“Don’t confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but doesn’t make any progress” – Alfred A. Montapert
How can you and I possibly use this leadership quote?
They are all acting like that rocking horse! They keep doing the same thing over and over again moving like fury and yet they stay in the same place. But they look busy and anybody catching a glimpse of them in their daily work would think they are really on task. At the end of the day they’re tired. They get up the next day and they busy themselves, repeating the same things they did yesterday.
Who am I talking about? The thousands of people I’ve seen in offices, factories, shops, some are working for themselves as well. This quote on leadership gives a very excellent metaphor. Most of those people are rocking horses not racehorses.
How can you become a thoroughbred racehorse?
The first thing is to decide on your values. Find what is the most important thing in your life. What do you value the most? That’s easy. It’s what you mostly do. If you say your family is the most valuable thing to you and yet you spend most of the time at your desk or in a bar then you value your desk or the bar more than you value family. If there is a mismatch between what you say and what you do, it’s what you do that gives you the answer. If you say you want to be the best business leader in the world but you watch four hours of TV every evening, I can tell you now that you want to watch TV, not to be the best business leader in the world.
Be honest with yourself when you are looking at your values. Don’t just set dreams. Dreams are fine but you need to know what really drives you from inside. Don’t forget to include your insecurities. Many people include such things as integrity in their values. Is integrity also an insecurity for you? Deciding on your values is the most important thing you can do in life. Unless you know your values, you are destined to be a rocking horse. Well worth some deep thought.
Spend some time thinking about your values. Only when you know them can you possibly set goals for your life and work out the difference for you between motion and progress.
From your values, then you can determine your goals. Your goals must match your values and support them. The SMART goals process which is commonly quoted is fine in some specific circumstances when deciding on small incremental steps toward your main goal but SMART is not enough. Your life goals must be huge, not realistic in the normal sense of the word. If they are realistic, you are setting yourself up for mediocrity. You are setting yourself up for motion rather than progress.
When you have set your goals, you can start to work out where you should be spending your time. You spend your time on things which move you towards your goals which are in line with your values. Analyse where you are spending your time. There are simple tools to help you do this, mainly involving a sheet of paper and a pen. Keep a detailed time log for a week. By detailed I mean accounts each minute of each day. You don’t need to go into huge amounts of detail for each activity. Just analyse it simply by looking at each thing you’ve done and asking “Did this move me towards my goal?” Was in motion or progress?
By using this simple question “Was it motion or progress?”, you can decide on every activity. You will need to be systematic in managing yourself. The simple fact is that if you ask yourself this question at each moment when you start or find yourself undertaking an activity, you will be able to decide whether you are a rocking horse or a thoroughbred racehorse.
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