Sometimes we spend an inordinate amount of time talking about our ideas, dreams, and aspirations. It is easy to content ourselves with simply having lofty ideas, not realizing their sheer abundance.
Anyone who has taken a breath has likely had an idea that could have literally changed the course of his or her life in a revolutionary way. Unfortunately, such ideas rarely get implemented. According to Mark Twain, “the secret to getting ahead is getting started.”
If you are tired of inactivity robbing you of your potential, then here are 15 ways to be a doer.
Dreams and Mental Preparedness
- Cultivate Your Dream
What would you attempt to do if you knew that you could not fail? In so many cases, your answer will account for a mere fraction of your potential. This is important because in order for one to unlock such potential, often they must move past mental barriers. Accordingly, meditate on what winning will feel like for the next 30 days. Saturate your mind with the next level, but don’t stop there. Write the vision. Make it plain. Unlock your dormant dreamer and doer!
We tend to move in the direction of our most dominant thought. Don’t be contained by limited thinking. Your dreams should inspire you to move beyond your comfort zone and into action. Your dreams should also inspire awe from observers. Whether your dream is prosperity and wealth, helping thousands of people, fitness, or a phenomenal career, cultivate your dream. Remember, the dream is the fuel, and your plan is the map!
- Relinquish Regret
Regret is usually a waste of time – Thomas Crown. Languishing in regret and despair over past mistakes is counterproductive and will rob you of your joy. The energy expended on regret could be put to much better use realizing your dreams. Everyone makes mistakes or missteps occasionally, but the key is extracting the lessons from the mistakes and minimizing or even evading future losses. To err is human, but to forgive is divine.
Forgive yourself today.
- Let Go of the Stigma of Failure
Similarly, you should not let the fear of failure stop you from attempting your goals. John F. Kennedy said those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. Dave Ramsey, Robert Kiyosaki, Suze Orman, and many others have tasted what many would characterize as failure, only to later achieve extraordinary success. The key lesson is that there is another act to your life’s play.
In How to Appreciate the Pain of Financial Problems, I discuss how failure can be instructive, is often temporal, is a matter of opinion, and can unleash your creativity. Don’t let the stigma of failure stop you from attempting your goals, even if you experience an initial setback. If you made a mistake, you are in great company.
- Know Yourself
Knowing yourself is so important to getting the maximum return on your efforts. You are unique and have tremendous value. Sometimes, we begrudge our differences from others rather than embracing them.
For example, when I was in pharmacy school, I discovered how I preferred to learn; sometimes this differed from others in my classes. However, knowing my learning preferences ended up being a great benefit to me because I began to cater to them. Had I not understood and embraced my individuality, content that I now devoured readily would have continued to take me a long time to understand, analyze, or evaluate. It is important to every doer to honor his differences and use them to his competitive advantage.
Goals and Planning
- Plan to Win
To Type-A personalities, it may seem intuitive that making a plan dramatically increases the odds of achieving. However, so many of us fail to systematically plan our finances, careers, health, and our relationships. Failure to plan is planning to fail. What’s your success plan? Often, what is lacking is a plan of action specifying precisely what we want our lives to look like in the next three years and what 6 steps we will take to achieve our goals. A goal without a plan of implementation is a pipe dream. Decide on a course of action today.
Attempting too much is just as dangerous as not attempting anything. Focus is blinding. By focusing on your priorities, you can block out distractions. Sometimes that means putting down something that is important for a passion that must happen.
Thomas Edison said that he has more respect for the guy with a single idea who
develops it than the person with 1,000 ideas but does nothing. We shouldn’t unnecessarily dichotomize everything into “good” or “bad” when it comes to goals. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of “now” versus “later.” Harness the power of focus to unleash a determination and passion for your dreams that will make you unstoppable.
- Start Small
Don’t despise small beginnings. How do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. Just because your goal is to lose 40 pounds this year doesn’t mean you are a failure for losing 10 pounds in the first three months. In fact, even if you only loss five pounds but have improved your cardiovascular conditioning, diet, and
muscularity while decreasing your percent body fat, you have made significant progress.
Don’t be discouraged by the need to tweak your plan to account for life. Instead,
acknowledge your progress and continue moving in the right direction. Remember, people
cannot always be what they are not, but they can become what they are not.
- Set a Time Limit on Preparation
I love preparation as much as anyone, but doers often set a limit on preparation time. The downside with spending too much time preparing is that you may never get started. In Poke the Box, Seth Godin argues that it is easy to fall so in love with starting that we never start. If you truly are progressively moving towards your goals via preparation, go for it.
