Throw out a timeline. It will take what it takes

About eight months ago I was let go from my job, and I decided that I would like to change things and take more control of my time. Initially, I was under the impression, within a year I should be able to do this. Although, I had no basis for this, it was an important assumption to make even though it was wrong, as it got me going.

The shear amount of things I've had to wrap my head around in the last eight months is a lot. To name a few, I've had to learn how not to build products, then learn the right way (which I'm still figuring out), learn what to build, learn how to ask, learn to negotiate and on and on. This list is quite long. Don't get me wrong, I love it, it seems like a lot but I've always been curious about how a software project came together, from programming to selling.

That being said, frustrations are to be expected. Especially because progress is slow if there is any at all. So yesterday when I came across this section in the book Tools of Titans - Page 161 by Tim Ferris (who has been an inspiration throughout this journey) I felt that I had to share this. I would recommend you get a copy of the book, as it is a wealth of information.

I'd like to share the email Tim Ferris receives from his Gymnastic coach after he expresses his frustration with the lack of progress to him. I've skipped the first paragaraph but the rest is here:

Dealing with temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence. In fact, it is essential and something every single elite athlete has had to learn to deal with. If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it. In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals. Unreasonable expectations timewise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to perceived feeling of failure. Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process.

The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home.

A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes. Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge. Refuse to compromise.

And accept that quality long-term results require quality long-term focus. No emotion. No drama. No beating yourself up over small bumps on the road. Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process. This is especially important because you are going to spend far more time on the actual journey than with those all to brief moments of triumph in the end.

Certainly celebrate the moments of triumph when they occur. More importantly, learn from the defeats when they happen. In fact, if you are not encountering defeat on a fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough. And absolutely refuse to accept anything less that your best.

Throw out a timeline. It will take what it takes.

If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smalled intermediate goals, then only one decision needs to be made and adhered to. Clear, simple, straightforward. Much easier to maintain than having to make small decisions after small decisions to stay the course when dealing with each step along the way. This provides far too many opportunities to inadvertently drift from your chosen goal. The single decision is one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox.

I'm hoping it helps one other person who might be feeling frustrated in any endeavor that they are pursuing as it has for me. For me my long term goal is to have complete control over my time. Dictate what I do and when I do it and who I do it with. It's a worthwhile pursuit, and for me sits at the top of my list.