Systems in Practice: Mikaela Shiffrin

103179269_48ae3c8599_nSo I’ve talked about James Clear’s article on Entrepreneur and why focusing on the process instead of the outcome is important, even when you’re searching for jobs. Now, let’s look at this approach in practice.

Meet Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18 year old who is the gold medal favorite for the Slalom and Giant Slalom in next month’s winter Olympics. This New York Times article sums up her ascent very nicely. It’s also packed with great quotes that support the systems over goals approach like:

The message, the Shiffrins insist, is that their approach, which stressed skill development and shunned goal setting, and always involved the family, has been the secret.

And from Mikaela herself…

“I will want to win. But the result of the race will not motivate me. I can honestly say that I am motivated by improvement, not results. That’s a core principle.”

Seriously, I don’t think I could fabricate quotes that get more directly at what I’m trying to say.

Even the article’s title – Mikaela Shiffrin’s Swift, if Unplanned, Ascent to World Champion – shows the implicit success of a strong system. The Shriffins didn’t plan to build a world champion. It was the process that made Mikaela who she is today, not some end goal of becoming “the best.”

My point? When we talk about systems over goals, we’re talking about an approach that works on all levels. Clear discusses how it works for writing and simply working out and Mikaela’s story shows how it works to build a world-class athlete. So, when We say that you should start with a system rather than a goal, even for a process as goal oriented as the job search, we mean it.

So go ahead; build a system and succeed.

(Photo by Photo Monkey, Creative Commons)

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