Focus on processes, not events

Many Nigerians want to be rich. Wanting to be rich is not a bad thing. In a Country like Nigeria where infrastructure can be quite poor, having money is the only way to ensure you can cushion yourself against poor power supply, healthcare and expensive food. One could argue that wanting to escape the poverty trap is a very good motivator. A focus on being just rich, however, risks missing the point of personal development. Being rich is an event. What you need to focus on is a process.

An empty process chart
Have you mapped out your process chart?

Let me give an example. Aliko Dangote is the richest African in the world. Many young people tell me they want to be the next Dangote. They want to be billionaires. They would like to have fat bank accounts and huge companies. However, being the richest African is also an event. Knowing what success looks like does not guarantee you will know how to get there. Instead of wanting to be the next Dangote, have you ever thought about how he became as rich as he is today? No? Well, that is a process and that’s what you need to study.

A process is the direct opposite of the event. Rather than being a picture of the finish line, a process shows you how to get there. A common mistake in goal setting is to work very hard at picturing the event (the goal statement) but not enough thought towards the process (the action plan). Put another way, many Nigerians would love to be Dangote. How many of them are willing to put in the same effort he did to get where he is today? Dangote is currently the result of over 3 decades of continued self-improvement. If you would like to see similar results over a period of time, you will have to create a step-by-step roadmap that you can work towards.

Different sized cogs
Cogs in a wheel make a beautiful machine

This does not just apply to entrepreneurial goals. Any goal you set for yourself, will only become a reality when you create a process you can consistently follow. It is the reason Olympic athletes train every day. They realise every small improvement compounded over time will add up. When they are out there on the track, the difference between first and second place is often a few seconds. Yet those seconds (or even milliseconds) represent years of hardwork.

It is easy to overlook the extra effort and want to be the one lifting up the gold medal at the end of the day. To do so, would be to overlook the process and keep your eyes only on the event. This will most likely end in failure. Goals don’t achieve themselves. Action plans do.

The word "Process"
For emphasis

What is the one goal you have today? The one that if you could achieve you would be happy to look back upon at the end of your life. How much progress have you made towards achieving that goal? Not much? Perhaps it’s time you reviewed your action to create a process.

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