The 20 Mile March

South PoleYou have a vision, a goal. You want to accomplish it. More than that, you need to accomplish it.

Every time you start your journey, you get hit by a setback. You need to move forward but you do not know how.

You need a 20 mile march in your life.

This is a term I first heard coined by Jim Collins, the author of Good To Great and Great By Choice.

In Great By Choice, Collins refers to the adventure Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott set out upon. The adventure was to be the first person to reach the South Pole.

Both, Amundsen and Scott, set out at the same time. Only one group of explorers returned.

Robert Falcon Scott was said to have let the weather decide when they should move. Some days they would push great distances, others they would not move at all. In the end, it is believed that this is what caused the death of his whole expedition team.

Roald Amundsen, on the other hand, had a plan. Roald planned to go 20 miles every day. No matter the weather or how the team felt, they were to go the 20 miles. Roald Amundsen returned with all men in his expedition team alive.

 I may say that this is the greatest factor—the way in which the expedition is equipped—the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.
— from The South Pole, by Roald Amundsen

This is where the principle of the 20 mile march originates. Staying focused and being consistent every day.

For you, the 20 mile march will not be literal. It will be metaphorical. The 20 mile march will be a goal you have set for yourself.

Your 20 mile march may be:

  • Writing 1,000 words a day for your next book
  • Calling 20 prospective donors a day
  • Praying for 20 students a day
  • Sending your book proposal to 20 companies a day
  • Reading 20 pages a day

Regardless of what your march is, it is important that it is consistent.

When you break the consistency, you make the following days more stressful. You need to play catchup. You have to push harder than before. You have to beware of falling further behind.

To take your leadership to the next level, you must learn and implement this principle.

When your path looks scary, go the 20 miles.

When you are tired, go the 20 miles.

When you want to turn back, go the 20 miles.

If you do not have a 20 mile march, I urge you to create one. Having a 20 mile march will help you focus on the goal and what needs to be accomplished. Every day you will be able to check the box complete, allowing you to move to the next 20 miles.

You may be asking what my 20 mile march is. Let me tell you.

It is to have a post ready to publish Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I also write every night Monday through Friday.

By doing this, I create consistency. I know when I need to be writing, I know when I need to have a blog post ready, and knowing I am supposed to write everyday encourages me to do it.

Question: What is your 20 mile march? How has it impacted your life? Please share your answer in the comment section below.

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