I was helping some friends move a couple weeks ago when another friend blurted out a hilarious one-liner describing her romantic experience with waterbeds … push once, coast for five.
You know I love metaphors. And we can use this one to understand the paralyzing effect a small success can have. Picture someone in the middle of a field. A football hurtles through the air and in a moment of triumph, they catch it.
If you’ve never made the catch before, it’s easy to freeze and bask in the triumph of the moment. It’s easy to coast. But this is the time to push even harder. This is the time to take the ball and run with it to the end zone so you can create an even bigger success. The time to capitalize on that first small success is right now.
And no matter how small the success is, you need to keep going while you still have all its momentum at your disposal.
How to Push for 5 and Coast Once
All you have to do is flip the numbers around and you have a better formula for capitalizing on success. But what we really need here is a way to break through the shock and awe of that first success so we can use it to get to the next one …
- Plan for success. By planning for success, you won’t get caught like a deer in the headlights when it happens. You know what to expect, and you’ve put some thought into “what to do next”.
- Celebrate along the way. One of the big traps that prevents people from getting to the next success is stopping for too long to celebrate the last one. Celebrate while you’re on your way to the next one.
- Use the buddy system. Partners, mentors, family and friends are all good for giving you the right encouragement at the right time. When you catch the ball, you want to have someone on the sidelines ready to shout “Run”!
- Think “now”. Just as important as the big goals are the small ones. Standing in the middle of the field ready to catch the ball, your only goal is to catch the ball. Your next goal is to make it 10 yards down the field. Then another ten, and another ten. All of these little goals get you to that big-picture goal of winning the season.
- Break through the perfection wall. It’s easy to have a small success and try to make it bigger by tweaking a few things here and there. Learn from all your experiences, but focus on your next success. The last one wasn’t perfect, but it was still a success.
Okay. Now you can coast.