This feel-good personal growth phrase can send a message of comfort when it means the opposite.
The personal growth movement is full of cliché phrases to make us feel better about not getting where we want to be when we think otherwise. There’s truth to most of them, but they get twisted to paint a rosy picture of only good feelings to sell more books or get more YouTube views.
“Trust the process” is one such phrase. First, how do we know what the process for success in what we pursue entails? Everyone has unique talents, skills, and abilities. We all have ideas about how long it should take to reach our goals and that we only need to suffer so much. That’s a very arrogant concept. Once we hit too many setbacks, the process isn’t working, or we aren’t meant to do this.
People who have an easy process to reach success are the exception. We all want to have that easy path. Setbacks and obstacles aren’t fun for most people. No one wants to stall or lose the ground they gained on their journey. Significant accomplishments always require pain, hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. Nothing great is given to us.
Trusting the process is meant to suck. Embrace it, because you can’t escape the work. Embrace the suck! It's humorous, but an accurate phrase. Everything in life and nature is set up to hinder our process until we learn to adjust.
There’s truth to most of them, but they get twisted to paint a rosy picture of only good feelings to sell more books or get more YouTube views.
I challenge you to think of a successful person who didn’t have a painful process for success. Steve Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985. That wasn’t a pleasant part of the process on the road to ending up running one of the most successful companies in the world.
Think about the process it takes for the average person to run a marathon. That process consists of significant breakthroughs to celebrate, but most of it involves a lot of pain. Unless if you enjoy shin splints, sore knees, and losing toenails, that’s not an easy process to trust.
One of my goals is competing in an amateur boxing match by the time I hit 40. I have a couple of years left, but time isn’t slowing down. I have a long way to go with developing my skills and toughening my mindset. Injuries that slow you down or stop you in your tracks are the rule. They don’t even have to be significant, but still can stop you.
Everything in life and nature is set up to hinder our process until we learn to adjust.
I spent four rounds in the ring last Thursday during the group class and I’m still sore from it on Sunday. It’s a humbling experience to get outmatched with everyone watching. The worst thing you can do is take a break when the going gets tough, or worse, quit. You earn more respect in that situation when you push through than when you win. It’s not an easy process, but everyone who competes went through the same rough experiences.
What’s your process you are putting yourself through right now? I bet you thought it would be easier and you would be further along than you are. Are there more setbacks and obstacles than you expected? How are you reacting to those events? It’s easier for us to underestimate the process than trust it. Remember, the process will almost always be longer and tougher than we expected, but we still need to trust it.