“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”
― Yvon Chouinard
I am too often described as a goal-oriented person living in a results-driven reality. I understand the reasons for this perception because I believe the essential methods involved in my many successful experiences are often lost to the captivating aspects of achievements. For this reason, I want to highlight three essential steps which benefit me on the path towards my goals and realizing the results I want.
Praise the Process
Results may get the eye-catching attention for many of us but it is the process which is essential. If we learn to make the right steps, we develop a repeatable proper path. In the case of a student, for example, if we celebrate the achievement of a great grade on a test but they did no work of study to achieve it, we are effectively encouraging a behavior that will ultimately not be helpful. The result while ostensibly positive was not achieved in a healthy way. Similarly a student who receives a lower grade in which they prepared diligently in mostly proper ways is likely to be developing the process which will lead to repeatable positive results because of the process. We wouldn’t want to discourage them because the result wasn’t ideal, but rather to understand how the process helped elevate the result and with practice and perhaps improvement could lead to better results.
In our often competitive mindsets, we compare ourselves to arbitrary measures which do not help us in the ultimate development to be our best. Our only competition is with ourselves in the journey of improvement. Benchmarks of progress and paces of progress may be important to meet our needs for various roles we hope to undertake, and the key is to apply the process approach towards measurable improvement to know we are moving in the right direction. If we look to others for this measure, we may find disappointment in someone always ahead of us or we may stifle our growth if we relax by measuring against someone behind our development. The best versions of ourselves derive from an appropriate paced plan of personal development.
Particular: Be Specific
When trying to understand the process and the progress, it is all too common to use generalities. The more specific we can be about what parts of each are good or need development, the easier and stronger the connection we can make for adjustments. It shouldn’t simply be “good job climbing that mountain.” It would be stronger and more helpful to suggest, “I noticed your packing list ensured you had all your equipment with you and ready at the trailhead. I loved how well you used your trekking pole to support you on the bigger steps and help maintain your strength throughout the day. The regular intervals of your breaks helped all of us hike stronger and encouraging us to get ourselves ready a few minutes before we set out kept everyone encouraged, ready, and on the same page with the short breaks we needed to make such a long day successful.”
These are more powerful examples to highlight what is right and in the identifying and praising of the particulars we encourage the final part of the big three of the letter P!