The slinky first came out in 1945. I received my first one several years after that and remember coaxing it down the stairs until it eventually started to move on its own. I watched in amazement as the shiny coiled spring moved effortlessly down the stairs without my help.
Imagine the slinky as a metaphor for the relationship between “what you do” and “the results you get.” The initial coaxing of the slinky to get it going is like the discipline we apply in life to follow those routines and practices we know will result in fruit and a pay off some day.
Some of those routines and practices could include: daily exercise, no more fries, calling potential clients, getting up early to pray, reading books for personal growth, setting goals, resolving conflict sooner than later, stretching and strengthening your post-repair recovering body.
The back end of the slinky is like the fruit of your labor or the results of the time and trouble you put into those daily routines that eventually pay off.
Some of the fruit you reap could include: lost weight, a healthier stronger body, marketable skills and competencies, deeper relationships, a financial payoff, finding people willing to have you work with them.
The reason I bring this topic up is because in my life, a major interruption brought my momentum to a grinding halt. Now I find myself in several ways trying to get it going again. It’s tough! But the way forward is not some magical solution but a daily commitment to following the slinky principle!
How am I seeing the slinky principle at work in my life?
Physically –I coaxed the slinky down the stairs by daily exercise, regular stretching, physio – with no “results” for days (so it seemed). Then slowly but surely I started seeing fruit. When I first started riding the recumbent bike, it took me 12 minutes to go 1 km. Now I ride 5 km’s per day in 24 minutes and am reaping the fruit of lost weight, greater energy, less stress and greater mobility. And – I now walk without a crutch!
Mentally – I read, reflect, listen to podcasts, follow blogs and the fruit I’m seeing open doors to mentor younger leaders, opportunities to resource leaders, ideas to blog about, and mental freshness.
Spiritually – I practice a few daily disciplines (prayer, spiritual reading, journaling, reflection) to build spiritual muscle and strength. The fruit I’m experiencing is inner peace, spiritual aliveness, connection with God and deeper purpose.
Professionally –I’ve been increasing my work hours gradually and reintroducing the routines and practices I know will eventually reap rewards (networking, meeting with people, being coach-like and helpful in every interaction, setting measurable goals)
Discipline is not a microwave; it’s a Crock-Pot. (Dave Ramsey)
It’s the every day choices entered into our calendar and onto the to do list that get things moving again after a stoppage in life or work or after growing stagnant in any way.
When you start again, what do you have to wait for?
Hearing “thank you.”
Hanging up the “Sold” sign.
Having people to work with.
Fitting into your old jeans.
Finishing the race with a personal best time.
But there are no shortcuts to achieving lasting results in life. Like the slinky success comes after you coax those daily activities and practices of life that may be hard now, but will reap a reward eventually.
You usually have to pay the price of self-discipline and hard work long before you see the back end of your dreams realized. But if you keep your dream in mind and have a why to live for, you’ll be able to endure the how necessary to get there!
What interruption took away your momentum?
What daily activities do you need to commit to doing today?
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