James Clear has two quotes on making progress that I absolutely love. I see both as deeply connected and think you’ll find them super useful.
The first quote applies strictly to progress. He says we need the confidence to step forward combined with the self-awareness to accept and understand where we were and where we end up. Repeating this cycle turns into growth. In his words,
The challenge for anyone interested in making progress is to simultaneously have (1) the confidence to go after what you want and (2) the humility to accept who you are right now and (3) the willingness to build skills that bridge the gap between 1 and 2.
Once we mentally are prepared for progress, we also want to assess where we are relative to others in our area of choice. Clear breaks these down into beginner, intermediate, and expert levels to help us understand where to put our focus.
Where to focus:
For the beginner, execution.
For the intermediate, strategy.
For the expert, mindset.
Beginners want to become intermediates and intermediates want to become experts. Beginners start with basics and get their daily activities down. Intermediates focus on a plan with goals and objectives. Experts get philosophical and look for how to dream bigger and execute more efficiently. Beginners can dream big too, but they still need to focus on daily steps. Likewise for intermediates and their strategies. There are levels.
If we know where we are starting from, it’s a lot easier to think about how we’ll progress to where we want to go. If we know what level we’re at (beginner, intermediate, or expert), we’ll know how to not jump too far ahead of what we’re ready for. The same is true for helping others achieve what they want to achieve too.
Progress is about ratcheting forward by assessing, stepping, reassessing, and repeating. We have to be self-aware. We have to be confident. We have to keep at it.
Asses, step, reassess, repeat.