011: Progress vs. Process
Progress: Movement to an improved or more developed state, or to a forward position.
Process: A series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
How do you measure progress? How do you know if you are advancing? How can you tell if you are improving? We can only measure the progress we are making by looking back over time. By looking back at where we came from to see how far we have moved forward. We cannot measure our progress by looking into the future. We don’t know where we will end up or what progress we will make. We can set goals and envision where we want to go, but we are not able to see in the moment if our actions will give us long term progress. We can’t project progress into the future.
Progress is something we can measure however. What was your average show pay last year and what is it now - you can measure your progress by looking back. How many YouTube subscribers did you have last year and how many do we have now - you can measure your progress by looking back. But the question is - if you can only look back to find progress, how do you move forward and ensure you will be making progress over time. By having a process. A process is a series of actions you decide on to get to the end you want. You know where you want to get to - the progress you want to make - and you determine the steps you need to take to get there. It seems like a simple concept but is one we often trip up on and this ends up being the reason we don’t make progress.
If you are thinking about the progress you are making in the moment you will be discouraged, because it is not possible to see. You are trying to see a future that hasn’t happened yet and judge your actions on that. Remember you can only measure progress by looking back. But you can judge if you are successfully completing the process you laid out. Are you working through the steps you decided you needed to take? If you keep focused on that you will be more likely to stay on track.
There is no stress or anxiety attached to a process. It is simply an action step - you shouldn’t have any expectations on what it should give you in return. Yes, the action step should be moving you towards a future ends, but your focus only needs to be on completing the task. When you have a process, you have the ability to improve it. When you look back on the progress (or lack thereof) you have made over time, you can adjust your process accordingly. By adding more of what worked and eliminating things that didn’t.
Stop thinking about progress and start embracing the process. Determine the systems you need to have in place to achieve your goals. Then concentrate on those tasks and the results will come. If they don’t, adjust and move forward with your new process. Then when you take the opportunity to look back you can then enjoy the progress you have made.