I am competitive. I love a challenge. I love to win more than I hate to lose.
Therefore, for me, success in any situation is where I get to experience any of these things. Once I get the opportunity to try to win at something, even if it is hard, I am happy. If I win, fantastic. If not, whatever I learned will help next time. Success is growth.
I will admit that this is how I learned to play most of the card and board games that I know. Playing with people who were better than me and who would give no quarter. They were unforgiving. You wouldn’t get a break just because you were a beginner. It usually took too long to explain all the rules so you had to learn the finer details by observation. The only way to get better was to play, learn from your mistakes and do something different the next time around. Some of my first lessons in persistence came from those experiences, learning to play hearts, draughts and backgammon.
I have also learned along the way that I am motivated by accomplishment. So when I start to get better at something, I want to keep going so that I can get even better and win more.
To translate this to my adult life, I needed a system that would be applicable in a work environment. Fortunately, I stumbled into a ‘not so sophisticated’ system that works exceptionally well for me. It helps me when I have a challenge. It lets me see if I am winning or losing and it helps me to feel accomplished along the way.
What’s my system? I tick things. I have become one of those people who write tasks down so that I can have the joy of ticking them off when I complete them. The energy boost that I get from this, was a sweet little discovery for me.
Now it is true that there was a time in my life when I did not appreciate the value that this practice could offer. Okay, let’s be honest. For years I used to snicker at the people who did this. I thought that it was a little silly practice. Yes, I recognize that means that I now probably owe lots of people a little apology. I am willing to admit that I was wrong and you all were right. There. I’ve said it.
Over the past 12-18 months that I have been using it, it has added more power to my to do lists. I have started to be very specific in the way that I write my tasks. I break them down into the segments that I need to complete them in order to complete the who thing. Doing this helps me to track my progress, and progress is good, no matter how slow you go.
It started when I found myself with some very long to-do lists at one point and some short time frames in which to complete them. I was starting to feel overwhelmed. In order to make sure that I did not miss anything and to ensure that I was doing what needed to be done, I started the ticking off habit. That was how I realized that doing this small thing allowed me to more easily track the progress that I was making. Even when it seemed like it was taking me forever to complete the big ticket items, being able to tick off some of the small components, allowed me to feel more like my time was being used in the way that it should.
This in turn, helped me to feel more energized and motivated to keep going. I wasn’t wasting my time and the tasks were not as insurmountable as they seemed. That’s how I became one of those people. Sometimes, I even tackle a smaller task that I can complete quickly just so I can get that first tick out of the way.
What is your definition of success and how do you help yourself to feel like you are making progress on a daily basis?
When I work with participants to help them develop strategies for using their time effectively to achieve their goals, I always remind them that there is no one way that works for everyone. Therefore, it is important that each person finds the system or planning method that works for you. All we can do as friends, colleagues, trainers and coaches is to help you know what are some of the possibilities that you can consider. There are hundreds of systems that people use to help them keep track of what they need to do and how they are doing in making it happen. Your job, once you see the options available, is to test those that appeal to you. You have to be willing to try things out to see what makes you feel most energized and helps you to be most productive.
Always make sure that you do not choose a system that you find to be complicated or overwhelming. You don’t want to have a planning or goal tracking system that takes a lot of effort, time or energy to maintain. It doesn’t matter if others find that it works for them or doesn’t work for them. It’s only important whether it helps you or not.
Marjorie Wharton is a trainer, facilitator and coach who works with individuals and organizations to help them improve their performance. She is based at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. For more of her writing visit https://marjoriewharton.live