Chopping Wood, Carrying Water, and Showing Up

I have a great deal of admiration for Seth Godin, I’ve read many, but not all, of his books and have followed his blog for several years. Recently Dave Ramsey interviewed Seth as part of the EntreLeadership Podcast. He spoke with Dave about his work, marketing in today’s digital world, and small business.

Here’s a sample of their conversation that I found insightful.

“I just passed my 5,000th-blog post. I’ve been doing it every day for more than 10 years. It’s been a real testament to the power of dripping. We’re all so focused on the grand opening or the sign that says, “Under new management.” We are all so focused on how to make this list or that list or that number when we launch something. But what I found is discipline is showing up every single day with the most relevant, interesting and generous thing I can think of. It adds up. There is not one post I’ve done that changed everything for me, or anyone. But I like to think that over time, the practice of chopping wood, carrying water, and showing up has changed me and has changed a lot of people who subscribe.”

Throughout my career the one thing that created the greatest success has been consistency, or as Seth Godin describes it, the practice of chopping wood, carrying water, and showing up every day.

Entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn is credited for saying;

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment.”

In whatever you do, to find success you must choose the pain of discipline the daily effort of chopping wood, carrying water, and showing up.

It’s easy to be somewhere and not really show up. Our bodies are there, but our minds are elsewhere, we go through the motions, we do just enough so that we don’t feel guilty. We are a culture ever in pursuit of the to-do list check mark but so often we rarely accomplish much of value or substance.

In my own experience, I learned and am continually learning that choosing my passion means stepping outside my comfort zone and choosing the pain of discipline. If I truly want to achieve real growth or some measure of success in my personal and professional life, it has to become more important than the distractions that provide no lasting value and make success my obsession.

If I want to find real growth as a business leader, a marketing professional, a husband and father or as a human being I have to find consistency. Real growth doesn’t come from a single push of effort it comes from daily, sustained and consistent effort.