You can’t scroll past a Facebook video or an Instagram quote without some well intentioned guru or guru in training telling you that your perfectionism and procrastination are cured only by taking action.
But if one day you start, gangbusters and gumption, and a few days later you go back to binging on Netflix, how effective is that advice?
There’s no question that taking action is crucial.
We both know you can’t get from point A to point B without action.
The real question is, what does an ambitious dreamer with a mild case of the can’t move forwards do when she well, can’t get on her right track?
That’s what this post is all about…
What comes before taking that much needed action.
Like you, I’ve sat on the action-inaction teeter totter.
Four years ago, after recovering from an illness that had me bedridden for nearly three years, I had a hard time getting my business and life back on track.
There were days, weeks and months when I’d start a project, go in deep and focused and then find myself deciding between binge watching House of Cards or The Mindy Project.
I thought maybe I’d lost my mojo. That somehow, the fast-track was no longer within reach.
My usual just do it mode of operating wasn’t working.
I felt lost, confused, afraid I’d have to go back to working a corporate job. The horror!
But going backwards was a door I refused to go through so I had to figure out what was wrong with me and get my sh*t together.
First, there was nothing wrong with me and if you’re having a tough time taking consistent action, there’s nothing wrong with you either.
Sometimes, discipline and sheer will alone won’t get the car out of the garage.
When a car is non-operational for too long, you can’t just turn the ignition, expect the car to start and tear down the street at 90mph.
The same is true of you.
If you haven’t taken action in a while or if you’ve taken action sporadically, like a car, you need to go through a few steps before you can expect to take off.
STEP #1: Define Your Ambition
This is the step I was missing four years ago.
My only ambition was to pick up where I left off three years prior. That wasn’t an ambition, it was wishful thinking.
Ambition is all about desire.
Before you can move forward with that product launch, write that book or get the garage organized, you’ve got to be clear why you want to do it in the first place.
This isn’t like “what’s your big bodacious why.” Those big hairy audacious goals may very well be what’s tripping you up!
Make your why smaller.
What I ultimately desired more than anything was getting back my financial independence.
That’s it. I wanted to make my own money again.
I didn’t think about changing the world, or the lives of 20,000 people. I could barely change the sheets in those days!
Determine what you truly desire because confusion and overachieving, for now, are confidence killers.
And without confidence, taking action feels like pushing a stalled car up a steep hill, by yourself, in 4’ stilettos on a foggy day. Practically impossible.
Step one is not to be missed or dismissed.
STEP #2: Develop Desire Habits
Here’s where the rubber meets the road.
In other words, the thing that replaces sheer will and you can do it cat poster sentiments.
As an ambitious dreamer, you’ll want to form a plan and corresponding habits that get you to your desired destination.
Your habits must be small, micro-mini habits that feel so doable you feel silly even writing them down.
For instance, one habit I got into was writing down my intention, goal and action for the following day every night before going to bed.
This was pretty simple. Too simple. But, it got me into the habit of organizing my day lest the remote control decide how I spent my waking hours.
Want to launch your anything?
Begin by writing down your game-plan. You’ve done enough research - believe me, I’ve been there - that you already know what to do so this part should come easily.
Then, break down your plan into three parts, intention, goal and action (IGA’s). I wrote an entire article on how I do this here so be sure to check it out.
Once you’ve got your IGA's in order, jot down no more than three-actions for one day. Personally, I prefer only one action per day because this way, I’m able to go deep and give whatever that action is my full, undivided intention.
At the end of the day, review your game plan, choose your IGA’s for the following day and repeat.
Want to organize your anything?
Follow the same format.
You’ll find you can accomplish more than you had planned or penned. It’ll feel like a win because no matter the size, it is…
Keep your actions small to begin with.
Remember, you’ve been a parked car. Give yourself time to warm up before you go into overdrive.
STEP #3: Set Up Support
Your battery is charged.
Your engine running.
First, there was a clanking sound followed by clouds of smoke. But now you’ve got her revved and sounding good.
Translation: you’ve got a tiny system to help you move forward one step, one inch at a time. This generates momentum. Soon, you’re setting bigger goals, penning your plans, following through.
And just like a race car has a pit crew to change tires, make quick adjustments to help that speed racer ride even faster, you’ll need a support system. A team of people that help you excel.
Could be friends and family.
Could be a coach or mastermind group.
Whatever form it takes for you, support is crucial to help you grow and accomplish.
Achieving isn’t a solitary act.
Choose the right people to support you whether you’re growing a business or doing spring cleaning.
Allow me to leave you with this…
Give yourself time.
Do not, under any circumstances, play the comparison game.
Keep on dreaming and doing.
The world needs your inventions, your skills, your talented eye.
Get into your right gear, foot to the pedal and let the wind muss up your hair. The track is wide open...