The Truth About Results: It's Largely in What You Can't See

The election results in the United States are in, and I am unabashedly happy for and like the sound of President-Elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. Woo, hoo!

I’m happy for this outcome for a whole host of reasons. But as I shared in a video I posted on Instagram, I’m fully aware that there is a ton of work for America to do with regards to addressing our health pandemic, pandemic of racism, and fragile economy. I’m simply choosing not to let the magnitude of that work overshadow my joy right now.

Today’s piece isn’t a reflection on the election, per se. Rather, it’s an invitation to use the election process as a way of reminding you and me of an important trilogy: the work before the result – the result – and the work that comes after the result. 

Because… 

…when it comes to your personal and professional life, you have a few things in common with political campaigns. 

How? 

Well, it all starts with a vision, right? And, you have a vision for your life. That vision then gets converted into goals, a strategy, a message (or, what you stand for), and tactics that will help you to stay focused when your vision and strategy are under attack. 

In other words, you, too, have a playbook – even if that isn’t language you would typically ascribe to how you approach and manage your life. 

And the thing ALL playbooks have in common is this: your results are often based on years of work, by you and others, that is largely invisible to outsiders. But, that you know were critical to your success. 

Case in point: Nearly 160 million people voted in the 2020 election.

That record turnout isn’t the result of one year of campaigning; it’s the result of decades of unseen (and often under-appreciated) work. I’m thinking of voting rights activists like Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown. They and countless others worked tirelessly in the trenches on voter registration and turnout.

What’s Your Playbook?

The first sentence of the above paragraph is a playbook all on its own.

It’s a reminder, especially at this time of the year, to start thinking about what you want from the year to come – and what role you want money to play in that experience. 

It’s a reminder that any result – win or lose – is a by-product of the work that came before the result

It’s a reminder that you don’t always have control of the outcome (win or lose), but you do have control of the actions you took before…and the ones you take after.

It’s a reminder of the power of perseverance, patience and persistence.

It’s a reminder to create feedback loops, so you can integrate new information, insight and ideas so you can adapt and pivot when it becomes necessary to course-correct.

It’s a reminder to acknowledge and celebrate small and early wins along the way. Because doing so is what will help you build and sustain your momentum and confidence. 

It’s a reminder to prepare to have what you want. Huh? Look at this way, you may not need a transition team to help you prepare for running the country. But you, too, have a transition period with which to contend. Meaning you have to prepare not just for getting what it is you want, but for having it. The difference is subtle, but significant.

Need a few examples: There’s a difference between wanting your dream job and having it; there’s a difference between wanting to close a deal and having the responsibilities that come with a new client; there’s a difference between wanting to be married and being married. You get my drift…

And here’s my point. Just like the transition team for the new administration had to not only prepare for the win, they also had to prepare for what actions would be required of them immediately afterward. The same is true for you — you, too, have to prepare for your wins and the actions that will be required of you immediately afterward

Looking Ahead

For the results you want to experience and see in 2021 and beyond, start now. 

If you haven’t already, schedule time to map out your vision, goals, strategy and tactics. Don’t wait until we’re thick in the holiday season (as unusual as it may be) or until January. Take several days, if necessary, but get a jumpstart now. 

Because this time next year, you’ll notice the progress you’ve made and you will see results based upon what you do in the intervening days, weeks and months between now and then. And you can’t overlook the running tab that factors in all the work you’ve done thus far. It’s a cumulative thing. 🙂 

Outsiders may only recognize your results (and they may have their thoughts about them, too!). But you know what the outsiders could never know. They’ll never know:

  • The choices, trade-offs, and sacrifices you’ve made. 
  • What caused you sleepless nights.
  • How you listened to and tweaked your strategy and tactics based on your feedback loops. 
  • The “behind the scene” members of your team of supporters. 
  • The degree of your perseverance, patience and persistence that helped you address every challenge and obstacle you encountered – whether of your own making or due to external forces. 

Outsiders may only recognize and acknowledge your results, and they may singularly measure those results – win or lose. But you know the larger truth: What is seen is the derivative of so much of what they can’t see.

When you celebrate your wins, you know you’re not just celebrating the result. You’re also showing appreciation for what is invisible to others, but that you know was critical to your success.

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