What do you think is the secret to exponential success? What do you think makes some people more and more successful over time?
The answer, I believe, is momentum. Momentum is the key to exponential success.
I became aware of it a few months ago when I read The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. There he put momentum as one of his leadership laws. Momentum is something you must build in your organization if you want to succeed as a leader.
The idea resonated even more with me when I read EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey. He also emphasizes the importance of having momentum as a key factor for success.
What is Momentum?
Before going further, we must agree on what momentum is. Here is a good definition of momentum: the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes.
As you can see, when something has momentum, it doesn’t just move but accelerates. That’s why it can allow you to succeed exponentially.
Both Maxwell and Ramsey point out that having momentum can make you get more than you deserve. The effort you put in might be a 10, but the result you get is a 20.
Lacking momentum, on the other hand, can make you get less than you deserve. The effort you put in might be a 10, but the result you get is only a 5. This is frustrating because you work hard for only a small return.
How to Build Momentum
Now that we have seen the importance of momentum, how can we build it?
If we assume that “what you do” is an object, you must apply force to it to make it move and then apply more force to make it move faster over time.
Let’s take a look at how to do that.
1. In the Beginning
The way to start building momentum is to have some quick wins. Quick wins give you the motivation to move forward. It gets things moving.
This is the logic behind Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball method. The method says that, in order to be debt-free, you must pay off the debt with the smallest amount first. Then you move to the second-smallest, the third-smallest, and so on.
That might seem counterintuitive, because mathematically you should start with the debt that has the highest interest payment. But the method works for many people. Why? Because it builds momentum by giving you quick wins. Paying off the smallest debts gives you a sense of victory that motivates you to move forward.
In what you do, have some quick wins to start building momentum. Don’t tackle the big challenges first; start with the smaller ones instead. The sense of victory will motivate you to move forward.
2. Over Time
Having some quick wins will help you start. But you need more to accelerate.
In EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey gives the best formula I have found on building momentum. Here it is:
Focused intensity over time multiplied by God.
Let’s take a look at the components:
- Focus: don’t be all over the place. Instead, focus your effort.
- Intensity: be intense in what you do. Give your best effort every time.
- Over time: do it for years. Be persistent.
- God: like it or not, there are factors that are beyond your control. If they work in your favor, they can multiply your results. Some people call it luck, but I agree with Ramsey – it’s the God factor.
Why does this formula work? Because it leads to you applying big force on what you do over a long period of time. As a result, it will move and accelerate.
Check yourself against the components above. Which one do you lack the most?
I wish I had learned this lesson on momentum years ago. I would have achieved much better results if I did.
Don’t make the same mistake I did. Apply this lesson, and be on your way to exponential success.