Effort or Results?

“The amateur focuses on outcomes and expects immediate results. The professional plays the long game and prioritizes the process, perfecting it for years with no immediate payoff.” ~ Ozan Varol

The Process

“We decided to use the approach that we’re not going to focus on the outcome. We were just going to focus on the process of what it took to play the best football you could play, which was to focus on that particular play as if it had a history and life of its own. Don’t look at the scoreboard, don’t look at any external factors, just all your focus and all your concentration, all your effort, all your toughness, all your discipline to execute went into that particular play. Regardless of what happened on that play, success or failure, you would move on to the next play and have the same focus to do that on the next play, and you’d then do that for 60 minutes in a game and then you’d be able to live with the results regardless of what those results were.” ~ Nick Saban [Elmasry]

Nick Saban is considered by many people to be the most successful coach in college football. He has a lifetime record of 218 wins, 62 losses (and 1 tie). He is tied with the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant for most NCAA championships. [Wikipedia] Saban credits much of his success to the fact that he and his teams follow what he calls “The Process.”

Performance or Outcome?

“Instead of setting goals and focusing on them, ask: What’s the process that might get me to this goal? Then obsessively focus on the process and forget about the goal. The results will surprise you.” ~ Ozan Varol

Saban’s “Process” focuses on preparation and concentrating on the task at hand . . . and performing that task as flawlessly as possible. Instead of striving for the goal to “win the NCAA championship”, Saban and his team break that down into small, easy to accomplish, steps. To win the NCAA championship, you must first win your division. To win your division, you must get to the playoffs. To get to the playoffs, you must win games. To win a game, you must give “all your focus and all your concentration, all your effort, all your toughness, all your discipline to execute” to each play. And once that play is over, “move on to the next play and have the same focus to do that on the next play”.

Performance AND Outcome

Notice that Saban’s teams have an outcome goal — to win the NCAA championship. However, that goal is a destination; where they want to end up. They don’t focus on the destination. His team concentrates on The Process, which is a performance goal. Performance goals measure the activities you take to reach an end result. Outcome goals measure results only.

You have little or no control over outcomes. But you can break a desired destination into the steps you must perform that will likely lead to a successful outcome.

Performance goals are measurable, so you know what you must do and you know when you’ve done it. This leads to a greater sense of internal control and improved self-confidence. Additionally, while you may not achieve the desired outcome, you can feel successful at having met the performance goals.

Focus on effort, not results.

It boils down to this:

Results: not in our control.
Effort: completely in our control.

You start with an outcome goal. Let’s say you want to lose 25 pounds. You only achieve the goal when the scale shows you are 25 pounds lighter than when you started. You have no direct control over this result.

But you can set performance goals. Update your environment to remove the junk food and replace it with healthy snacks. Add more activity to your day. Modify your diet, a little at time, to replace the burgers and pizza and processed food-like substances with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.

Your performance goals are small wins on the way to the larger outcome-based goal of weight loss. And these are completely under your control.

The TBEAR Model

Let’s review the TBEAR model. The model illustrates how you can influence results, even though you can’t control them, by paying attention to what you can control.

The TBEAR model says: Thoughts –> Beliefs –> Emotions / Expectations –> Actions –> Results

To put the model into words, your results come from the actions you take; the actions you take are based on your expectations; your expectations are a result of your beliefs; and your beliefs are influenced by your thoughts. So, thoughts result in beliefs, beliefs result in emotions and expectations, expectations result in actions, and actions result in, well, results.

Decide what results you want, then work backwards through the TBEAR model. What actions are you doing (or not doing) that have given you the results you currently have? What are your expectations that guide (or limit) your actions? What beliefs do you have that influence your expectations? And what thoughts are you thinking that have given rise to your beliefs?

Right thought, right beliefs, right expectations and right actions lead to the results you desire . . . most of the time. But not always – you can’t control the results, remember? Still you can follow the process and achieve your performance goals.

Action Steps

1. Set your outcome goal. What do you ultimately want to be, do, or have?

2. Work the Process. Break the ultimate outcome down into ever smaller steps. If your goal is to write a book, you can write a specific number of words each day. If your goal is to compete in a triathlon, your process is your daily work out. If your goal is to lose 25 pounds, set small performance goals for changing your diet and adding activity each day.

3. Decide how to transform your small steps into mini-habits. Start so small – “stupid small” — that you will do the steps every day. As the practice starts to become a habit, gradually increase the reps or the effort. Do this slowly — consistency is key. Don’t select an action that looks good, but which you won’t do.

4. Start your 1st step. Today. Repeat tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. It isn’t lack of knowing that keeps you from your ultimate goal . . . it’s lack of doing.

The Keys: Effort and Process

Efforts or results? Process or outcomes? To achieve your desired outcomes and to experience the results you want, focus on the process and on your efforts. You can’t control outcomes; you can control your efforts by focusing on the process. Be effort driven; be process driven . . . be ALIVE! That is embracing the Excelerated Life!

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Excelerated accomplishment — achieving meaningful objectives — is one step in creating your Excelerated life, a life of well-being, meaning, and purpose.


Elmasry, Talal. “Alabama coach Nick Saban explains ‘The Process’ and its birth.” www.seccountry.com. Cox Media Group,,. Web. 26 June 2018. <https://www.seccountry.com/alabama/alabama-coach-nick-saban-explains-process-and-where-it-all-started>

Varol, Ozan. “4 Reasons Why You Should Stop Setting Goals (and Focus on Process, Instead).” heleo.com. heleo.com, 9 Feb. 2018. Web. 25 June 2018. <https://heleo.com/4-reasons-stop-setting-goals-focus-process-instead/17791/?utm_source=newsletter_the_lift&utm_campaign=02_12_18>

“Nick Saban.” en.wikipedia.org. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 13 June 2018. Web. June 26 2018. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Saban>

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