James and Megan are continuing the Challenge Accepted series, building on the last episode where they discussed the mechanics of setting up your challenge. Now it’s time to get to work. It’s time to enter the battlefield where victory or defeat away you.
Today’s Kryptonite: Blood on the Floor of the Arena
Why must you enter the arena?:
- Because that’s the only place where victory exists!
- You can dream and plan all you want. But if you don’t enter the field of battle, you are just an observer of life and subject to whatever spoils accidentally land on your plate.
- If you become a participant, you have a chance at success. You have to have a plan and you have to train, but would you rather exist fully alive on the arena floor or sitting on the couch watching other people live real lives?
- Sadly, that’s a lot of our existence these days…TV, especially “reality” television, allows us to have virtual experiences. We can live vicariously through other people. And that has it’s place…but the scars and the stories that come from real life and real adventure are REAL LIVING.
What happens in the arena?:
- Now let’s be clear…the arena is a metaphor. It’s real life. We aren’t asking anyone to become a gladiator (unless that’s your thing).
- The arena is as much a battleground as it is a playground. It’s where you do your work. It’s where you struggle to achieve something that you desire or something you simply must bring into existence.
- It could be an office cubicle, or a race track, or a stage. It can be a computer screen, or a kitchen, or even a living room.
- In the context of Challenge Accepted, it’s where you put in the effort to achieve your goals.
- Running a half marathon? The arena is your mindset, your training, and eventually the city streets for the event.
- Writing a book? The arena is your screen or typewriter, your office or coffeehouse, and it’s your alarm clock telling you when to start and stop.
- Growing a business? The arena is your community and hopefully it’s a happy hunting ground where you can bring back more than a day’s meal before the sun goes down.
- “What gets measured gets done.” – Peter Drucker
- The tracking system for your challenge is critical. Update it often…perhaps daily but at least weekly. Otherwise you’ll lose track and lose focus.
- Three types of challenge goals:
- One Time – The day comes and you complete the goal. Sounds simple and some will be, but others will require lots of preparation to get to the moment of completion. These are all or nothing goals: 0% complete or 100% complete. (Example: running a marathon.)
- Incremental – These goals require regular action over a protracted period of time. It could be daily even. Record your progress on the journey and work to get to the destination. These kinds of goals can be measured in percent complete along the way. (Example: reading the Bible, walking 2M steps, etc.)
- Collection – These goals are made up of a collection of subset goals. Progress could be irregular, but they cannot be completed all at once so don’t let them stack up. (Example: 12 dates with your spouse, product creation, etc.)
How does this shift in focus improve your odds of success?:
- This new mindset is what separates the couch potatoes from the warriors. Amateurs are welcome to apply, but they better turn PRO fast.
- You have to be a professional, even if your pursuit is outside the realm of business. Take the arena and your efforts seriously. A professional mindset is critical to your ultimate success or failure.
- This is why it’s so important for the goals of your challenge to be YOUR goals and not someone else’s goals for you. Personal ownership is one of the hallmarks of a professional.
- But this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Hard work is fun when you’re working toward something you care about. So have fun. Have lots of fun. Just make sure you’re doing the right things with the right attitude and you will.
- Change your mindset. If this isn’t firing you up, you’re either already on fire or never will be. If you’re in-between, you won’t make it all the way.
- Go Pro. Don’t treat this like a New Year’s Resolution. Act as if the oxygen you breathe depends on it. Read Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield.
- Write a Manifesto. It can be on a Post-It Note or a scrap of paper. You don’t have to sign it in blood, but put it where you’ll see it every day. It will remind you, or taunt you.
- Develop a tracking system and keep it updated. Spreadsheets are awesome, but use what you like and what you know you’ll use.