img_0100

Having a good process, embedded with effective habits, isn’t everything. But it sure makes most things more consistent, fruitful, and satisfying.

Seth Godin’s newest book, The Practice, emphasizes the importance of focusing on process when doing creative work–and obsessing far less on particular outcomes. You can usually control being intentional about a process, but specific outcomes are seldom guaranteed. Sketch out desired goals, for sure, but strong, sustainable results are rarely disconnected from great habits.

In Is This Anything? Jerry Seinfeld’s recent book, the legendary comedian also emphasizes the importance of commitment to a process. Seinfeld’s 45-plus-year, non-negotiable commitment to a daily hour of writing is just one “secret” to his prolific career.

I’ve found this to be true on multiple fronts, especially regarding my professional work and creative writing. But a process-driven approach has also proven invaluable to me regarding nutrition and exercise; practicing mindfulness; emotional healing; getting and staying organized; and learning in general.

A caution: No process is ever finished, perfect, or irreplaceable. Like most things in life, it calls for a firm but flexible grip. Everything is constantly changing amid an impermanent universe, and processes are no exception.

You’ll know you’re in a season of good processes and habits when you can’t wait to do a certain activity, lose track of time during said activity, and produce those proverbial results more often than not on your way towards mastery.

Those are seasons deserving of your gratitude. They are even sacred gifts amid the mundane. Cherish them and learn from them, as you continue to evolve healthy processes and habits across a lifetime.

John M. DeMarco is a writer, executive coach, and activist based in Nashville, Tennessee.