Picture a 747, having just taken off from Los Angeles, on it’s way to New York City…
If the pilot adjusts the heading just three and a half degrees South… even though the nose of the plane may only move a couple feet… instead of landing at LaGuardia or JFK, it will end up in Washington DC!!
Major effects can come from small adjustments, especially when repeated consistently over a length of distance or time.
So says James Clear, in his remarkable book, “Atomic Habits.” And this holds true for both the positive results we yearn for… and the costs we would like to avoid.
We often desire the experience of immediate improvement… so we may resist getting started with something new. We dismiss small changes because they don’t seem to matter very much in the moment. If you save a little money today, you’re still not a millionaire. If you go to the gym once or twice, you’re still out of shape. If you study Mandarin for an hour, you still don’t speak the language.
But it’s not about the one workout, the one foreign language lesson… even the one new client or customer. It’s the accumulation of steady choices and actions over time.
Clear says that habits are the compound interest of self improvement. And the same way that money multiplies through compound interest, our habits multiply our efforts as we repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day, yet the impact over the months and years is enormous.
We typically hear of a success story, all too often dramatized by the attention-seeking media. And it becomes so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment, and to underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis.
But Clear’s research has revealed this math… if you can get even one percent better each day for a year, you will end up thirty seven times better. Conversely if you get one percent worse each day for a year, you will continue to decline down to zero. What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into much more.
As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Did you know that it takes almost five years for some species of bamboo to grow underground before breaking the surface? It requires water every day for five years. And then seemingly all of a sudden, it shoots toward the sky to over ninety feet in only five weeks.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was an “overnight success.” But this process is only made possible by the simple yet crucial repetition of small actions of growth and preparation.
When it comes to us leaders and business owners here at Elevate… the key is to get started… and then to stay the path, slowly and consistently.
You want more closed business? Of course you do. Ask yourself… who is the one person I’m going to serve today? To really connect with someone in my network and make that referral?
What is the clear message I’m going to convey each week such that when the chapter hears my profession, they immediately think of me?
What is the clear ask I am going to make in my commercial or 121’s so that others truly understand what I do and who I am looking to meet?
Too often we convince ourselves that huge success requires huge action. Whether it is losing weight, writing a book, winning a championship, or growing our business we put pressure on ourselves to make some jaw dropping improvement.
Meanwhile, we think that improving in small increments, isn’t particularly notable, or even noticeable.
But in the long run, it can be far more meaningful.
Here’s to good habits, to strong consistent growth, and positive change.