October 9

Twenty-Mile March

Steady, deliberate progress is the key to making meaningful progress on big, complex projects. In their (already referenced!) bookGreat by Choice, Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen share the hypothetical story of two people walking across the United States. One sets out on the first day, which was beautiful, walks twenty miles, then stops. The other, because it’s beautiful, decides to walk forty miles. The following day, the temperature is unbearably hot, but the first person again walks twenty miles. The other person, already worn out from the big first day effort, decides to wait for more optimal conditions to trek again. This goes on for day after day, in good and bad conditions. Who will arrive at their destination first?

Collins argues that successful companies (and I would add people as well) are those who commit to the twenty-mile march even when they don’t feel like it or when conditions aren’t optimal.

For you, that might mean doing a specific number of hours of work on a project each day, writing a certain number of words no matter your circumstances, or having your check-in meeting even when it’s inconve- nient. By committing to steady, deliberate progress, you are more likely to arrive at your destination than if you only do work when you feel inspired to.

Commit to steady, deliberate, measured progress on your big projects. And do it every day, even when you don’t feel like it.


What is your twenty­mile march right now?

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