For me, the focus of 2021 is to hone in on the writing process and in simple terms, that means writing more. This year, I’ve committed to writing daily journals, weekly newsletters and a minimum of three blogs per month. So far, so good and on that note, I’m excited to write about something that I spend a lot of time thinking about: the process.
This blog is about the process: what it means, what it looks like and how we can all lean into it more.
Without further adieu, let’s jump in.
It’s a term that gets thrown around quite a bit but is still shrouded in ambiguity. It’s concrete in concept but fluid in execution. It’s a realtime rollercoaster that’s different for everyone but that we all ride in tandem. It’s makes sense in retrospect but is often uncertain in the moment. This blog is about zooming out and understanding the process.
Google defines “process” as a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
On the surface, that’s a clear definition and it’s not wrong. The process requires consistent action to move toward a particular end (or goal). However, upon deeper inspection, this definition leaves a lot on the table.
It doesn’t address the fact that each action or step is tied to the ones before and influences the ones after. It leaves out that the process is fluid (some might say wave-like), that the process is uncertain, that the process is hard and that the process isn’t simple. It eludes to an end, but leaves out that the process itself is often the destination. It leaves room to assume that the process is linear but that is almost never the case. It’s an incomplete definition of an incomplete reality.
The process is life.
Heres the thing: everybody experiences their own process, with ups, downs, twists and turns. However, what differentiates people is how we view (and therefore navigate) the rollercoaster ride that we call the process. We all experience doubt, we all feel stuck and we all lack confidence from time to time. Those things are human and those things are normal. However, the people who make the most out of their process handle these emotions with intention.
The people who make the most out of the process are the ones who trust in it and are willing to continue on their pursuit when things are hard. The people who make the most out of the process are the ones who are open to see things from a different perspective when they feel stuck and seek guidance when they feel lost. The people who make the most out of the process are the ones who have a reason to be relentless and a determined drive that won’t stop. The people who make the most out of the process are the ones who understand that struggle is the stimulus for strength and adversity is the opportunity for growth. The people who make the most out of the process are the ones who embrace it on the hard days and lean in further on the worst days. To sum up this paragraph, let me leave you with these three pictures…
There’s something else that is very important the understand about the process…
The best processes are guided with goals but not defined by outcomes.
The best processes are the ones filled with failure and riddled with roadblocks. Most of the best things in life are born out of the worst. Hardship, trial, challenge and struggle provide us with footing to make adjustments and move forward. The people who achieve the highest levels of “success,” are often the ones who fail the most. In the end, it’s repetition coupled with intentional and persistent effort that creates the best results and meaningful processes. It’s consistency, not intensity, that allows for long term progress within our process. Being quick to start and slow to finish is a powerful way to lean into the process. Repetition is required for growth and the more action we take, the more we can learn and grow.
The process is even more complex than the discussion above, but the take home message is simple.
Stick with your process. Have faith that life is happening on purpose. Practice perspective and stay steady. Take action now, make mistakes quick and keep moving forward. Find a process worth pursuing and then be consistent, be persistent and be relentless. Stop comparing your process to someone else’s (it’s not apples to apples). Focus on what you can control and surrender to what you can’t. Be stubborn with your goals but flexible with your methods. Be disciplined with your principles and intentional with your efforts. Bring the energy that you want to see in others and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lean into your process, especially when it sucks and appreciate the lows as places that allow for highs. Maybe above all else, learn to enjoy the process rollercoaster ride, because in the end, that’s life!
Keep kissing the shoreline.
Joe Rinaldi, PT, DPT