Enjoy The Process
What keeps us going? What drags us out of bed each day?
For me, I have struggled with these questions for a long time. I have a natural tendency to blow hot and cold on various projects. At times I can be intensely excited about an objective or idea. Yet the very next day I'm despondent, and utterly bored by that very same concept. I'm either springing or dragging myself out of bed. Now I'm sure this will never change; I am probably hardwired this way. That being said, this way of life has permitted an interesting, oddly fulfilling existence. More recently however, I have learned to tame the wild fluctuations, for the better.
Walk with me....
Where do I start? Well, I had never truly reflected on my thought process until I began working for myself. All of a sudden, the consequences of blowing hot and cold became more serious. In the past, I could drag my feet on projects, tasks, appearance, you name it. Ultimately I would still get paid. Likewise, where I was utterly engaged and produced incredible outcomes, there was no immediate benefit. Suddenly, my ability to maintain shelter, pay taxes and eat now relied upon this approach. It was to be the foundation of my Business Success Story™. And my how that was scary.
So what was the epiphany? It came from a one particular job I was doing. The client was crappy. The pay wasn't great. I was caught up in the sheer injustice of it all! This is not how it was meant to be! How dare they! And then I realised. I was only focused on the outcome. Getting shit done, getting it out the door, and on to the next challenge! There was never any appreciation for the 'doing'; only the 'done'. In a nutshell, I had never thought about the process of my work. I had never thought about the joy that can come from 'doing'. Yes, I wasn't where I wanted to be in terms of business prestige or remuneration. But that was a moot point. Before I could even address that, I first had to concentrate on the process.
Now what do I mean by process? Well, you'll notice that I haven't mentioned the type of work I was completing, and in what context. That's because it doesn't matter. I want you to concentrate instead on the activities that sit behind the context. Break them up into distinct elements and address them on their own merits. In my case it went like this; for the services I complete for my clients, I undertake the following;
- I inspect properties. This is good physical activity. It benefits my health.
- I take photos of findings. This is creative. It stimulates my brain.
- I prepare my conclusions with a report. Writing improves critical thinking.
- I engage with the client. I discuss next steps. This improves my interaction with others.
- I seek payment. I update my financial records. This sharpens my business mind.
Looking at the job in this sense gave me a whole new appreciation of the process. Instead of a single job amidst a sea of vague business dreams, it was a set of activities that taken together created quality output for a client. It permitted a wider perspective; one that holds value on multiple levels. I was either improving, or at the very least, maintaining my personal skillset. And I was being paid a fee for the privilege!
The best part however, came next. By thinking about these individual activities, and taking pride from them, I started thinking about how to improve the overall process. The writing element could be systematised, with output delegated to others. The payment element could be streamlined, with transactions automated online. All of a sudden I was happier, sharper and closer to my Business Success Story™. So start enjoying that process!
Signing out. Steven.
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