August 3

“Slow, steady, and deliberate wins the race.” —Todd Henry

Steady, measured progress (with occasional sprints) is the key to success.

How many times have you heard the phrase “slow and steady wins the race” trumpeted as a recipe for success?

As you probably know, it comes from the fable about a race between a tortoise and a hare. The race is an obvious mismatch, as anyone can see. Because of his blazing speed, the hare makes occasional pit stops along the course, believing that he can always make up his lost time later in the race and still win. The tortoise, on the other hand, believes that persistence is his most valuable tool, and he keeps up a steady pace throughout. The hubris of the hare is is downfall, and the tortoise eventually crosses the finish line victorious because of his consistency of effort.

The problem? While is essence it’s a solid principle, the way it’s applied is often more harmful than helpful. Slow and steady definitely do not win the race alone. Slow, steady, and deliberate wins the race, when punctuated by occasional sprints.

It’s not enough to make daily, measured progress on your work if it’s not deliberate progress. If you’re not moving in a meaningful direction, then failure is a likely outcome. While most professionals know this, it often doesn’t affect how we approach our work. Instead of defining our work effectively, we are instead carried along by the flow of it from day to day. Instead of determining the problems we are trying to solve, we tackle big, conceptual challenges and thus set ourselves up for failure from the start.

Define what meaningful progress means today.

Don’t be lulled into the idea that being busy and making progress is necessarily going to net you a win. You have to be intentional and deliberate about your activity, and you have to be willing to sprint when the occasion calls for it. Slow, steady, and deliberate wins the race.

Question: Are you frantically approaching your work, filling days with busywork? How can you be more deliberate in your approach? 

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