When I was in school at Harvard, I took a class from the late, brilliant Stephen Jay Gould, a paleontologist and big baseball fan (the latter is what helped me understand any of his examples).

He spoke and wrote often of our preoccupation with otherwise meaningless numbers. For instance, 3,000 hits in baseball, which is arguably no more meaningful than 2,999 or 3,001, but we love those round numbers.

One of those round numbers is the start of a new year. After all, January 1 is no better time to make improvements than the prior December 1, and is arguably 31 days worse. In any event, people love January 1. Nothing wrong with that.

Michael Formica of the US Army and Nathan Whitaker discuss leadership at Joint Base Langley-Eustis

In any event, I’ve been thinking on this concept this week as so many are focused on the start of 2024 and their goals and dreams for a new year. Me, too. But I’m reminded that the process should remain our focus.

I spoke last week at the 80th American Baseball Coaches Association Conference, and one of my points was that all we can control is how we do what we do. As much as we’d like, we can’t control the outcome.And yet, I returned home to find myself with my thoughts wrapped around outcomes:

I wish I communicated better with my wife.

I wish my schedule didn’t have so many gaps in August. 

I wish the books I’m working on were done already.

And so I’ve had to remind myself of what I’d said just four days ago from the main stage to 7,600 coaches in attendance: 

I can only control what I do each day. And how I do it.

As a result, I’ve spent part of this week revisiting my process. I’m currently writing this while sitting at a coffee shop instead of my office to see if an occasional change of scenery helps my focus. Plus I’m trying a new timing/focus app. And being more intentional about setting aside time to do things as a couple.

How about you? Everything clicking along perfectly? Great. Any room for improvement? Probably. Maybe you also want to take a look at your processes. Experiment a little. Give it some time, and see where those processes lead you. 

You can always revisit them again in a month or two…or in 37 days. There’s no magic formula (or number). 

Have a great day!

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