Momentum Begets Momentum

One of the most powerful principles of growth (and of life) is the very simple idea that momentum gives birth to even more momentum.

In other words, as things start moving and as you begin to build velocity and speed in a certain direction then an inevitable possibility is that it starts to snowball and you continue to gain more speed and more velocity as time progresses forward.

I have found this principle to be quite useful when building projects and companies because it is more than just a simple perspective an opinion. I believe that you can tangibly influence and grow it explicitly.

You see, as you add the right ingredients to move things forward you pick up a ton of speed and the momentum that you’ve built so far creates even more directionally-relevant momentum.

This is also true of one’s overall career trajectory. As you build momentum and speed in one direction you gain traction and experience and put together more robust and useful components to further your career growth.

This is also true of one’s relationships as well. As you invest in them wisely and well they begin to mature and go deeper and wider.

You also begin to experience the nuance that long-standing relationships have and you gain access to insights and important interactions that can only be earned over time.

As you and I both well know, its the nuance-y type of things that really add the flavor and coloring to beautiful relationships. There are too many examples to name or list.

Build the speed and momentum required to take off.

But to do any of these things effectively requires, as I mentioned, the “right” ingredients. I believe that the right ingredients to build any momentum of any particular worth are two very simple things:

  1. The Right People
  2. Explicit and Intentional Focus

Any project or company or career is built upon healthy, dynamic, and growing relationships. In fact, all of life can be summarized through relationships and their relative quality or utter dysfunction.

In fact, our very lives are understood by and through relationships. Our days are qualified as to whether or not we’ve gotten along with the folks that we care about and the folks that we engage with.

Our very moods are swung (sometimes violently) in different directions based on how our relationships are being managed and their relative health. “Good” days are categorized through a day of positive communication and empathy and understanding while “bad” days are calculated through all the malfunctions that might occur.

We go to bed thinking about our relationships and what can make them better or we go to be thinking about how lovely the day was because of how functional and enjoyable the encounters have been.

We need folks who care and challenge us.

Regardless, building momentum for most aspects of our life require healthy, functional, and growing relationships with people that care and challenge us. If you were to honestly assess the active relationships that you have right now you would find that many of them may do the former but very few actually do the latter.

That is to say that there are folks that care about you but who will not, for whatever reason, push you to become a better version of yourself. They’ll provide the support that you need, the hugs and encouragement at the right time, but they do not necessarily have a greater vision for what you can do and who you can become.

This isn’t to say that they aren’t welcome additions to your relational network but there is a ceiling to how far they can help you achieve growing momentum. Some relationships, unfortunately, are fundamentally designed to hold us back. Some are toxic.

Secondly, you need focus to build growing momentum because focus allows you to head in better and more targeted directions. I purposely refrained from using the word “right” (i.e. the “right direction) because who honestly knows what is ultimately “right” at any given time.

But, I think we all know what it’s like to be pulled in a variety of different directions at the same time and no one gets anywhere significant when they are constantly pulled in multiple directions.

How can you possibly head anywhere, for that matter, if you’ve diluted your efforts so much to the point of standing still? Focus allows you to choose a direction, explore and navigate its potential (with folks that are caring and challenging you!) and then make a decision to continue on or to pivot to another course.

But choices must be made. Decisions committed to. Experiments must be run and iterations executed. You can not prioritize anything if everything is a priority.

One direction at a time.

We may think of this as difficult but we’ve all done it a handful of times already. For instance, just think of the jobs that you’ve had and that job that you currently have. If you’re like most folks then you have one full-time job at a time, not two and certainly not three.

We choose to head in one direction at a time and choose to align ourselves with a certain number of folks for a season. We learn a ton of different things, but, we are headed in only one direction and that direction is aligned with that particular company’s mission and vision and the goals and directives that the leadership has.

And then we leave or quit or get fired or just simply move on to the next gig, project, and/or job. But the question is whether or not we are actively building strategic momentum in the ways that best serve us (and best serve those that we will ultimately serve) or if we’re just allowing other folks to actively dictate our own dreams and set the course for our very lives.

To take ownership requires focus and great caring  challenging relationships to make it all possible. Great careers are built upon these two ingredients and it affords us the real opportunity to do our very best, most impactful work. If you don’t feel as if you’re in that spot then you have some very important thinking to do…

Consequently, the combination of those two ingredients plus the decision to thoughtfully curate and iterate on them is how you and I build real, lasting momentum. I have experienced this myself in my previous projects and companies and I have also seen this in play with my relationships as well.

Unsurprisingly I have had the most success as a natural result of those two being maximally engaged. And as I repeat my own use of this methodology and strategy I get better and better and better at it. Well, at least, more refined.

Finally, I think that it’s also worth mentioning that I believe we experience the most joy and the most satisfaction in life as well when we have focus and, obviously, meaningful, caring, and challenging relationships. There’s so many good and positive outcomes when we have the right ingredients in play.