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This Is Hard But I Can Do It!

This is hard but I can do it!

This is hard but I can do it!

This is hard but I can do it has become my mantra for the last 18 months. Something I was chanting to my 5 year old at the dinner table last night. My son started kindergarten a week ago and my wife Shyla and I are anxiously trying to coach him through navigating the chaos of the schoolyard.

Like many of you, the past year and a half have been the most turbulent of my life. It’s also been the most significant growth I’ve experienced. Beyond the disruptions that the pandemic brought to all our collective lives, I’ve suffered a great degree of personal loss. I lost my Dad–one of my favorite people in the world. I left the neighborhood I called home for the last decade, my wife and I experienced a series of failed IVF rounds. The most painful though, was the death of my daily bag of chips when the doctor called with my cholesterol numbers. ARE YA KIDDING ME!?

If that wasn’t enough, I decided to swing for the fences and hang my own shingle with no plan, no clients, no capital.

Fortunately, being an immigrant has given me the muscle memory to leap into the fog of the unknown and embrace the ride, knowing I’ll figure it out somehow, someway.

One lesson that helped me survive the personal-professional tsunami was leaning into 20 Mile Marching. The 20 Mile March is a concept developed in the book Great by Choice, by Jim Collins. It’s a lesson I picked up during the hockey-stick growth years of the General Assembly. It helped me navigate my team through confusion, uncertainty, and chaos.

Twenty miles is an analogy for setting a metric that you have complete control over and executing against it with discipline; regardless of what’s happening externally.

“Enterprises that prevail in turbulence self-impose a rigorous performance mark to hit with great consistency—like hiking across the United States by marching at least 20 miles a day, everyday. The march imposes order amidst disorder, discipline amidst chaos, and consistency amidst uncertainty. Read more here.

The key, I learned, is consistency. Go only 20 miles, no more, no less.

Even on the best of days when the conditions are good and you can comfortably march further, stick to just 20 miles. On the worst of days, persevere and make it through those 20 miles. The effort compounds delivering exponential results.

“Having a clear 20 Mile March focuses the mind; because everyone on the team knows the markers and their importance. They can stay on track. Financial markets are out of your control. Customers are out of your control. Pandemics are out of your control. Global competition is out of your control. Technological change is out of your control. Most everything is ultimately out of your control. But when you 20 Mile March, you have a tangible point of focus that keeps you and your team moving forward, despite confusion, uncertainty, and even chaos.

I’ve implemented 20 Mile Marching by creating rituals I stick to no matter what: journaling three pages every morning and going for an hour walk every evening. I’ve implemented it professionally by committing to three high-leverage tasks each week that focus on growing my business, not just delivering my services. These simple daily practices have helped me stay grounded and feel a sense of control when our world continues to be chaotic.

What's keeping you grounded during these crazy times? What’s your 20 Mile March? Let me know. I read every single message personally and would love to hear from you!

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