There are some things (and even certain professions) that require years of preparation before they are achieved. However, make sure that you are not using preparation as an excuse to avoid action. Setting realistic expectations on how much time should be allotted for laying groundwork is a great way to keep preparation time reasonable.
- Admit the Joylessness of Over-reaching
While I love setting audacious goals, I also have to caution you regarding goal-setting fatigue. If you are constantly over-reaching, then you risk burnout. You can still stretch yourself and have phenomenal goals without being perpetually miserable because your goals are so huge that they require miracles to accomplish.
Don’t allow your motivation to wane because you set yourself up for disappointment. Treat such stretch goals as just that: goals designed to push you out of your comfort zone. Know that they are a part of your overall success plan, but don’t despair if your plans sometimes take longer or go in a different direction than you initially expected. By pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, you are often still better off than the alternatives, provided that your ambitions don’t rob you from experiencing any contentment in the process.
- Banish Eeyore
Dream-killers, aka “Eeyores,” are some of the most dangerous people that you know. They function as saboteurs to productivity. Regardless of whether they act with the intent of maliciousness, banish (or limit) such disastrous relationships if you plan to be a significant doer. People providing constructive criticism are fine, such as
those providing advice on being objective with your projections. However, those who
primarily hinder your progress due to their limited vision need not be included in your elite team.
- Network With Achievers
If you want to move beyond your comfort zone, one of the fastest ways is to network with achievers. In fact, while I’m writing this, I have just returned from spending a week with people in my industry who are rock stars. Being immersed in that environment compelled me to take my game to the next level faster and grander than I had initially planned. When you network and become accustomed to interacting with the next level, this serves to make you uncomfortable with where you are currently at. Strategically, place yourself in situations that stretch you.
- Get an Accountability Partner
While “head knowledge” is good, part of the secret to successful transformations, such as those seen by popular diet programs, is accountability. Your relationship with partners is powerful in achieving your goals because good partners have already gone through the same journey, can see through the lame excuses, and will encourage you during the down times. Everyone is not suitable to be your accountability partner, which is fine. Find the person who will empower you to push past the common to achieve the impossible.
Not everything requires your core competencies, so it is not always advantageous to do everything yourself. The ubiquity of businesses such as Elance, Angie’s List, and Fiverr makes finding reasonably-priced freelancers and contractors to delegate to much easier. It’s one thing to do tasks that are not central to your focus because you enjoy them or lack the finances to hire help, but it is another issue entirely if you are stuck doing something you hate simply because you haven’t inventoried the resources available to you.
Delegation can be a powerful practice that allows you to develop in your strongest areas while relinquishing distractions and increasing your overall productivity.
Deal With Barriers to Motivation
- Create an Action Environment
Your environment matters to your productivity, often more than you realize. It’s important that when you sit down to work that you are not bombarded with distractions. It is sometimes difficult to get motivated to do anything productive in the first place. Thus, the last thing one needs is to get started only to have
his or her time wasted on something that’s unimportant.
Creating an action environment may mean shutting off the automatic email notification feature (on your phone or Outlook account) or turning off your phone’s ringer at certain times during the day. It could mean removing the candy jar from your desk or logging off of Facebook, GASP!
Regardless, create an environment that encourages you to get things done.
- Record and Celebrate Your Progress
Acknowledging and celebrating your triumphs can serve as tremendous motivation to continue in your endeavors. Achievers don’t just work hard; achievers play hard too. When I became debt free, I threw a huge party, just as I would have celebrated a milestone birthday or a graduation. Big hairy audacious goals require time, so when you are victorious, why not celebrate your successes?
The law of recognition says that what you fail to recognize will not be properly
acknowledged, and what you continually fail to acknowledge will eventually leave your
life. If you value your successes, celebrate them!
Inactivity is one of the greatest thieves of opportunity. Don’t be content with simply having a great idea. After all, the idea is often just a small fraction of the journey. It’s what you do with your ideas, dreams, and passions that count. In your journey to be a doer, remember, as your thoughts become more, you become more. Therefore, commit to thinking on a higher level, develop high goals and plans of implementation, establish and maintain relationships that add to your life instead of subtract, and diminish the barriers to your motivation. As you apply these steps consistently, you too will be a doer.
|Written on 2/12/2012 by Roshawn Watson. Roshawn writes at Watson Inc. on eliminating debt, investing money, and building wealth. Get my free eBook Your Foundation to Wealth by signing up for my email updates (no spam I promise). Get my RSS feed and connect with me on Twitter @roshawnwatson too.||Photo Credit: massygo|