Having a Plan Is Key, but Consistently Executing a Plan Is Even More Important.
In 1987, I ran my first Peachtree Road Race 10K in Atlanta, GA.
Just divorced, I was only 35 and skinny.
Three weeks prior to the July 4th event, I decided to run the race. Without any training--at all, I thought, “What the hell! I can do this.”
And I did. Just like everything else in my life, I made decisions on whim and tried to hit home runs instead of doing the work to consistently hit singles and doubles.
“Go big or go home,” they say. And that was me. Everything was doable. All I had to do was jump in and give it a shot. No training, no preparation, no paying my dues. Just do it.
Lining up with the other 50,000 people in the race, I ran the 6.2 miles from start to finish, collected my t-shirt, and went to the movie later that afternoon.
Piece of cake.
Years later, running and walking would teach me great lessons about business, life, health, and accomplishing any goal. But first, I’d have to go all the way to the bottom.
And when I was completely laid up with a serious back issue, I knew that I could lay there and waste away or come up with a plan to get back to the Peachtree like I'd been doing for more than 30 years.
On my birthday, Oct. 20th, in 2020, I broke my back…
Well…It wasn’t really a fracture. It just wasn’t working any longer.
On mile 6 of a 7-and-a-half mile walk in my mother’s neighborhood in The Villages, Florida, I felt a twinge in my left leg on the front hip joint.
When the leg started to buckle on me, I stopped, bent over, caught my breath, and looked behind me to see if I’d stepped in a hole or something.
There was a curb, but nothing unusual happened when I stepped off. No twisted ankle, no jolt, no short step.
But there it was. Just a little twinge shooting down my leg to the knee. Hot, tired, and already 2 miles further than I’d wanted to go, I was lost in the winding sameness of the tight neighborhoods.
Onward, I said. Pick it up. Let’s get home.
As I walked into the kitchen, drenched with sweat, I stretched my back as I held on to the countertop. Bending at the waist, I thought maybe I’d overdone it, so I decided to hit the shower. That would make me feel better.
Gingerly stepping in, warm water pelted my back, but it didn’t really help. In fact, I could feel it tightening up.
Mom and Charlsa, my wife, were on the Lanai (Florida-speak for a screened-in veranda). Mom had asked us to cut back a bush. So, I picked up the clippers, walked out to the bush, bent over and started snipping away.
My back was really getting tight now. Charlsa said, “Let me do this. You look like you’re in pain.” So, I handed her the clippers, went into the house, and almost immediately hit the floor.
And I couldn’t get up.
My left leg had no strength. My lower back screamed if I moved. I crawled to the bathroom, sweat soaking my shirt.
For three days, I scooted on the floor to get around. After a very long 11 hour drive home, I crawled in our own house trying to get comfortable.
A friend brought over a walker but even that was too painful. I couldn’t stand in a shower, so we pulled out my deceased mother-in-law’s plastic shower seat. It was the only way I could tolerate the shower.
Luckily, I’d been collecting family canes for a while. And after two weeks, I was able to walk with one of them for short distances. Very short distances.
My new long-term goal was to walk to the mailbox at the end of our driveway about 500 yards away. I didn’t accomplish that goal for three months. But every day, I took a few more steps up the driveway.
But the pain was still intense.
I was living on a mixture of tylenol and ibuprofen - about 16 pills a day just to keep the pain at bay.
By March, just over four months after the doc had diagnosed me with a ruptured (herniated) L4-L5 disc with an MRI, one hip injection with a big-ass needle, and two out-patient epidural injections, I was able to walk to the mailbox and back home without the cane.
I had only a little limp.
To fast forward, by my next birthday last October, I was walking 3 miles again a few times each month but not consistently. Some months, I logged about 30 miles. Others less. Some zero.
But the back pain was still there, just to remind me who had the real power in this body.
On a whim, on the last day of March this year, I decided to join the St. Jude’s #100MileChallenge to raise money for families of children with cancer. St. Jude’s is a great cause. They never charge families for any treatment of the kids in their facilities. So, donations were important. I’m happy to say that my friends on Facebook generously put us over $1000.
One hundred miles in one month was three times the most mileage I’d ever done in a month even before the back injury.
Without help, I’d never complete this.
So, I decided to tackle this like a project.
There were two goals to this project:
Goal #1: Financial
- The first goal set by St. Jude’s was to hit $200 in donations.
- After reaching that in a couple of days, I raised the goal to $500.
- And hitting that by day six of the challenge, I raised it to $1000.
