Break down each play

Photo courtesy of Peter Pajor (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Peter Pajor (Creative Commons)

Don’t you hate it when you have things looming so large over you that you can hardly breathe?

Whether it’s a project, a meeting, a health issue or even just a long run, you will function so much better if you break it down to the next action, the next play.

You can’t DO a project, but you can figure out what the next action is to move it forward and focus on that.

You can’t lose a lot of weight or become more fit overnight – but you can take steps now – today – to move in the right direction.

You win a football game by focusing on each play, one at a time. Each huddle, each snap, each throw, each tackle.

Nick Saban, head coach of the University of Alabama football team, teaches his players “The Process,” and he mentions that a lot when he is interviewed. He says, “Don’t think about winning the national championship. Think about what you need to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”

In his book The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday quotes Coach Saban, and goes on to explain that when you have something difficult to deal with, “Simply do what you need to do right now. And do it well. And then move on to the next thing. Follow the process and not the prize.”

There’s almost a sense of relief when you think this way. No longer is that “thing” overwhelming.

Instead of obsessing over the idea that there’s no way I can run 10 miles, I just focus on “this” mile. Just get started and moving, and before long I’ve run 2 miles and then 3 – next thing I know it, I’m halfway, and then it’s “downhill” from there. Breathe, focus on the scenery, enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

Holiday goes on to say that “when you really get it right, even the hardest things become manageable. Because the process is relaxing. Under its influence, we needn’t panic. Even mammoth tasks become just a series of component parts.”

As we move into the busy holiday season and the end of year madness, it’s important to remember The Process. Don’t let yourself get swept into panic-mode or become frozen in inaction. Approach your challenges “moving forward, one step at a time. Subordinate strength to the process. Replace fear with the process.” And as Holiday continues, you will be able to “depend on it. Lean on it. Trust in it.”

For what challenges in your life do you need to apply The Process?

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