What is the Slight Edge anyway?
You don’t have to be cool like The Fonz to have it. It’s not some magical ability to bump a jukebox with your fist and get the right song to play. And you don’t have to have the “it factor” that Angelina Jolie has. It’s not having thousands of people in awe of every move you make. And you certainly don’t even have to possess that special charm Ryan Gosling has with the ladies. Really, it’s not about the 6-pack abs (though they are quite nice.) While these guys all might have the slight edge, it’s not really about any of that.
The slight edge is a philosophy, a way of perceiving the true impact of our actions. It’s the knowledge that success doesn’t miraculously appear out of nowhere but instead it comes after continuous, repeated efforts. It’s the idea that the little, simple actions that you take on a daily basis will compound over time and eventually lead you to success. It’s choosing a small simple action that is easy to do but that might not create an immediate result. And because of the lack of immediate result, it also makes it easy not to do. But the slight edge is doing it, even when it doesn’t create instant measurable results. It’s the constant follow-through with the small tasks that eventually builds up and leads us to where we want to go. And if we choose not to do the right small tasks, it leads us to where we don’t want to go. It’s taking responsibility for yourself. It’s willing to take certain risks. It’s willing to fail. It’s not only willing to fail, but also willing to learn from your failures.
It’s showing up day after day and doing the right things that move you in the direction you want to go.
I started reading The Slight Edge a few weeks ago. It helped me frame how I arrived at today. This book explained some of the principles I had discovered for myself but didn’t recognize. It brought light to the importance of valuing what we do everyday in order to live our best (or worst) lives. In one book, I was able to truly understand how and why I was able to change my career.
I’ve heard from many of you how lucky I am to have “gotten out.” And I’ve tried to emphasize that it wasn’t luck and that it didn’t happen overnight. It took 10 years of planting seeds. It took 3 of those 10 years of taking small steps everyday (or at least every week) to get me to this point. It may seem like it happened miraculously for me, but that’s because you didn’t read about it until already happened. You didn’t get to see the small things I did along the way that seemed to move me nowhere over the years. You didn’t see the hopelessness I felt when it didn’t seem that my efforts were getting me anywhere. You also didn’t see that my desire to change was much stronger than any hopelessness I ever felt. Heck, I didn’t see it at the time. It wasn’t until I saw results, that I realized that all the work I had done led to this one moment. That is the slight edge.
It’s not the huge edge. It’s the slight edge.
I was taken by this book because it so perfectly articulated what I’ve been through and hoped to share with you. This didn’t happen in an instant for me. It wasn’t easy to get here, but if I break down everything I did to make the change; it was doable, and it was worth it! It took days and months and even years of soul-searching. It took experimenting with different job ideas. I tried things that were so wrong for me, but I tried them, and I found out. It was taking small “risks” that had no consequences and no rewards. It was trying new things that seemed impossible or scary to me regardless of the immediate outcome. Setting my intention and finding small ways to follow through set change in motion for me.
Why do I say all of this? As you may know, this blog that started out as a vehicle to get me out of my career has become a vehicle to inspire you to make a move to create the positive changes you seek in your lives. You don’t have to be someone “special.” You don’t have to have the “it factor.” You just have to have the desire and the drive to show up everyday. So get this book. It’s an easy read, and it could just be the easy task you need to do to get the ball rolling.