee or an energy drink to try and get through the last part of my day. Maybe I’ve got some space where when my kids get home from school or when my partner gets home, we can go for a walk and I have some capacity left. So that one habit of being hydrated is now starting to contribute to better mental health. My focus is better. I don’t have that headache. Now I can build relationships. This is how one thing connects over the other. We create those stackable habits.
Kari Lotzien: [00:08:10] The other big thing that I’m seeing is we focus so much on outcome goals and not enough on process goals. Now, what the heck does that mean? An outcome goal is when we focus on what result, and it’s usually a single point. So I am looking to make a certain amount of money in my business. I’m looking to have a certain goal weight. What happens when we do this? When we focus on I want to earn $100,000 this month in my business? There are so many variables that are outside of our control that it can give us the image that we don’t have control over where we’re headed or even worse, we can be doing all of the right things that are getting us closer, but we don’t see the connection inherently. So if we’re doing the work and we’re not seeing the result that we think is related, we might very well give up on the goal, leave it behind, and not focus on continuing on.
Kari Lotzien: [00:09:15] If we focus on process goals, which means focusing on how you think you’re going to achieve that destination point. When I think about this in terms of my Be the Anchor philosophy, I don’t just focus on where I want to go. I don’t say, Oh, this is where I’m trying to take my ship. What I focus on is I’m going to notice what are the waves like? I’m going to notice on where am I getting some support? What makes this feel easier as I’m getting towards my destination? How many paddles am I going to take? What this looks like in health is you might be focusing on I think that I need to lose 15 pounds. Okay. Well, there’s a lot of different ways and a lot of different variables that can connect to you getting there. But when you focus on the process, I’m going to go for a walk four days a week. What makes that easier? Well, I’m going to put my runners in the car so that I don’t go home and end up on the couch scrolling through social media instead of taking that 15 minute walk. I’m going to do it before I even get home. Or I’m going to make an appointment with a friend that I really want to connect with, and I’m going to phone them on my walk and we’re going to have a conversation while we’re going for a walk together.
Kari Lotzien: [00:10:35] When you say, I’m going to do this and you set that plan that you know and you have control, you can easily measure. Did I go for a walk three days this week? Yes, I did. Was there anything that got in my way? Was there anything that made that harder or easier? And then I adjust that so that I can keep focused on how can I develop that consistent habit. If I’m wanting to earn more money in my business, I might focus on how many sales calls I’m going to make that week. And when I look at the end of the week and I say, okay, my goal was to make 25 sales calls this week. Did I do that? Yes or no? If I didn’t do that, what impacted my ability to do that? Well, you know what, other things came into my day. My schedule got off. So what I might adjust is to be able to meet that goal, I’m going to schedule that time in first thing in the morning before my schedule goes off track, or I’m going to do those calls before I check my email in the morning. You hold yourself accountable to developing the habit and you track your progress and your success based on are you following that process goal? Did you make those calls during the week? Did you go for that walk? Did you sit down with your spouse without any phones or distractions so that you can have a conversation? What happens is when we develop those habits over time, it does lead to those bigger goals.
Kari Lotzien: [00:12:07] The other thing that this can protect us from is sometimes when we focus so much on the goal or the outcome and everything works out beautifully and we actually get there. Let’s say we actually do earn that money. Let’s say we actually do get that beautiful holiday that we’ve always dreamed about. Let’s say that we do lose those 15 pounds. What we often see with high performers especially, is that they meet the goal, they hit the target, they get the thing, and it doesn’t feel the way they thought it would feel. It doesn’t feel like enough. Or they now don’t know what’s next. Or even worse, they got to the goal, then went, I don’t think this is what I really wanted. This doesn’t have the feeling or the outcome that I thought it would feel like or that it would be. I don’t have the things I thought I would have when I got to this step. We hear about the private jet syndrome, people get to a level of success where they think, Ooh, a private jet is the ultimate sign of I’ve made it. And it still doesn’t feel like enough. When we focus on the process to get there, when we focus on life is a journey, not a destination, and you focus on what are the habits and the skills and the way you want to feel while you’re in the process of achieving your goals, so your focus on what does this feel like right now? This is the secret to changing your life. It’s short, small, incremental steps in the direction of your goal while measuring the day to day boring, mundane things that we need to do to get closer to the person that we want to be. And then we evaluate. Does this feel the way that I thought it would feel? Am I getting closer? And then those big checkpoints of did I reach that health goal? Did I reach that financial goal? Did I get that relationship thing that I really wanted? They become stops along the way. They don’t become the end point that then we wonder, okay, what’s next?
Kari Lotzien: [00:14:16] So the two things I want to leave you with. One, you’re doing just fine. Stop comparing yourself to all of those pictures online of those ultra successful people that look like they’ve got it all together that are getting huge results in short amounts of time. The only reason that you’re seeing that is because it feels like it is Facebook or Instagram or social media worthy. Because it feels exciting. But it is not sustainable. Keep doing the boring, step by step, mundane work. If you can do something consistently, if you can keep showing up for yourself over the long term, if you can do something for a year, that’s what I want to know. Does this feel doable over the long term? If it does, you are on the right track and those habits stack upon each other to create the life that you want and not just a series of empty goals.
Kari Lotzien: [00:15:16] And second, if you are in business and you are selling transformation in 14 days or you are selling quick results and your gut knows that this is not long term achievable, that this is not sustainable, and that you are seeing clients burn out or even worse, they are developing a reliance on you because they have to keep going through these intense challenge-based programs, thinking that inevitably they eventually will get to the goal that they need, I want you to check your integrity. Because these are not the businesses that we need. They’re not the businesses that I want to support because I feel like they are contributing to the destruction of our mental health. They really are. And we need to start calling that out.
Kari Lotzien: [00:16:09] So it feels yucky. I did give you a warning. I’m on a bit of a soapbox today, but it’s speaking to me. I will never sell transformation in short periods. I will never sell something that I think is going to change your life in a very short time. Because what I want to give is small things that you can do for the rest of your life that feel doable and that contribute to the life you want. Thanks for being here. I appreciate your time. Love you all. Thanks for joining. We’ll chat soon.
Kari Lotzien: [00:16:40] Hey, my friends, are you a business owner that has survived that startup phase of business? You know how to hustle. You know how to work hard. You’ve got paying customers and from the outside looking in, you feel you’ve achieved a certain level of success in your business. You really care about the service and the quality that you provide to your clients or customers, but deep down you know that to go to that next level, you can’t keep going at this pace. You’re busy and you want to still have a life outside of your business. I am launching the Anchored Leadership group coaching program. Doors open October of 2023. This program is designed for business owners like you who need to develop their teams, who want to make more money and establish their business without just squeezing more into their day and stretching their limits even further. We are going to talk about everything from strategy to really digging into the nitty gritty. It’s a combination of training, workbooks and live coaching. If you want to learn more, click on the link in the show notes, we’ll book a discovery call, and you can find out if this is a great fit for you. Thanks so much. We’ll chat soon.