Product. We are a people of productivity. We love finish lines. We love instantaneous results. We celebrate speed. We encourage short cuts. We like our slogans when they say things like, Hot ‘N Ready in 5 minutes. We are fascinated with infomercials that promise quick results! We want to know if the Magic Bullet can really make guacamole in less than 7 minutes. We love Product.
I’ve discovered something in the last year. My product person mentality has actually been the thing that has kept me from reaching the end result or product of my personal goals. I have a suspicion the same is also true for you.
Let’s say you decide you want to loose weight. You choose your goal weight and you begin working out and eating slightly healthier. In two weeks you’ve not lost as much as you’d hoped. In a month you are dissatisfied with the results and two or three months in your terribly discouraged and you give up.
Or maybe you decide you want to get a book published. You have a great idea for a book and you tell your friends about it, they all agree. You send an email telling a publishing house that you have the latest best seller in your mind. They don’t call back or they send you to their web site where you see the requirements for submitting the idea. You begin to do the work. You pitch your idea and you get rejected. This happens one or two times, if you make it that far in the process and you give up. You give up because you were committed to the product of seeing your book published, not to the process of writing a good book.
There are a million more scenarios out there just like these. Somehow as people, we feel entitled to the product without having to go through a process.
In November I decided to commit myself to the process of becoming a runner. So I chose a program that best fit my skill level. It was called, “From the Couch to a 5K.” Perfect! and I started to run. I could only run 30 seconds at a time when I started.
The process was going pretty okay, it was a month later and I could now run 2 minutes at a time. I decided, I didn’t simply want to become a runner, but I wanted to run a marathon. I put it out on facebook and was now stuck. I had to do it. A friend paid for my registration and I was hooked in. I had to do it now.
I began training. I committed to training. I committed to process. By doing so, I am going to be running my very first running event on June 6th, the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon. I have a decent time for a beginning runner and my body is feeling great. This didn’t come as a result of product oriented thinking. It came as a result of process oriented living.
Here are some brief lessons I’ve learned:
1. When our eye is on the product, discouragement keeps us from pushing through the road blocks to reach our goal. When we live in a process each day and moment stands alone as well as builds on the next day or moment. A road block becomes a part of a day or moment, not the end all.
2. When our eye is on the product we live in the future. When the future does not become the present, we get dissatisfied. When we live in a process, we live in the moment and change happens, catching us by surprise in many ways.
3. When our hope is in the product, our we have ups and downs based on how we do or perform. We become unstable and give up hope easily. When our hope is in something outside of the product and we become a participant in a process, we do not ebb and flow with the process. We simply keep marching on and hold on to hope outside of the process.
4. It is in the process that transformation takes place. I have become a runner. I have become an athlete. I have become healthy. I have been loosing weight. These things are the result of a process. I committed to a process of life change, not the goal of becoming Gillian from the Biggest Looser. I’d give up a long time ago.
5. Process gives room for error. Product living does not.
6. Process isn’t about product, but often leads to product completion.
I continue to learn about the difference between living in a process or wanting to reach a product. I think Jesus had a lot to say about process. I’ll write more on that another time.
What has your experience been with being product oriented?
Have you been in a process that has led to life change?
Let’s learn from each other!