Life can be scary and intimidating. The anxiety of working for something new can be overwhelming with all of the possibilities that come with it.
Of course, there are good things, like accomplishment, acknowledgment, or just plain-old success.
And then there are the not-so-good things, like fear, anxiety, and failure, that can plague you on your path to success.
Trusting in the process can help you to alleviate your fears and anxiety while you push on to your greater goals.
What does it mean to “trust the process?” Simply put, it’s to remain committed to the plan. Trusting the process is still showing up to do the work you know needs done, even though you might be struggling or feel like you aren’t making the gains you want to be.
One thing that is often not discussed when working toward goals is the plateaus you hit along the way. A lot of people view working toward your goals as a linear process. You put in work, that work brings you to your goal. But that’s not how it works.
How it actually works is that you put in some work, you might make some progress, or you might not. Instead, you may even slip back a little, like if you have a cheat day and splurge on your diet. Or you may not make progress at all. Maybe you’ve been eating right for a long time but just can’t seem to shed the weight you want to.
This is normal. And it’s a perfect example of why you need to trust your process.
But, how do you do that? Luckily for you, we have six tips on trusting your process to bring you to the success you’re looking for.
1. Create a plan.
“Failure to plan is planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
To trust your process, you need to have a process in place to begin with. Big goals don’t happen overnight. They require consistent, dedicated effort to bring them to life. To do that, you will need to develop a plan to take you from where you presently are to the success you’re looking for.
How do you do that?
One of the easiest ways is to reverse engineer the goal. By reverse-engineering the goal, you can work backward through the steps it will take to reach the goal. For example, let’s say you wanted to become a therapist. What do you need to do to become a therapist?
You will need to be licensed before you can practice. Alright. How do you get licensed? You need a graduate degree and training in a relevant discipline like social work or mental health therapy. What do you need for that? Some sort of undergraduate degree. How do you get that? By finding, applying to, and completing the coursework at a college to earn that degree. And how do you do that? Well, by starting to look for and apply to schools.
Now you have your plan by just reversing the order. Find and apply to colleges, complete an undergraduate degree, apply for graduate school, complete graduate school, test for a therapist license, and then practice. That’s about a six or seven-year plan right there.
Each step of your process is a smaller goal that will take you to your larger goal. Looking at each of those smaller goals as a step on the larger path will help you maintain motivation because you know that you are making forward progress.
2. Focus on one step at a time.
A multi-year plan, like becoming a licensed therapist, is a large commitment. It can feel overwhelming and anxiety-inducing because there’s just so much that can happen. So much that can go wrong!
You navigate those feelings by focusing on one step of your plan at a time. You’re just starting off. There’s no reason to worry about looking for a graduate school if you haven’t completed your first application to undergraduate. Right?
Stay focused on doing the work of the step of your plan that you are currently on. Even though it’s not necessary to start thinking about grad school that early, it will be necessary when you start getting closer to completing that undergraduate degree. But for now, you would just set that aside until it’s relevant.
3. Practice a Non-Zero Day.
What is a Non-Zero Day? This is a method of self-improvement and working on your goals that boils down to a simple premise. Every day, you do at least five minutes of work toward your goal.
Now, the idea is that most people have difficulty getting started on what they’re doing. The goal can seem huge, overwhelming, and just not attainable. So people procrastinate. They avoid doing the work. They put it off until later, thinking they would just come back to it again. And you know what? They might.
The problem with that line of thinking is that you lose time. Time is not something you get more of. It’s not something you can buy or reclaim. The time you waste is just gone.
So, you sit down and do at least five minutes of work every day toward your goal. Of course, there are some days where you only will do the five minutes of work. But there will be many more days where five minutes will turn into ten minutes, a half-hour, and an hour.
Getting started is often the hardest part of the process. Non-Zero Days will help you get started and move on through your process.
4. Stay focused on what is within your control.
There will be a lot of things in life you can’t control. Sometimes, life deals you a hand, and you just have to find a way to play it in a way that makes sense for you. And, sometimes, that hand isn’t a good one. It may be filled with heartbreak, setbacks, sickness, or difficulties you could never have foreseen.
But that’s okay! It really is. You can reduce stress in your life, yourself, and your work by focusing on the things you can control.
Let’s look back at our previous example. What can you control? Well, you can control how much time and effort you put into applying to colleges. You may not get into the one that you hoped for, but by applying and not giving up, you are working toward getting accepted. What you can’t control is whether or not you’re accepted. Things may not go as they planned. That’s okay. All you need to do is pivot by applying to different schools.
And you know what? You may not even get to your final destination of a licensed therapist. Instead, you may go to college and find some other thing that you’re passionate about and want to pursue. That’s okay too. That is also within your control.
5. Love your failure. Make failure part of your process.
Amor Fati – “Love your fate.”
Amor Fati is a slogan from the philosophy of Stoicism. The idea is to love your fate, that is, to love everything that comes into your life, everything that happens to you, and embrace it as your own.
Don’t misunderstand; this isn’t solely about good times. The Stoics ranged from Roman emperors to enslaved people. They lived through wars, plagues, chronic illnesses, and all manner of terrible things. They weren’t just talking about the good times, but many people think that they were. And that’s because of how a lot of people view love.
To love something or someone is to accept it for what it is, not what you want it to be. How many people try to hide away from their problems? How many people just refuse to accept their reality?
“Oh, that can’t possibly be. That couldn’t happen to me.” or “I’m just going to ignore that so I don’t have to deal with it right now.”
That can be anything from health problems to knowing your partner is up to something sketchy to failing. But those things won’t resolve themselves unless you can embrace them, accept them as yours, and find a way through them.
Failure is no different. So many people view failure as an absolute end to their journey. It’s not. Successful people, at least those that don’t just hit a stroke of good luck, know that failure is part of the process of succeeding. They understand that when they experience failure, it’s rarely personal, and it’s just a lesson. You just learned something you shouldn’t do, so you pivot and find a different path to take you closer to success.
Failure is not a big deal if you don’t make it a big deal. Okay, things didn’t go as planned. That’s life. What can you do about it now? What will bring you closer to your goal? How can you pivot to use the knowledge and experience you’ve gained in your process to get closer to success? These are the questions you need to ask.
6. Love your process.
Love your process? Love the work? Absolutely. Why shouldn’t you? You’re going to spend a bunch of time doing the work, aren’t you? So you might as well enjoy it.
Replace the dread of, “Oh, I have to do this work.” with “Oh, I have to do this work! I’m going to get to learn something new and accomplish my smaller goals!”
It’s not fake to find pleasure and joy in doing work that adds to your life. And even if you’ve hit a plateau where you’re no longer improving, you can still take joy in learning new things, developing more experience, and inching ever closer to that bigger goal.
That may sound eye-rolling or like toxic positivity, but it’s really not. Instead, it’s making the best of a situation that may not be the most fun to be in. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Trust yourself. Trust in life. Trust the process.
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- How To Empower Yourself: 16 Ways To Feel Empowered
- How To Stop Being Lazy: 24 Tips That Actually Work!