Reduce to Produce
Achieve more by reducing your priorities rather than adding to your pressures.
Whether it’s the beginning of the year or any date thereafter, the demands of life weigh heavy on those who maintain a hunger for personal and professional growth. Life often feels like a mountain we are ill equipped to summit. The path of the status quo leads to lofty goals set at the dawn of the new year, most of which quickly fade into the necropolis of to-do lists gone un-done. Though it seems counter intuitive, if you want to carry your goals over the peak, you should start by reducing the weight of your load.
Prioritization helps you to embrace your identity and live your purpose. Reducing your load starts with weeding through the internal and external pressures to focus on what is important to you. When you harness this simple truth you realize it is better to have a few things that are completely done rather than several items that are only partially done. Going over the mountain starts with preparation and then taking those first steps up the mountain. Reduce in order to produce.
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease.
Reduce your Pressures.
You should be intentional about giving yourself some credit from time to time. Remember, you have a purpose, a job, family, commitments, side hustles, hobbies and you need time to sleep. Take a moment to appreciate what you have accomplished and where you have traveled in your journey. It’s ok to give yourself a compliment.
As you climb towards your goals, build into your development process time for reflection and gratitude. Bill Carmody, founder and CEO of Trepoint, encourages growth minded professionals, “So much of what we do in our business is driven (or limited) by our psychology. Celebrating your wins not only feels great physically, but it reinforces the behavior you want to show up when you face a new challenge or opportunity.”
"Consider what you might accomplish if you stopped
Reinforce positive behavior as you face challenges. This is enhanced by surrounding yourself with positive influences. This should not be confused for surrounding yourself with people who will tell you what you want to hear and will allow you to underperform on your potential. There is a fine line between those who will, “Tell you like it is,” but have no functional input to help you evolve and those who will encourage, as well as correct, as they walk alongside you.
Resources such as social media can both be distracting from your efforts to reach your goals as well as create a false sense of achievement. Don’t fall prey to the allure of attention (external adulation) and achievement (internal satisfaction). Srinivas Rao challenges us to consider, “What you might accomplish if you stopped confusing attention with accomplishment.” Rather than sharing about what you plan to do in order to receive some fleeting praise, celebrate your victories (large and small) with those who are directly involved in your ascent.
Build sustainable habits that will aid you in achieving your goals:
Reduce your Priorities.
Climbing a mountain requires preparation, dedication and endurance. You have limited time and you have to be realistic with what you can pursue and invest in. Whittle down your priorities to the core things that matter to you. Your priorities will change as you unfold your personal and professional development. If everything is important then nothing is. Be intentional by reducing your list of priorities to items that you can gain momentum and achieve.
Focus is the key to harnessing your ability to achieve. If you want to achieve your goals you must transfer your ideas (what is in your head) into habits (action) as this is the most effective way to develop sustained positive changes. Your neural messengers that facilitate goals being transformed into habit are called endocannabinoids. Dr. Ralph Ryback, writing for Psychology Today, states, “The best way to get your endocannabinoids to help you form a habit is by being consistent. Work toward your goal every day, even if you don’t feel like it. You can set aside a specific time each day, or a specific context.”
"The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important
Simple steps for crushing your growth goals:
Reduce your Excuses.
In a letter to his friends in Rome, Paul writes, “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment.” Often, our minds receive this as though we need to bring ourselves down a notch with an improper understanding of humility. I find it interesting that the author says, “With sober judgement,” which also means an honest evaluation. We shouldn’t think of ourselves more highly than we ought but also we should not think of ourselves more lowly than we ought. Sober judgement means that we have an understanding of our identity and our purpose.
You are capable. You can achieve what you want. Do you want to have a better body, you can do it - you will have to be realistic with what that commitment will require. You know the process includes eating better, getting sleep and a commitment to working out. Personal and professional development is not so much about learning new information but applying what we know to be true. Achieving a better body is often tied to looking like some prototype. When you compare yourself to others it isn’t helpful. Your goals should be specific to you and reaching your potential.
Development is a process of embracing your identity and living your purpose. If you are in a rut, start yourself with some low hanging fruit that will help you get the wheels turning again. Your success will inspire you to reach further. It’s amazing how when you start saving a little money, the momentum of those feelings of small achievements propel you to save more and grow your vision for what is possible. The same is true in any endeavor of change.
Development is a process of embracing your identity and living your purpose.
Reduce your excuses to produce better results:
The Year of Reduction.
What would happen if you and I declare this The Year of Reduction - Reduce to Produce?
So much of what screams at you and me for attention challenges us to do this or that and only adds to the weight we carry. By shedding some of the unnecessary weight you can focus on what matters to you and make progress in your process. Embrace your identity, be who you are.
Live your purpose, be all that you were designed to be. What will you do today to reduce your pressures, reduce your priorities and reduce your excuses so that you can climb your mountain with less resistance?
Resolve within yourself to Reduce so that you can Produce.
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Thoughts on personal and professional development.
Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is a contractor, author, and host of The DYOJO Podcast. The goal of The DYOJO is to help growth-minded restoration professionals shorten their DANG learning curve for personal and professional development. You can watch The DYOJO Podcast on YouTube on Thursdays or listen on your favorite podcast platform.