I hope you understand by now that I’m not one of those people who say you just need more discipline and persistence. We can’t sustain change based on that sort of motivation. We need to play a game that is well designed and follow a process that is inherently motivational.

Our game, or journey, must have clear markers of progress so that we know when to celebrate or reorient our efforts. It must have “just enough” challenge, so that it’s interesting and hard work without being overwhelmingly difficult. Our goals must be clear and able to be broken down into tiny chunks that make up our day-to-day activities.

This is why most change efforts fail, both organizational and personal. They have to be designed, like martial arts, like boy scouts and girl guides, to be inherently motivating. That’s why it’s up to you to design your own black belt journey. You’re the only one who can make the rules that suit you.

Set the big goal. Break it down into achievable chunks. Understand how you can achieve each mini goal. At each point ask yourself, what new skills, new knowledge and people do I need around me to achieve this. Set the level of challenge at each belt so that it can be attained.

Expect to be challenged!

Only then will you be playing a game that is designed, by you, to be won. And only then will your efforts stack up, one on top of another to reach your black belt in excellence.

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