When Tarah was 12, it was common to see her writing specific water skiing goals on colored paper with an artistic flair. Some goals were short-term performance targets, while others looked much further out at specific outcomes like making the U.S. Team. She was competitive and determined to win a national title.
This family awoke one particular Saturday morning to find the weather windy, overcast and nasty. The lake was rough, but not too rough to ski. Tarah's father knew it wouldn't be pleasant, but they were planning on a good day of practice. He announced that he'd go down to the lake and get the boat ready. Tarah replied, "Dad, I don't really feel like skiing today." He said, "I understand. I'll go get the boat ready." She looked surprised and said again, "It's nasty out there and I really don't feel like practicing." To which he again replied, "I know, you're right. I'll go get the boat ready." By then she was really frustrated. "Dad! Don't you get it? I don't feel like it!" Finally it was time to make the point. "Tarah, it's perfectly fine that you don't feel like skiing, but what does that have to do with it? Let's do it anyway."
In business and in life, you commonly state your goals and plot your course for reaching them. However, there will be many days when you don't feel like doing the work, but go ahead and do
it anyway "feeling like it" is not a pre-requisite. In Tarah's case, it's theoretically possible to "not feel likeit" all the way to a national title, if she's willing to do the work!
Doing the hard things is often accompanied by "not feeling like it." However, true champions and those successful in the business world are willing to do the hard things despite their feelings at the moment. Digging down deep within yourself to do the things that must be done is the essence of self-discipline. The alternative looks easier and therefore attractive, but actually includes a heavier price in the long run. Author Jim Rohn wrote, "We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons."
If you're serious about taking your performance at work to the next level, examine your average day or week and identify the situations or opportunities that require you to do the hard things. What are the uncomfortable items for you? Here are some possible examples
Completing the paperwork following a sale or agreement.
'Cold' phone calls to prospects.
Speaking in front of a group of your peers or a group of any kind.
Meeting strangers and engaging
Confronting someone over a behavioral issue.
Listening to feedback about your work.
Writing a report.
Sticking to a budget.
The secret to not feeling like it, yet doing it anyway, is to discover the 'psychic income' you receive when you overcome the urge to avoid the unpleasant tasks. Those who are good at doing the painful, distasteful tasks will tell you they experience an internal pay-off. It is a satisfaction on a psychological level that feels rewarding and fulfilling. Be prepared for the natural tug-of-war that will rage within you as you face the hard things you'd rather avoid. Part of you wants to find something easier to do, but the part of you that says, "I don't feel like it, but I still have to do it" is the one worth listening to.
President John F. Kennedy gave a speech to the students at Rice University on September 12, 1962. At the time, many people were asking why it was important for the U.S. space program to go to the moon. Kennedy answered his critics by posing another question the students of the relatively small private school would understand: "Why does Rice play Texas? Because it is the hard thing!" It is also the reason he gave for our commitment to go to the moon; because it's the hard thing we must do.
The four steps to overcome the 'don't feel like it' sensation can best be described as mental gymnastics:
Recognize you have a choice.
You are at a crossroads where you must choose between two alternatives; the easy way that provides relief, or the hard way that includes some discomfort.
Take yourself out of the equation by asking yourself three questions: "What choice would be made by someone I greatly admire?" "Why would his choice impress me?" "What would he gain by his choice?"
Reinstate yourself into the situation by deciding if you would like to be that person. If so, the answer becomes clear. The choice is yours and so are the rewards!
Take action immediately, without hesitation or second thought..
The gains from the pain are positive sensations for having done the hard thing, rather than hiding from it. Fear and discomfort have been overcome. Your psychic income is earned, and with it a reinforcement for doing it again. The long-term gains are best described not by what you get, but by what you become in the process.
Remember, it is more likely for you to act your way into a feeling than it is to feel your way into an action! Will yourself to do the things others won't do and you'll have the things others won't have.