What comes to mind when I say the word grind?
For me, the first thing that comes to mind is grinding something up; like a pepper grinder putting some fresh ground pepper on a juicy sirloin. I certainly like the thought of that!
Maybe you thought of grind as a sound. If you’ve ever driven a car with manual transmission, and you miss a shift, you’ll hear a grinding sound. Not pleasant, and not good for the car either.
Another thought that comes to mind is the feeling that, “work was such a grind today”. It connotes things didn’t go well, or it was hard, or it was long. Looking at it in this context definitely gives the word grind a negative feeling.
Putting in quality time to do the hard work necessary to achieve a goal or a new level of success requires a consistent routine. I call it the grind. To help you learn to embrace the grind download this free worksheet.
It’s time to change the way you think about grind. And, by the end of this I guarantee you’ll be ready to embrace the grind.
Let me start with a short story about how I learned to embrace the grind.
I competed in my very first triathlon in 1986, and I was instantly hooked. Triathlon as a sport was still in it’s infancy then, and while there were plenty of short local events, there was one that was the awe of every aspiring amateur triathlete: The Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon. The distance of an Ironman is the ultimate test of endurance, but back then the distances seemed ridiculous.
[Just in case you’re not familiar with the distance, it’s a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a full marathon of 26.2 miles. That’s a combined 140.6 miles to be completed within an 18 hour time frame.]
Fast forward to 2009. I resumed triathlon training after a long layoff, and set my sight on the goal of completing an Ironman. In September 2009 I registered for the Ironman in Louisville, KY, set for August 2010. I had a year to prepare. But how?
Serious training began in earnest about 8 months prior to the date of the event. That means not a day went by where I wasn’t doing something preparing me for that day. Had I tried to script my training all on my own I knew achieving my goal would be at risk. But, I hired a local coach who had a plan -- a training plan to define exactly what I needed to do each and every day to put me in the best condition physically and mentally to achieve my goal.
This is when I first gained the grind perspective
The great thing about having a plan is I didn’t have to think about what I was going to do on any particular day, I simply followed the plan. One day at a time. Not thinking too far ahead. Not beating myself up for days where training didn’t go as expected. Just doing the best I could on THAT day.
When you embrace the grind your focus is on winning the day.
Day by day performance ebbs and flows, so getting all twisted up inside because you had a difficult day doesn’t jeopardize a goal unless you let it.
The key to grinding is to remain present on the tasks at hand for the day. Looking too far ahead, or beating yourself up over the past does nothing except create anxiety and doubt.
By grinding day-in and day-out, by winning more days than you lose, by staying in the present and not letting head trash get the best of you, any goal you set for yourself can be achieved.
I completed the 2010 Louisville Ironman Triathlon on a hot, humid day in late August. It was as hard as my mind could imagine, but nothing my daily grinding had not prepared me for. The feeling of crossing the finish line still gives me chills, and from that experience I have learned to embrace the grind.
Learning to embrace the grind is not easy, but it could be the difference in achieving your loftiest goals. Think of it this way -- success is cumulative and progressive, but so is failure. Success is the result of what you do everyday.
It boils down to having a plan for your day, and winning more days than you lose. So how can you learn to embrace the grind? Try these two things:
- Gain control of your time. I know, easier said than done, but it’s critical because the demands on our time are what make work feel like a grind. Instead, you want to control the grind by knowing the things you do today are leading towards the goal. I use a simple one-page worksheet everyday to plan my day and keep myself honest with how I use my time.
- Keep score. Listen, you’re not going to win every day. There are just too many variables as a business owner that tug at your time. One way to evaluate how you’re doing is to give yourself a “star” for the day. Yep, going all the way back to elementary school for this little gem. Look your day over. Would you give yourself a “star”? Evaluate and simply hold yourself accountable, that’s it!
Coach Vince Lombardi once famously said “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” Coach Lombardi understood that if you want to win in the future you have to embrace the grind today and everyday.
In the beginning of this article I guaranteed you’d be ready to embrace the grind. So, are you ready to get after it and grind each and every day toward your goal?
Reach out to me if you’d like to dig deeper on this topic and find out how you can gain better control of your business and unlock its full potential. Comment below, or use this contact form to send me a message or to schedule a free 15-minute triage call to explore what might work for you. And, if you found this article useful please share it so others can learn how to grind in their lives and businesses.