Effort Doesn't Matter if Love is Left Behind


noun: a vigorous or determined attempt.

Emphasis on attempt.

Attempting is in the same genre as trying. And as any film-watching person alive in the last 30 years has heard, from somebody quoting the little green man or Yoda himself,

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

In trying we detach ourselves from being fully present with what we’re doing. We’re not sure of the outcome, much less our ability to realize what we desire the outcome to be, so we detach. It’s safer that way.

If we’re just trying then failing doesn’t hurt so much. We were just trying, after all.

But by staying in the safe zone by avoiding commitment and sidestepping responsibility, we leave our essential selves outside the process.

Without a little soul in the action mix, we’re not actually present. And without being present we’re missing the super juice that makes things go. That’s like pushing your to where you want to go instead of using the gasoline to get you there. Not smart.

That’s where love comes in.


verb: to appreciate, to delight in, to have a friendliness toward.

I bet there’s been at least one time that you felt aligned with and filled up by a project or work. It’s that feeling of flow. The experience of losing track of time and wanting to continue because you’re enjoying it so much.

That’s work with the juice added in.

When love and delight are mixing it up with effort you get something far more than trying.Now you’re doing. (tweet me)

That’s what love does.

An example:
A friend of mine in his mid-30’s decided to return to skateboarding after taking a couple of decades off. His goal was to carve up the local skate park’s bowl like a badass pro – or at least like a cool, competent middle aged guy.

The first few times he brought his skateboard to the lip of the bowl and looked over he hesitated, and then jumped in to begin from the bottom, in safety, as other beginners did.

He did this for a few months, building up his skills and his confidence.  It was the wise thing to do. But after a while he knew he was just trying at skateboarding. He was having fun but he wasn’t exactly friendly with his efforts. He got stuck in grit, frustration, self-doubt and determination. He wanted to take it to the next level but he was doing it the Fred Flintstone way and forgetting to put his fuel in the tank.

Then, one day, a guy saunters up to him and says, “You just gotta commit, dude. Fully commit. You do that and you’ll be alright.”

And, like Yoda, that’s all he said and shifted away.

Young Luke heard the message: Do not try, do. So he put his board on the lip of the bowl, committed with all his heart and leaned in.

He flew across the bowl like he was 17 again. His heart pounding, his hair flying. He probably didn’t look like the badass pro (probably more like a freaked out middle aged dude), but he did it. He didn’t try. He did.

Afterwards, he told me this story and he was all gleaming eyes and opened heart. Gone was the frustrated crinkle in his brow when he talked about skateboarding. The love for what he was doing was shine up his face.

“Were you scared?” I asked?

“Hell yes,” he said.

But he did it. He wasn’t tip toeing around and half-assing his way along. He wasn’t making excuses for what he didn’t do because he was just trying. He did it.

The result of fully committing, of opening to the love of effort, is getting that gleam and glow in what you do. It makes anything – everything – worthwhile.  Falling, stumbling, even looking like a crazed middle aged dude.

When we lead with effort and love we open ourselves to the adventure, not just the slog up the mountainside. (tw)

So you have the choice: Lead with effort and keep trying, or set yourself up with love and go where the adventure takes you. (tw)

(Choose the latter. It’s so worth it.)