“I am so proud of you!!!!!!!!!!”
That was me just a few hours ago shrieking down the phone to my husband Guy. I was literally bouncing down the street with joy because he called to say he had signed an option agreement on a development site he has been working on for five months, and I was whooping and hollering for the both of us.
I am generally an effusive person, so after many an exclamation (and sideways glance from people on the street), I asked him how he felt about securing a deal that will make either a smallish six-figure profit or a very large six-figure profit (depending on what we do with it). And his verbatim response was: “No different than before.”
But even if he wasn’t ring-around-the-rosie-ing with pound signs sparkling before his eyes, I was celebrating and proud. Just not for the reason you might think…
No, dear readers, I wasn’t dancing like Jim Carey because Guy secured this amazing deal. If you have been with me over these past few months, you will know that I like to throw wrenches in the obvious, I watch what I am proud of, and I am impressed by nerdy things.
If you really want to know why I was proud of him, it’s this: his singular focus on creating and then committing to a plan without obsessing over the “when is it gonna happen” of the outcome. He is like Churchill, Muhammad Ali, and a Zen master at work: laser sharp and hungry while remaining detached from the result. It’s an incredible thing to witness.
And it’s an incredible thing to dissect.
Here’s what I noticed:
When others might watch TV, Guy watches live feeds of planning committee meetings. When others might scroll through social media sites, Guy studies the local development plan for each council he is exploring land in. When others might spend time researching the “hottest” restaurants in town, Guy invests time researching the “hottest” flood risk assessors around.
And you know what else? When others might have complained about how hard it is to “catch a break” and how the odds are stacked against them (he got to within signing-distance on two other sites and then the sellers started courting bids from other developers; these were sites the owners hadn’t even considered selling before he approached them), Guy let me curse and scream on his behalf and then found more sites to replace them.
And you know what else on top of that? When others might let everything else fall apart while they build their dream, Guy makes stuff happen while truly co-parenting our daughter and taking care of himself (the man plays squash and football four times a week... can you imagine how uplifting -- and annoying! -- it is to live with such a can-do mother-effer?!).
Now, some of you might be ready to barf while reading my praise for someone I am married to. And some of you might even be thinking that A) I am making this up, or that B) Guy sounds terribly boring. But the reality is A) Nope, 100% truth bombs only, and B) That is the point: success sprouts from the boring, success grows from the tedious.
And that’s why it eludes so many of us.
Because how many of us would do the SAME thing day in, day out for OVER A YEAR without seeing any results and keep going anyway? How many of us would continue to put in that effort even after securing a deal? How many of us would be so committed, focused, and disciplined, that “success” becomes an afterthought instead of a daily obsession? How many of us would commit to the tedium instead of wishing for success to fall into our laps?
I am as guilty as the next person. I struggle on a near-daily – sometimes hourly – basis between knowing that I just need to take consistent action on the right things, and throwing my hands up in despair because the results aren’t happening now.
But we all know that’s not how it works. It’s a numbers game, you have to pay your dues, you can’t get something for nothing, be detached from the results… there are so many popular phrases that capture this sentiment. But knowing and doing are laughably disparate (just ask any nutritionist with a Big Mac in their hands).
And not everyone is willing to be bored.
But we can at least try. Try to commit to a process even when it's not fun. Try to forget about the end goal even when the goal seems painfully far away. Try to do what needs to be done even when we don't want to.
And maybe, just maybe, if we learn to love boredom even though he isn't sexy or exciting, success will eventually take notice and invite us back to his place instead.