048 - living for the process and not the outcome

I was young and naive once and I acted and thought like I knew all there was to know. And due to this, I had to learn this lesson a very hard way - back in my baseball days of 2004 at 14yrs of age. See, I've always been focused, driven, and ambitious - much like you might be, and due to this, patience and breaking things down hasn't been my biggest strength

I was a catcher, controller of the game, and my mind would always immediately go to the outcome I want for this at-bat, or this inning, or the entire game. It used to be my biggest weakness and a huge downfall of mine, I'd always be inside my own head

And the greatest coach I've ever had and a man who had a huge influence on who I am today, Bucket, said 7 words to me that shifted it around for me. He said, "Nick, they don't pay you to think..."

He taught me how to break a 9-inning game down into innings, then into at-bats in that inning, then to the 3-outs we needed, and those three outs in each specific pitch - he taught me how to focus on the process that would ultimately lead to the OUTCOME we desired - a win

If we executed the process better than the other team, we'd win the game and get the outcome we wanted. If we stayed in the moment and treated each pitch as it needed to be treated, we'd win the game 

It's something that I've transitioned with me to other aspects of life that have benefited me greatly, but it's still a demon I battle to this day

Another man who loves the process is Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide Football Team. 101-19. That’s a .842 winning percentage across 10 seasons. And in Bowl Games, the record stands at 7-3, a .700 winning percentage. Such is the dominance of the Alabama Crimson Tide Football Team under him

What are accredited to this record? It’s not the best talent, as plenty of teams have that. It’s not a sense of pride in their jersey, as again, every team has that. Instead, it’s something incredibly simple - choosing what they place all of their focus on…

Saban calls it the ‘process’

The Process is simply Saban's core belief that the willingness to prepare in a methodical way on a daily basis is the key to success. Saban believes those who focus on the result and not the consistent preparation, the daily tasks that are necessary to achieve the result, are doomed to be disappointed.

"It's about committing yourself to being the best you can be on that particular day. Improvement is a steady march and you have to be committed to it."
- Nick Saban

And right now, we come across and help far too many YA + A's who are outcome focused and outcome driven - gaining a specific result, running a specific time, performing in a specific manner - they focus all of their attention on this and place extra pressure on themselves, even though the outcome is never a certainty

And the harm here comes from tying their identity, and their worth, into the outcome... If they don't achieve the outcome they desire, which is pretty much outside of their control, they feel like a failure and get frustrated and angry at themselves and others - all are principles of a failure driven mindset...

The focus needs to be on the day to day tasks, staying in the present moment, and executing on the small things they need to focus on in order to perform at their best. To a golfer, this is focusing on each swing as a new opportunity and breaking their 18 holes down into every single swing. For a football team it's breaking the game down into every play-the-ball or play, and focusing solely on it and executing it to the best of their ability

For you, it may be focusing on a strong start to your sprint and maintaining speed throughout the entirety of the race. Focusing on that process, just those two things will best help bring about the outcome that you desire

As a netballer, it's focusing on each new possession and not the end outcome of the game. If you win more possessions than the other team and execute on those possessions, you'll win the game

You need to learn to enjoy and love the day after day slog, and the daily activities that will help you achieve the desired outcome and result you want. You need to identify your own daily tasks that will move you forward to your desires...

You need to learn to fall in love with your own process…

Actionable Tips + Questions:

  • Am I currently outcome focused or process focused?
  • If I'm outcome focused, what are 1-3 things I can identify in my process to focus on and begin to make myself process focused instead?
Nick Maier