Life is about growth. To me “the dream” is to wake up each day with purpose, a reason to be better. I recently learned a lesson from my mentor Annie Hyman Pratt that I think can relate to everything in life.
In our process of growth, learning, achievement, success, whatever it is, we always start somewhere and have an end goal, outcome, or vision. The starting point is A and the big outcome is B. When you start at A the range of acceptable behaviours is wide but the closer we get to B the narrower this becomes.
To make the point clearer I will use Basketball as an example. Starting at A is a young toddler just learning to play and at B this same player is playing in the NBA.
A young basketball player is praised for simply running in the appropriate offensive or defensive direction, or maybe just lining up in the right position. If they travel with the ball or don’t know how to dribble it’s acceptable. At that stage pretty much anything goes because its all about sparking that passion and making sure it’s fun!
Now, when you leave A and start moving towards B things become narrower. Now the basketball player needs to learn how to dribble the ball, shoot the ball, and pass to their teammates. This pattern continues as you get closer and closer to B. The closer you get to B the narrower the acceptable behaviour becomes. Eventually the player will need to understand strategy, offense, defense, and one day they will need to start attending practice. After that, off-court strength and conditioning becomes a factor. Then when you make it all the way to B your personal life is also under scrutiny.
You’ve gone from just moving in the right direction to becoming a star in the NBA.
If at any point you are unwilling to comply and adjust your behaviour to fit within the appropriate range, you are at a “choice point.” This is a point where you have to make a relatively simple choice. Being outside of the range and still achieving B is not an option, you cannot miss practice, stop working out, and still make it to the NBA. You choose to adjust or leave. Neither choice is better than the other.
This analogy can apply to every single goal. Whether you want to lose 50lbs (notice how the last 5 are always the most stubborn?), own a fortune 500 company, or make it to the Olympics. The closer you get the more you have to take into account. No one said achieving your goals would be easy.
The thing that I love most about this analogy is the hardest thing for most people to realize. Most people reach a choice point and want to go back to A. They want to go back to when it was acceptable to do those behaviours they are comfortable with. Maybe you want to be able to miss Basketball practice for a friend’s party, but it’s just not an option anymore. “But it used to be okay?!” The funny thing is that once you have left A – started playing more often, started losing weight, started your company, whatever it is – A is no longer an option, it truly doesn’t exist anymore.
You cannot go backwards, only forwards.