We all have a process, but not everyone can identify what it is. And, even fewer people can explain that process and how it permeates all areas of their life. I was certainly in the ladder group for a long time, but am thankful for the clarity I’ve gained through much reflection and self examination.
ChopChop is my process and I’ll attempt to explain it here, but the important take-away from this post isn’t an understanding of my process. My hope is that your take-away moves you to a realization, and appreciation, of your process … and a trust in it.
Why Should We Care? If you’ve never chopped down a tree with an axe before, it may be difficult to understand the primary premise behind ChopChop. For this exact reason, we take our basketball team on a retreat every year where they each have to chop down a tree. As we head out to the woods, I ask our guys how many swings they anticipate taking them to get the tree to the ground. The answers are all over the place, but one thing always rings true - they’re prediction is always low. They anticipate achieving the goal (cutting down the tree) will take less work (swing the axe) than it actually will … such is life.
They will start out like a ball of fire, swing in furies of powerful blows. Soon they realize it’s going to take much longer than they initially thought. Some adjust their form, dig deep and swing a little harder, and open up some blisters on their hands.
Inevitably someone will ask the golden question: “Coach, what are we supposed to do?”
Which clears the path for me to share the golden answer and the essence of my personal process: “Keep choppin’”.
I’ve always been pretty average by every measure - intelligence, athleticism - whatever you want to measure, I’m probably in the middle of the pack. The comparison this view of myself led me to was toxic and pushed me to a negative, victim mindset. I’m so grateful for the mindfulness to recognize my gifts, how I was blessed.
My gift is my willingness to Keep Choppin. When things are good, I keep swinging the axe. When things are bad, I keep swinging the axe. I don’t believe in quick fixes or short cuts, nor do I desire to find them. I believe in putting your head down and working. Maybe it’s because I’m not talented enough or smart enough to do it any other way, but it’s who I am and I’m grateful for it.
REAL TALK - Action Steps Finding your process is a valuable experience. It’s certainly connected to your core values and must fit within those walls. Your process should fuel your purpose. It’s how your purpose becomes a reality. Here are a few questions from Joe Ehrmann’s book Inside Out Coaching that can give you great insight into what your process may be.
Why do you Coach / Lead?
This question speaks to the essence of your purpose. It must involve other people and should revolve around sharing part of who you are as a person with those you coach/lead. Fully understanding your process is impossible without answering this question, which few do.
Why do you Coach / Lead the way you do?
Reflection is required. If you never look back with an attempt to understand why you do what you do, then there is no reason to expect change or improvement. Afterall, how do you know what needs to change if you never reflect? The deffered, unintentional answer to this question is because it’s how you were coached, parented, or led in the past. Also, the most common answer.
How does it feel to be Coached / Led by you?
I love this question and we never consider it. Think about the feeling of your best player and your worst player; your top salesperson and your lowest salesperson. If we’re trusting our process; they all should feel it and a genuine, common appreciation should be central to all responses.
How do you define success?
This is the key question for your process. It should look like this:
Success = Purpose filled, which happens when Core Values are fulfilled, which happens when The Process is trusted and fully embraced.
So, how about you? What’s your process? What do you believe in? What drives everything else for you? Tough questions. Important answers. After all, it's our process, not our goals, that determine our future and our impact!
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