Goal #2: Walk/Run 100 miles in April
- That was an average of 3.33 miles per day.
It seemed doable, but consistency was going to be the key. If I missed too many days, I’d have to make them up by doing 5, 6, or 7 mile-days. And if I got too far behind, I’d give up. I know I’m not unusual here. This is the way of all people who don’t accomplish their goals.
Having a plan was key, but sticking to the plan to achieve the goal was even more important.
We all make plans, but without accountability or the measurement of progress against the plan, nothing matters.
Luckily, St. Jude’s had me covered with a fantastic Facebook Messenger app with several really important elements.
- A menu with task and support selection
- Registration page
- Opportunity to create a customized fundraiser and share it seamlessly
- Join the Facebook Group to support and celebrate group accomplishments (in other words, be part of a community)
- Record mileage every day
- Keep track of cumulative progress toward the goal
And that was all easily accessible in my mobile messenger. From a business perspective, I hadn’t seen a better use of the messenger communication system. My mind was racing with possibilities for my own business.
But I decided to just focus on the goals at hand, one hundred miles and $1000 for the hospital.
I know this about me…
No goal of mine will EVER be accomplished without community support.
Years ago, one of our nation’s First Ladies got some fame (and additional ridicule) for saying “It takes a village to raise a child.”
That proverb has its origins in African cultures because they believe it’s impossible to achieve a positive child experience without a community. No parent can do it alone.
I believe that’s true in every accomplishment.
That’s why “Team” is the first of three attributes that describe the NAMS Community: Team, Tools, and Training.
Team is essential.
Success is a group effort.
So, when I decided to tackle this major challenge - 100 miles in one month, I needed a community to support and encourage me along the way. St. Jude’s provided that with their Facebook Community.
Notice, there were 15.6k members in the community.
And from the beginning, they said the group would be archived immediately after the challenge. That was actually comforting because I wasn’t getting involved in something long-term. With my short attention span, I could handle a short-term commitment.
It fit right in with the approach I needed.
- Short-term commitment
- Simple execution plan
- Step-by-step progress
- An end in site
When I think of our business, we try to offer short-term execution plans with step-by-step progress that point to results.
Results! A double-edged sword!
Focusing on results is dangerous. In fact, I’d say it’s disastrous in most circumstances. Achieving the results you’re hoping for by focusing on the results is nearly impossible.
My guess is that 99.9% of the people wanting to build a business online have purchased some program that says they can start making money right now - today - without any effort or minimal work at best. It’s a push button or magic solution.
I get messages every week from at least one person on our list who begs for a way to make $XXXX in X days. My advice is always the same: If you have a car, drive an Uber.
Those push button magic money solutions don’t really exist. Achieving the results you want NEVER happen without putting in the effort. That’s work.
But a ton of those solutions are sold to people who are looking for results ONLY.
Anyone who has been in a coaching mastermind is usually taught a few marketing guidelines such as:
- Never use the word “work” in your headline. No one wants to buy a product that makes them work.
- Never use the word “learn”. That sounds like work too.
- When doing webinars, don’t “teach” people too much because they won’t buy.
- Shortcuts and secrets are always to be “revealed” to make people know that the seller has access to some special information that you don’t.
Listen, I hate this part of marketing, but you’ll never see me selling a product that says “You have to do a lot of work to create your success” even though you do.
It’s a non-starter. I’d be fighting thousands of years of Human Nature. And I’m never going to win that fight.
But promising a step-by-step pathway to achieve the desired results, just as St. Jude’s provided me, will always work if…
And it’s a BIG IF…
If you do the work consistently every day.
It doesn’t matter what your goal is. Walk 100 miles in a month, raise healthier children, have a better marriage, or create $5,000 extra income every month, always start with a step-by-step plan and a tool to measure your progress while getting support from your community.
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David Perdew is the CEO and founder of NAMS - the Novice to Advanced Marketing System. He’s a journalist, consultant, and serial entrepreneur who has built one of the most successful and fastest-growing business training systems online today called the MyNAMS Insiders Club.
The Novice to Advanced Marketing System is a step-by-step system focusing on Team, Training and Tools to help novice to advanced business people build a Simple, Scalable and Sustainable business.
He took a year off in 2003 to personally build a 2200 square foot log cabin in north Alabama where he and his wife and two dogs and a cat live on 95 acres of forest with four streams and 60-foot waterfall.
The NAMS team includes his daughter, Jen, who is an email marketing and automation specialist. Jen runs the day to day business and is one of the primary trainers in our MyNAMS Insiders Club.