It's all about the journey.
After carefully curating my Instagram feed to get rid of most of the moonboarding videos, I've been left with hundreds of posts every day that are trying to sell me the same message. "It's the process that's important." "It's not about success and failure, it's only about days out with friends." "Sending doesn't matter because I do it all for the journey."
The journey, the journey, the journey.
Their journey is missing a valuable piece. The send.
We talk a lot around here about how important it is to place value on the process - on the podcast, with our clients, and during our workshops with other coaches, climbers, and parents. We believe that. The process IS important. But we also want to send. Denying that is making an excuse for never actually putting yourself on the line.
Why is that we try to assign value to the goal setting, the training, the work put in to learn the moves and subtleties of each sequence, the scheduling to get to the project, the communication with our partners, battling the jitters we get while tying in - but when we fail, we try to pretend it doesn't matter?
Be honest with yourself. Of course it fucking matters.
We're all trying to improve. Success on a climb is part of that improvement. It's a marker on your journey. If you miss all the markers, you're on the wrong path.
But how do we do this? How can we reconcile caring about the outcome with focusing on the process? My friend Trevor Ragan from Train Ugly says that we have to take outcomes seriously - not personally. In our conversation on the podcast, Trevor discusses how scientists view the always moving target of improvement. "They know the outcome is a reflection of the process - not of them as a person", he says. If we look at our sends or failures in the way that a scientist might, it becomes much easier to understand.
If We Fail: Something went wrong in the process. Be clear here - not every process is a good one. Let's make some changes and try to find what is going wrong.
If We Send: Something about the process went right. Let's retest with another goal, try to pin down what we're doing well, and refine it.
Arno Ilgner of The Warriors Way, in Episode 17 of our podcast, defined Process Based Motivation as "Learning based. What do I need to LEARN so that I can achieve that end goal?" Arno obviously cares about the outcome, but he also doesn't take the outcome personally. He sees it as a test of sorts. If we don't 'pass the test', so to speak, it's because something in the process is holding us back.
We're humans. Failure hurts. Pretending it doesn't is a lie. We understand that we NEED those failures in order to continue learning. It's the same with success. We NEED those sends not only to keep us afloat, but also to LEARN what it is that we're doing right.
If you're one of those people on my Instagram feed who never seems to send anything, ask yourself why that is. Something in your process - your journey - is going wrong. Maybe your goals are set too high for now and you need a smaller, intermediate "checkpoint". Maybe you're skipping over the important small lessons along the way and jumping straight to failure at the big goal. Take a closer look at the missing piece of your journey.
The same goes for those climbers who send everything they try. Are you pushing hard enough? Are you ever really putting yourself on the line? There is much to be learned from failure, so you may be depriving yourself of valuable lessons.