Momentum, the power residing in a moving object, kept so through inertia – fuelled by doing. Is your doing strong enough to maintain and grow your momentum?
What does momentum mean to you? Would you say that you have momentum in whatever it is that you are doing? Do things work better when you have momentum? How do you get momentum? And then how do you maintain it? These are some of the questions I’d like to deal with today.
My wife is reading Robert Fritz’s book “Taking the Path of Least Resistance” and when I saw the title I thought that’s a “moving away from something I don’t want” approach. Wondering how I could reframe that into something more akin to “moving towards something I do want” I came to the word Momentum. Hmmm, that’s a great blog topic. So here goes…
What’s Your Perspective?
I’m reminded of a story I once heard where a long time ago in the USA, hillbillies Jim and Martha came down to the town to witness the first steam train going through that town. They arrived to see this steaming, snorting monster sitting at the railway station and Jim said: “they’ll never get that monstrous thing moving, Martha”. Sure enough after much puffing and grunting and even some wheel spin, the juggernaut started to slowly move forward. After a while it picked up speed and moved confidently out of the station and as they watched it gather momentum and move into the distance Jim said in awe: “they’ll never get it to stop….”. Momentum. Once you get going it’s hard to stop, isn’t it?
And What Does Momentum Mean To You?
I found these definitions of momentum:
- Momentum refers to moving things. It is a product of the mass of an object and its velocity. Mōmentum is not merely the motion, but the power residing in a moving object.
- Science of everyday things writes: “It might be tempting to confuse momentum with another physical concept, inertia. Inertia, as defined by the second law of motion, is the tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, and of an object at rest to remain at rest. Momentum, by definition, involves a body in motion, and can be defined as the tendency of a body in motion to continue moving at a constant velocity.”
I will come back to aspects of those.
Is Your Vehicle Stationary, Or Moving?
I am known to use the phrase: “you can’t direct a stationary vehicle”. For it to be directed, it has to be moving. Have you ever tried to turn the steering wheel of a stationary car with the engine turned off, or you might remember having to do that before cars had power steering? Hard to do, wasn’t it? However, once it was moving, it was quite easy. I think that’s a great metaphor when dealing with momentum, but also in dealing with procrastination.
We have just started another fiscal year in Australia, which means we reflected on the year that was, drew our learnings and conclusions from it and probably set some new goals and budgets to strive for in the year ahead, right?
Goals – The Pre-requisite For Momentum
I believe that goals are a pre-requisite for momentum. How can you shoot for something if you don’t know what it is or haven’t defined it? In my goals trilogy it is suggested that being without goals is like being a yacht on the ocean without a rudder – directionless; at the mercy of the wind and the tides. Add a tiller and it’s a whole new set of rules, opportunities and outcomes, isn’t it? You can direct it to where you want to go. You have direction. Your movement is then serving a purpose.
Goals not only give direction: they also give purpose.
Once goals are set, everything that you do towards their achievement is building momentum.
Keeping it sharp
Traditionally a lot of businesses “wind down” – even close down over the festive season period for everyone to get a rest. Winding down could suggest a loss of momentum, couldn’t it? Ironically, I believe that this “Festive Season” period is a great time to reflect and to plan forward and the rest and recreation it offers is actually a great momentum sharpening tool, so that when we return to work, we are charged up and ready to run like in my blog Sharpening Your Axe.
I believe in setting and sticking to a Rhythm in our life and work. The seasons are there for a reason so that we can adjust to them. We can’t always be “flat out”. However, there are specific times when we need to “give something our all” so that we set certain things in motion, or when we need to drive something to its conclusion, often to a deadline.
That has certainly been my experience. Building a new business from scratch is a great example of the above playing out. We start off with much planning and preparation and also much enthusiasm and expectation. With unfamiliarity, the newness and the excitement of whether and how well it will work out. And with the first orders comes hope and encouragement. And as we learn how to adjust our marketing efforts we realize what works and what doesn’t and why. We might track to plan and we might encounter some obstacles. The GFC was certainly one of those obstacles for a lot of small (and even big) businesses. Those with sufficient momentum and belief used that time to invest in their business. I know I developed a bunch of IP (Intellectual Property) and I invested in myself, so that when things picked up again we were in a position to “lay some golden eggs”. And then things started to move forward.
What changed? I don’t know and I am not asking too many questions but we started to gather momentum. The number of inquiries grew. The number of referrals grew. The number of clients grew. The revenue grew. We had to start adjusting capacity. We had momentum. Success feeds on success. It is a pre-requisite for momentum. And it creates momentum. And it results in more momentum. What a wonderful recurring circle.
As the definition suggests above:” Momentum is the tendency of a body in motion to continue moving at a constant velocity.” Which implies that when we’ve got it, we usually keep it, provided we keep doing the right things.
And so it is with most initiatives. We set a goal or a target or budget and put plans and preparation in place to get things done. We start doing them, and we use KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to help us monitor and measure their progress against the plan. In order to maintain the momentum we have built, we use these results to help us fine tune activities to keep them on track so we achieve the outcomes we seek.
We Know This Works At Work But What About Home?
This is natural for most of us in our work or business context. How is that in your personal or domestic life? Is it something you do as naturally or as well as you do at work? Most of us don’t, do we? Amazing, but very often true.
Yet all we need to do is emulate what we believe and do at work all the time for ourselves at home. Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? I know strangely that it isn’t, given how much time we coaches spend helping our clients make this work for themselves.
It’s quite amazing when you have momentum how all the toils and obstacles are forgotten and we concentrate on managing a vehicle in motion. Ive often used the metaphor that “when a dog is in the hunt, it has no time for fleas. But isn’t it amazing what fleas we can come up with when we aren’t in the hunt”?
Directing it and maintaining its momentum as is said in the definition: “the tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion.” And the faster it moves, the harder it is to stop.Yessss! Can you feel the energy that generates?
The same applied to our residential property investment portfolio. We believed in the long term benefits of exponential compounded growth and started on an investment journey with hope and faith. Boy, when that capital growth kicks in exponentially it sure gathers momentum that builds upon itself without much further having to be done to keep it there.
But it needed to be started first. Momentum followed. And so we remind ourselves of the Law of Attraction and Goethe’s “Until one is committed…” poem that we need to have Beliefs and Trusting Oneself that it was worth starting in the first place and that momentum would follow and then lead to successful outcomes.
Please don’t underestimate the power that resides in a moving object, in your momentum. Whilst it may not be visible, it is certainly “tap-able”.
So if you reflect on the year just ended, how have you gone? Did you have some personal goals to start with? How did you go with them? Did you start and then give up? Or did you persevere until you gathered enough momentum to keep them going? What did you learn from the process?
And what are you going to do for the year ahead? Will you set some goals, plans and budgets and start to build some inertia towards their achievement? If your looking back on this year was a little disappointing, are you going to arrive at this time next year with the same disappointment? Or are you going to learn from that and set some goals, not just at work but in your own personal life as well? And then start working towards them and who knows, before long you might well have developed some momentum.
What if that achieved some results that started with a drip, followed by a trickle and then developed into a flood? And what if you chose to engage a coach that would hold you accountable so that you made a commitment and then couldn’t “cop out”?
What if you went to my website to Contact Me and we held that free exploratory conversation that showed you what you can expect? What if you could?