Having a vision of where you want to go is not only crucial for leadership but in life. It applies to so many different aspects of what we do daily, whether it is about our work, our family, our health, or a plethora of other focuses we may have on our mind.
But that big vision down the road can become overwhelming if we are not able to break it down into smaller chunks where we can develop competence and confidence along the way.
I was thinking about this as I was doing one of my long runs this past week. It is a fantastic opportunity to run in new places and cities, but it also can be daunting as you do not know the paths or terrain in front of you. It can be both exhilarating or anxiety-inducing depending on the day.
As I am focused on running a half-marathon soon, I had a 60-minute run, so I got a road and started running what seemed to be a continuous upward hill. I looked up to the top of the hill, seemingly an endless distance away and became frustrated, and stopped my run to walk. Although I got to the top, I was extremely frustrated with not achieving my goal for the day. What I realized though was that when I started to look down and focus on the few feet in front of me, instead of focusing on the top of the hill, running the hill became easier.
Today, on a longer run, I wanted to conquer that hill, so I went out again. Focusing the entirety of the run, I decided to focus on what I learned from the last time I went out and focused on the few feet in front of me instead of the top hill. As I kept that focus, before I knew it, I was at the top of the hill, and actually now running faster on the downward slope. Focusing on doing the work right in front of me, sticking to it, and being consistent, before I knew it, I was where I wanted to be.
As I worked with a few administrators this year that were frustrated with what seemed to be the slow growth of their organization, I told them to be patient and focus on the work in front of them, instead of setting their sights to the endpoint that was so far away. They focused on those little things every day, and now they are on a much better path and are much closer to their end goal, with a lot less frustration.
Tony Robbins often talks about how humans crave growth more than anything, and if we look too far ahead, we lose sight of our growth in the journey for the vision in the distance.
Focus on the few steps in front of you, do those well, and before you know it, you will be at the top of that hill looking for another one to conquer.