Dan Sullivan‘s The Gap is a concept that really hits home with me. I naturally and automatically spend a lot of energy comparing my current status to the ideal in my head. Dan’s advice is to focus on forward progress rather than comparing yourself against an ideal.
The metaphor he gives for this is the horizon. We’re never going to get to the horizon. When we move forward, it just remains as far away as before.
No matter how far we go, the “ideal,” like the horizon, is still always in the distance. Much wiser to look back and compare your progress with the point you started from. The ideal is a great motivator to get started, but using it to measure progress is debilitating.
One way to focus on progress is to use Dan’s “Positive Focus” tool. Basically you list out your wins over a recent period of time (like last week) and why they were important. When I filled one of these out for January, I realized something that wasn’t exactly top of mind: I kicked ass in January!
Dan would call this “counting your wins”.