3 Easy Steps to “Do what it takes”

by vernsanders on September 17, 2010

Suppose that you wanted something…and somebody asked you “are you willing to do what it takes?” to get it. How would you answer?

I think most people would answer yes…but whether or not they would actually follow through is a bit of a different story.

Follow through usually involves doing stuff that is at best unpleasant, or boring, or “beneath” you, or that tries your patience, or your financial stability. Follow through on doing what it takes often puts one in the position of seeing the darkest hour before the dawn…metaphorically speaking if not literally. It can mean not being distracted by things that are otherwise important, but which don’t contribute to getting whatever you wanted badly enough to agree to do what it takes in the first place.

Oh…and here’s the other bad news. More often than not, there is not some uber-person who is asking the question, challenging you, and/or pulling your strings to make it happen. More often than not, the “something” you want badly enough to agree to “do what it takes” is an idea, or an ideal: better physical health, better attendance at church, more money, better job, you name it…

Americans buy/consume more “self-help” information (books, videos, tv shows like the Biggest Loser, etc.) than anybody else on the planet. It is part of the American Dream to get/be better. It is why stories like Dan Smith’s are heartwarming. But most people never get there…they can’t do what it takes:

  • Start

The “journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Just do it. Everybody knows this at some level, but to actually get up and exercise at 4:00am, for instance, is something else. Whatever the thing is that you want, start doing something to move toward your goal.

  • Stick With it

And, OK, you did that once. That, like a first album or novel, is the easy part, even though it may not seem like it. The second day, the third, the nineteenth, takes discipline. It may also mean changing plans along the way as you discover more efficient or better ways to accomplish your objective. If you hadn’t started, you wouldn’t discover these things, but if you don’t keep going, you won’t get there.

  • Keep the End Result in mind

It may not seem as if there is any progress, especially at the beginning. Anything that requires doing what it takes is not going to be accomplished in a few days without a significant amount of luck or fortune. Sometimes your progress will be impeded by external things beyond your capability to control. Patience really is a virtue, and you may have to exercise it on a regular basis. Celebrate the small victories and use them as motivation, but don’t forget the big goal…the thing you wanted enough to do what it takes.

All of which is to say that I’ve been involved in a big project with a huge goal for two years now. There were times when it seemed impossible. There were times when my patience deserted me and I wanted to do bodily harm to the unseen forces that stood in the way of the goal, whoever or whatever those were. But slowly, deliberately, the project has taken shape. I’m a better person for it, and I’m glad that I’ve spent the uncounted hours to get to this place. My goal isn’t accomplished yet…it may never be…but

  • The journey is it’s own reward

I think you have to have one of these quests to discover that, but, two years later, I’m convinced that it is true.

What about you? Have you ever done what it takes? Wish you had? Please leave a comment and tell me your story.

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Feed Your Head…and Your Soul
November 12, 2010 at 7:07 am

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