Action stations. This is the part where the rubber hits the road.
When planning for success, you can and should spend some time developing your big you’re your goal and your measures of success. In addition, you should rightly develop your strategies and identify any knowledge gaps you might have. You should do all the good things listed in the success formula but without acting all your planning will count for nothing.
Action means putting those plans into motion by taking a first step. Design a measure and use it. Create a strategy and follow it. If your knowledge is lacking, then take a course or hire an expert. Action means starting to do what needs to be done.
This article is the seventh part in my Success Formula series. Make sure you check out part one here if you have not already read it.
The sixth element in my success formula is termed, as you might have already spotted, action.
Are you already a natural action taker?
If this seems obvious to you then I salute you. You are probably one of life’s natural action takers. There are, however, too many people who plan and plan and plan again. They dream and visualise constantly. People who simply wish and hope and cross their fingers. Too many who trust to external higher powers to manifest their dreams. Perhaps the universe might help you out, but you must at least meet it halfway. These people achieve little and they get bitter and twisted; blaming life for dealing them a bad hand. As a coach, I hear this sorry tale so often it can depress me if I let it.
Too many people get stuck on a metaphorical start-line. The get ready, they get set but when the starter’s gun goes off they never go. Life is uncertain of course. You may not win your race no matter how fast you run. You may however gain much of value on the journey whether you win or not. What is certain, however, is you will never be in a race at all unless you start off and go. No action equals inaction which equals no success.
Action moves you from A to B
Action is what gets you from point A and moves you toward point B.
The road to Hell is, as they say, paved with good intentions. All the good intentions in the world won’t get you what you want unless you start to turn those intentions into action.
I must warn you, actions take effort. They are a form of work. As you will see in the next article, work is a hard but necessary component of success.
The thing with action is that the more you do it the easier it gets. Like lifting weights, you get used to doing it. Your action taking muscles grow and strengthen. In time you can raise the weight and take greater action steps to increase your action physique. Soon you’ll wonder why it ever seemed difficult and others will gaze in wonder at your new dynamism.
When should you act?
In my experience, you should act as soon as practicable. Don’t leap in where even an angel would fear to tread. Carry out your planning and perform your due diligence but once you are ready then act quickly. Don’t let perfectionism kill your momentum.
General George S Patton once said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” I am not advocating you start violently executing anything, but his point is well made. Doing something good straight away is better than trying to make it perfect and never getting started.
If you like a roast dinner, there’s nothing better. It is delicious when piping hot and bursting with flavour fresh from the oven. However, it is far from pleasant when the veg is cold and the gravy has congealed. Actions are like this if you leave them too long. The moment has gone. The idea loses its appeal and the effort seems too great. If you do act now your heart won’t be in it. The moment has passed, and the ship has sailed.
You can always change tack
When you act and get moving, you can always change direction relatively easily once you are in motion. A boat won’t steer unless water is moving over its rudder surface. A parked car won’t change direction no matter how much you turn the steering wheel.
If you are pointing roughly where you want to go, you can make numerous adjustments to your course to reach your destination. That’s why action beats inaction every time.
No action is ever wasted
Take well-planned actions with a high chance of positive outcomes. Even if your actions led to less than ideal results there will always be something to gain from the experience.
You will always learn something when you act in some way or another. Action gives outcomes. You can compare outcomes to targets and adjust appropriately. This is feedback. Without action there is no feedback. I will cover feedback in the next article.
As a caveat, I don’t recommend being reckless or gung-ho but know this. Even if your chosen action proves ultimately terminal for you, rest assured someone else will learn from it. Someone had to eat the first mushroom or berry. Somebody had to pat the first lion on the head. One person had to pick up the first burning branch. You get the idea I’m sure.
Take no action and all you will learn about is lack of success.
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Why not check out the other Success Formula series posts?
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