29 Dec Progress Made Isn’t Always Progress Seen
You won’t always feel like you’ve grown.
One of the most frustrating seasons of my life was 2017-2018. I had started shifting our business away from just selling apparel to investing in building the training portion of our business through speaking & coaching.
I was making calls, practicing talks, and grinding to try and get any traction.
And it felt like I was running on a hamster wheel.
I was doing the work my coaches had taught me but I was seeing the payoff I thought I’d get.
Until one day.
In 2019, everything started to click.
The seeds I’d planted the previous two years – making calls, following up leads, speaking for free – started sprouting. I booked more clients than I had the previous three years combined and my speaking business took off. It hadn’t felt like I’d made progress, but it was there – just like a bamboo tree.
Bamboo trees are fascinating creations.
You can plant the tree in good soil, water it, and make sure it receives plenty of sunlight. You can do everything by the book and you won’t see a dang thing in year one.
The same goes for years two, three, and four.
You’ll work hard, you’ll care for that little tree, and it won’t do anything. No growth. No sign of progress. Nada. Zilch. Zero.
Then suddenly in year five, the magic happens.
Overnight, a bamboo tree will “start” to grow, and can soar up to 80ft tall in just six weeks. It’ll look like nothing is there and then poof! You’ve got a massive tree, seemingly overnight.
In reality, despite the above-ground perspective, the bamboo tree wasn’t sleeping. It was growing, downward.
In order to support its height, the bamboo had to first develop strong, deep roots.
Just because it doesn’t look like something is growing doesn’t mean it’s not.
Tips When You Don’t See Progress
1. Track every step.
Seeing each step forward is more helpful than simply focusing on the results. You can go new school with an iPhone app like Everyday Habit or Streaks OR go old school with a red sharpie and a calendar on your refrigerator. You just need something where you can mark a progress step and see what you’ve done.
2. Circle Up
Get some help. Utilize your circle of friends by having people check on you for your progress report. Set an alert in your calendar each day at a specific time and invite a different friend (5-7 in total) to join. Both you and they will get an alert each day to check on your status, so it increases the pressure knowing you have someone watching you.
If you want to improve chances of success and maintaining your focus on the progress, combine #1 and #2 by downloading HabitShare and connect with 2-3 friends to hold each other accountable on each’s specific focal point.
3. Remember to Reflect.
One of the first things to go by the wayside is our time spent in reflection. We quickly forget how far we’ve come when we’re solely focused on how much work is left to go. Take time each week / month to reflect back on the progress made. This will be a small reminder that even if it doesn’t feel like you’re moving, you’re still standing at the starting line.
The progress isn’t always Instagram posts or visible progress steps – but it’s there for someone who is consistent in showing up.
One percent growth today. Another one percent tomorrow. Minuscule movement, almost unseen to most. Then eventually, boom!
You get an opportunity that you’re able to capitalize on. You weather a recession to rise to the top of your industry. You become an “overnight” success, that we know was built over many nights of non-visible growth.
Don’t let what you don’t see cause you to give up or mail in your effort.
Be like the bamboo that’s simply doing the work to prepare for your opportunity to soar.