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The Proof is in the Pudding...I mean, the PROCESS!

Mindset Made Simple Tip #192 Watch or listen HERE!

No matter what type of team we lead, we all have them.

The stat watchers.  The outcome obsessers.  The overthinkers.   And we can’t forget those who “should” all over themselves after every opportunity, made or missed.  “I should have…”  “She should have…”  “It should have…”  “They should have…”

Heck, every one of us is on this list somewhere sometimes, too!

What do all these people have in common?


In the fast-paced world of performance, it's so easy to get caught up in the allure of outcomes and goals. After all, in everything we do, there is a winner and loser.  And we have always been taught that goals provide direction and milestones to strive for, right?

While outcomes matter and goals are undoubtedly important, there's a growing consensus among experts that placing too much emphasis on outcomes hinders performance and can lead to burnout.  It doesn’t take an expert to see how focusing on the outcome negatively affects performance!

So, what's the alternative? Focusing on and managing the process, of course.

As the comic strip character Dilbert says, “Losers have goals.  Winners have systems.”  Winners focus on the process.  They know where they want to go, but the goal is nothing without enacting the behaviors necessary to achieve it.

Yes, we need to know where we want to go and what we expect, but focusing on numbers, things we can’t control (like the outcome) and constantly looking in our rearview mirror and talking about “should haves” isn’t allowing us to focus on what we can control….which is what is right in front of us as we perform.  THAT’S IT!

Ultimately, we know that it's not about where we want to go; it's about what we need to do to get there. But, boy, is it hard to keep our heads connected to the behaviors it takes to make things happen!

If we want to stick to a process, we need to be very aware of when our mind shifts to places that pull us away and into the outcome abyss!

Here is what we know: (Click HERE for a copy of the “Where is Your Head” infographic you can share with your team.)

  1. If we want to perform at our best, our mind and body must work together. 

  2. Our body ALWAYS works in the present!  It can ONLY work on the task that is taking place NOW, not the one that just happened or the one that may happen!  (How many things do we miss because we are thinking about something that is not here yet and may never come?)

  3. Our mind is the only part of us that can be in the past!  Here is where the “should haves” come in.  Allowing our minds to be in the past slows us down!

  4. Our mind is the only part of us that can be in the future, short of a trip in Marty McFly’s Delorian.  Allowing our minds to be in the future makes things speed up on us!

  5. Our minds float around in the past, present and future and our bodies can only be in one of those places.  The result is chatter, lack of focus, tight muscles, slower reactions and the inability to give attention to what’s important now (WIN). 

When we slip into different time zones mentally, it usually has something to do with results…what I MUST do or what I SHOULD have done. 

Again, it’s not that results aren’t important, and we shouldn’t strive to excel and get positive results, it’s that when we focus on what has happened, as my cousin Mark said recently in a sermon “I have given up all hope for a better past.”  But we can have a better present and future…if we work to be process-focused in a result-oriented world!

How can we be process-focused in a world that is constantly pulling us to compare and post our achievements?

It may start with setting daily intentions.  Rather than setting rigid goals, practice setting intentions for how you want to show up and engage with the world each day. Intentions allow for flexibility and adaptability, fostering a sense of alignment with one's values and aspirations.

As Dr. Joseph Parent says in How to Make Every Putt: The Secret to Winning Golf's Game Within the Game, you can “make” every putt. 

Ridiculous, you say?  We can’t possibly make every putt!  And that is statistically true!

But we can set intentions and show up that way.  We can decide what we need to do to get the ball to roll in the direction of the cup and then follow that process and once we hit it, it’s on its own! And if we evaluate our process, we can make immediate adjustments!

It's the same with every pitch.  You can “make” every pitch.  Not all of them will be strikes.  But if you are focused solely on what makes you throw the ball well, you can DO those things and you are then “making” the pitch…controlling with you can control and the outcome is what it is…you don’t decide. There are two other people involved…and a whole host behind you if the batter makes contact!

We can also embrace incremental progress by breaking down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps.  “Success” however defined in your arena, is achieved in one simple act.  It's the result of consistent effort and incremental progress. 

Not making progress?  Maybe it’s time to change your focus or approach.  But not allowing productive effort to compound because we didn’t hit the ball where we “should have” slows our progress because we aren’t stacking up what is working. And it’s what’s working that will move us in the direction we desire!

Acknowledging, even celebrating small progress helps us shift the focus from outcomes to effort and growth.  James Clear, author of Atomic Habits says to be our best we need to "Acknowledge and celebrate the small wins along the way.  Progress, no matter how small, is still progress."

It worked for Olympic gold medalist and world champion swimmer Michael Phelps.  He said, "I focused on the process of becoming the best swimmer I could be, rather than fixating on winning medals. By setting daily intentions and committing to the small steps, I was able to achieve extraordinary results."  ONE THING AT A TIME!

Another way we become more process-oriented is, dare I mention, being adaptable.  “Adapt?  I won’t” 😊 

I just talked to a cross country coach today who mentioned that his runners get all bent out of shape when the course isn’t what they need to run tempo runs, etc…IN PRACTICE!   To grow, we must adapt.  Having a plan is VERY important, but understanding that plans may change, and that’s okay, is a must for success! "The ability to adapt and pivot in the face of challenges is essential for success," explains Dr. Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. 

We may want to encourage taking adaptability one step further and flip our daily intentions around a bit by trying out “fear setting” to help us focus on the process.  Popularized by author Tim Ferriss, fear-setting involves identifying and addressing the fears and obstacles that stand in the way of achieving our goals. By confronting these fears head-on and breaking them down into manageable steps, we can take meaningful action and make progress by taking the big scary thing and focusing on what it takes to defeat it.

As I type all of this, running through my head is a conversation I had with a college softball coach the other evening.  One of her athletes is ultra-focused on what a player on another team is doing…and comparing her stats.  A homerun shows up on the opponent’s stat sheet, our player swings for the fences even harder.  Ironically, this is a race to nowhere because her stats are suffering…big time.

This is the perfect example of how OUTCOMES, and sometimes goals, can hijack our performance.  To be our best, we must focus on systems and steps over results.  We can assess the results to see where we need to adjust, but looking ahead or behind is not helping us do what we need to do NOW to get the job done!

The world is all about outcomes.  We must constantly battle that pull and remember that if we don’t pay attention to what is going on around us and what THIS situation needs RIGHT NOW, we have no chance of getting where we want to go. 

Every goal and every outcome is layered with moments that can move us closer to or further away from our desired results.  If we aren’t managing the one in front of us by lining up the steps it takes to find success, we are in trouble…period!

Manage the moments!!


P.S. Does your team need a process over outcome reality check? Reach out today to schedule a session and give them new tools to manage their mindset and performance!  Shoot me a text at 234-206-0946 or an email at and get scheduled today!

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