A couple of years ago, I was thumbing through a copy of Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership and randomly opened the book to a page that contained this “theorem” which explained why “…momentum [in business] is not a random lightning strike, but on the contrary it is actually created… and here is the formula:”
As I read through his explanation of “the momentum theorem”, I immediately recognized it as not only an accurate description of how I have created what modest success I have enjoyed in my own business, but how my most successful clients have created the momentum that carries them forward in their careers, businesses, and lives.
One caveat – I interpret the “Fi” portion of the formula differently to Dave Ramsey, so what follows is with full credit to him but also with full apologies if I misrepresent or misinterpret his original intentions in my explanation…
M is for Momentum
My first coaching company was called “Momentum”, created over 27 years ago because it seemed to me at the time that the secret of success was expressed in Newton’s First Law of Motion:
An object at rest tends to stay at rest; an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
And while experience has shown me in the ensuing years that there’s a bit more to it than that, the basic idea holds true – when we create sufficient forward momentum in our business or career, the momentum itself drives us forward in a cycle of exponential returns.
As Jim Collins, author of Good to Great writes:
Now picture a huge, heavy flywheel. It’s a massive, metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle. It’s about 100 feet in diameter, 10 feet thick, and it weighs about 25 tons. That flywheel is your company. Your job is to get that flywheel to move as fast as possible, because momentum—mass times velocity—is what will generate superior economic results over time.
Right now, the flywheel is at a standstill. To get it moving, you make a tremendous effort. You push with all your might, and finally you get the flywheel to inch forward. After two or three days of sustained effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn. You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster. It takes a lot of work, but at last the flywheel makes a second rotation. You keep pushing steadily. It makes three turns, four turns, five, six. With each turn, it moves faster, and then—at some point, you can’t say exactly when—you break through. The momentum of the heavy wheel kicks in your favor. It spins faster and faster, with its own weight propelling it. You aren’t pushing any harder, but the flywheel is accelerating, its momentum building, its speed increasing.
So if momentum is the ultimate “force multiplier” for success, what are the factors that lead to its creation?
Fi is for Focused Intention
In Dave Ramsey’s explanation of the momentum theorem, he lists “focus” and “intensity” as two of the critical factors in creating momentum. In my own experience, I have seen both individuals and companies make dramatic leaps forward over time without any particular intensity but with an absolute clarity of focused intention.
Whether our intention is to serve, to profit, to make a difference to the planet, or to build the best damn widget in the whole world, our continued focus on that intention brings the full creative potential of the mind to bear on its creation.
T is for Time
The first time I presented this “momentum formula” to a small group of clients, one of them raised an objection that time was being presented as a divisor, not a multiplier. When I pointed out that Fi/T was simply a way of visually representing the phrase “over time”, they remained unmollified and we rewrote the formula as follows:
Fi x T x G = M
Regardless of how you write it, the fact is that time is one of the unsung heroes of all creative acts, and the one that most of us are keen to downgrade as a factor so that we can promise ourselves and our clients amazing results without having to wait. Unfortunately (or actually, fortunately), most things do take time to create. How much time is surprisingly often a function of our final variable…
G is for “God”
Some people believe in a divine being who takes a personal interest in the details of our lives. Others aren’t really sure about that but recognize that there is an impersonal creative intelligence and energy behind life which appears to be both a guiding force and responsive to our intentionality. Still others simply acknowledge a random factor in life– “the fickle finger of fate” – that plays a role in all acts of initiative and creation. But however you explain it, pretty much everyone recognizes that we’re not in charge of the unfolding universe.
The “G force” moves in mysterious ways, and can seemingly shorten the time it takes for momentum to be created in some instances and massively elongate it in others. But if we don’t take it into account, we’re left with a purely linear explanation for the distinctly non-linear phenomenon of creation.
What I love about this “momentum formula” is that it accounts for pretty much everything I have seen created (or not created) in all the years I’ve been doing this work:
- Enough focused intention over a long enough period of time will accomplish most goals with or without any extra help from the universal Mind, although whether their achievement really sets the “flywheel” of momentum spinning seems to be a bit more hit or miss.
- Focused intention plus a bit of help from the energy and intelligence behind life can take us outside of the apparent boundaries of time, and sometimes things inexplicably “just happen” without our putting in anywhere near as much time or effort as we were expecting.
- People who put their faith in the unfolding of life over time without any particular focused intention often wind up with lives of great import and impact, carried by the momentum of what seems to outside eyes as random chance and extreme good fortune
And of course, when we do put it all together, we maximize our odds of success. When we focus our intention on what it is we want to create in the world, maintain that focus over time, and make space in our minds for previously unseen possibilities while making space in our lives for previously unseen opportunities, momentum and the results that inevitably follow on from its creation will be ours.
Have fun, learn heaps, and may all your success be fun!
With all my love,
Some more Caffeine for the Soul
Today’s blog is excerpted from my book Creating the Impossible: A 90 day program to get your dreams out of your head and into the world…The week I began working on this book, I read a distressing (to me) article about how Mahatma Gandhi was estranged from his eldest son, Harilal, throughout his adult life. I immediately called my own first born, Oliver…read more
Today, I want to share a third thing that I have come to see over a nearly 30 year career as a teacher and coach. It impacts how I do everything I do with students and clients, and is perhaps best summed up in this story I first heard in a dialogue between Anthony de Mello, an enlightened Jesuit priest, and one of his students….read more
In part one, I shared a simple truth about human beings that flies in the face of a lot of self-help ideologies and neo-cognitive therapies:
We aren’t in control of our thoughts and feelings. Today, I want to point to what may seem an even odder piece of good news…