“I could be so successful, if only I had more time…”
Have you ever started the sentence, “If only I had more time…” then finished that sentence with realization that you would fill that extra time with more hassled, stressful tasks that would leave you even more exhausted than you already are?
Time, precious time
Author Harvey Mackay says that time is the one commodity that we can’t reproduce, alter, capture or revisit. We each have the same quantity of time on a given day, day after day. How we use that time makes all the difference.
Think about the Food Network television show, “Chopped,” where several chefs open a mystery box with a tiny window of time and a mission to create fabulous food fare. Invariably, one contestant groans as the clock runs out and Chef Ted shouts, “Time’s up!” The contestant stares at the unfinished dish below and states as if it’s the first time this has ever happened, “I ran out of time” as their reason for not including all of the required ingredients on their plate, or for not cooking their dish to the judges’ satisfaction. Each chef had the same ingredients, the same cooking station, the same pantry, and the same amount of time. Why were the other chefs able to finish on time with the intended delicious outcome, while Joe/Jane Too-Late is standing with a raw slab of pork on the station?
So how to make the most of this precious, limited resource? How do super-successful time managers seem to breeze through tasks and still have time to show up at the kids’ soccer games or catch a concert in the park?
We can optimize moments, days, weeks and months, making time work for us by transforming time into a force multiplier, harnessing its power in an intentional direction. I’m talking about creating and sustaining momentum.
What is momentum?
While considering the recent passing of my favorite sports writer, Frank Deford, I recalled what I consider to be his most poignant commentary, a short NPR radio article on “momentum.” It talked of the power of perceived momentum in a competitive sports game. Momentum can be so powerful that it’s like having an extra player on the field. An extra player on the field? Hmmmn, I thought…like having more of you…or more time…or both! So I decided to look up the definition of this momentum, ’cause I needed to get me some. Then good ol’ Merriam Webster did it again. Dishing out inspiration from the dictionary. Check out the definition of momentum:
- Physics. The quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.
- The impetus gained by a moving object. “The vehicle gained momentum as the road dipped“
Momentum – How to get it
If you’re looking for momentum in your life, you can achieve it in two ways:
- LAUNCH FORWARD FROM THE BAD: Transform negative energy into positive momentum
- HARNESS AND MULTIPLY THE GOOD: Capitalize on positive energy, making it a force multiplier
Tip #1: LAUNCH FROM THE BAD: Transform negative energy into positive momentum
Gain momentum from the dip in the road
The first way to bring momentum into your life is by turning a “downturn” into positive energy toward a better situation.
Recall the above example from the dictionary that illustrated the use of the word momentum: “The vehichle gained momentum as the road dipped.” Positive energy from a negative downturn. That’s it! As life has its ups and downs, we can actually use the negative, uncomfortable road-dipping experiences and energy to generate momentum! Impetus, gained by moving forward!
So, positive momentum can be generated by transforming negative energy and experiences into a force multiplier, propelling us forward toward our next goal. “Use the pain!” as my exasperated physical trainer might say to me as I whine through yet another set of 20s.
This concept of using the power of a negative experience to generate positive life force is a familiar one to me. It brings me back to an old addage I used when I was a clinical psychologist trying to help patients find hope when they felt like they were drowning in life’s troubles…”Sometimes, hitting bottom provides you a solid base to push off from, and allows you to gain upward momentum to fresh air above the water’s surface.”
Tip #2: HARNESS AND MULTIPLY THE GOOD: Capitalize on positive energy, making it a force multiplier
Sustain momentum by adding fuel to your positive fire
The second way to harness momentum in your life is by taking a positive expeirence, moment, feeling, achievement, relationship forward with additional positive energy. I’m sure you remember the junior high school gym teacher explaining that “energy begets energy,” and that the more you exercise, the more energy you will feel.”
That’s the power of a force multiplier. It’s like adding a gentle push to a child on a swing as they are moving forward. Just enough added energy, and the child is beaming with delight as the swing reaches higher toward the sky.
Take a positive element of your life, say a successful workout session or a well-received presentation at work. Multiply that energy by sharing your success with a loved one. Journal it. Get in your car and jam to your favorite tune in celebration of that success. Take a selfie to show your progress from your workout. Place a memento of your success into an “emotional bank account” folder that you can dip into on rainy days when you aren’t feeling so great. Take that positive momentum and make it last longer by sharing it, celebrating it, crystallizing it and honoring it.
What the Experts Say
Consider these thoughts on Momentum from Thrive Global’s Benjamin P. Hardy in his article, “The 2 Mental Shifts Highly Successful People Make:“
Momentum is essential
“When you experience positive momentum, you’ll never want it to stop.” — Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach
Finally, people who have experienced this first mental shift really care about momentum. They’ve worked hard to develop their momentum and know what it feels like to not have momentum.
Being without momentum is rough. It’s how most people live their lives. And without momentum, results are minimal, even with lots of effort.
Consistency is key to developing momentum. You get it by putting intentional effort toward a singular goal or vision, and eventually the compound effect takes over. It’s as though several outside sources are working for your good. Because, they are.
Keeping momentum once you have it, then, becomes very important. Hence, you must maintain a thirst for continual learning and growth.
Okay, now it’s your turn. It’s your opportunity to make the most of the precious, limited time we have. Enter a comment below to share how you will create and sustain momentum in your life.
Susan E. Hendrich