February 24, 2022

What might sound like a wartime rallying cry is a simple mantra I use.

We fight for each step of progress through the problems we solve and conflicts we handle. Chaos and resistance are powerful forces, eager to set us back, forcing us to start over.

I remind myself of the progress. Even as I make changes, I work to preserve the gains. I cannot afford to give up the ground I gained. This is true for anything, not just work.

Progress reveals pathway

If you take directed action in pursuit of value, then each step forward marks progress.

Progress reveals pathway.

Each Best Next Step starts with an intention to direct action. The result of directed action is experience and insight. Reflection helps figure out the Best Next Step. The cycle continues.

Why would you give up these gains?

Changing course is not giving up the gains

Here’s the thing; the more we learn about our situation, our work, and our pathway, the more likely we’ll need to make a subtle shift, completely change course, or even need to stop.

Our penchant for sunk costs sometimes impedes making the change, setting up the loss of what we fought to gain.

Giving up the gains is giving in – so don’t give in

We give up the gains when the Tyranny of the Urgent or Unholy Trinity of chaos, friction, and resistance beat us down. As friction builds, it erodes value, destroys trust, and burns people out. As our projects grind to a halt, everything gets more complex, costs more, and takes longer.

Sometimes, without realizing it, we give up the gains.

Our goal — our need — is growth. We need to continue to solve problems and make progress.

Resist the temptation to make excuses and lay blame elsewhere.

Accept that sometimes progress is slow, and that’s okay. Just don’t give up what you worked for!

Keep taking your best next step.

You got this.

About the Author Michael Santarcangelo

The founder of Security Catalyst, Michael develops exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success.

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