Saturday morning at 4a.m. and we’re still packing crates. Still. Packing. Crates. I can’t much complain, though. It’s sorta what you sign up for when you help bootstrap a beer delivery company, but it’s 4a.m. and I’m doing way more packing beer than drinking beer, and that doesn’t make me happy. I was told it’d be all digital marketing and craft alcohol. What’s this manual labor thing I’ve gotten myself into?
What’s making me even less happy is that we only had “10” left to pack an hour ago, but we just packed 10, and now our fearless leader Charlie, who is the master of our patent-pending beer selection tool we lovingly call the “Beergorithm”, is telling me that there’s “only 5” left. Furry begins to bubble inside me at this betrayal.
Then, somehow, in the middle of our warehouse, surrounded by beer and discarded pick-tickets, the dark clouds of anger part and the angels of clarity wipe clear my fogged glasses and bestow upon me what could only be called a lightbulb moment: I don’t know where the finish-line is. That’s what makes this so tough.
I’d learned this the tough way many years ago from a hard-nosed high school soccer coach who liked to run the piss out of his players, but I’d somehow forgotten the lesson.
3 miles before a 2-hour practice? Why not! 5 miles before our Saturday morning kick-around? Off you go boys! Did someone say “sprints”? Those runs were never really tough, though. Nah, once you knew the route it was really pretty easy. You knew exactly where you were, and for some reason that made the run a breeze. It was always the routes you ran for the first time that were real gassers. That, and when coach would just run you with no sign of stopping. Sprint. Whistle. Sprint. Whistle. Sprint. Whistle. Sprint. Whistle. Over and over and over again. You never knew when he’d get tired of blowing on that whistle, and that seemed to multiply the difficulty of the task by THOUSANDS. But tell me “how many” and I could always find new sources of endurance and energy.
It’s so simple. Define the requirements of your goal, and then execute. You can literally modify the difficulty level of something simply by defining what success looks like.
Accurately understand the success requirements and the path to success transforms from a dark, over-grown, barely-visible path through the woods into a well-lit interstate highway. It’s the same reason we’re scared of the dark — we don’t know what’s there. Specifically defining goals is like turning on the lights.
Building a business is filled with unknowns, and they only multiply as you grow, but I think it’s helpful to consistently and accurately define the requirements for success. It’s seems to be the absolute best productivity hack I’ve found yet.