Hello, and welcome, to the final installation in our series!
Today, we’re talking about the last step in the process of accomplishing anything you want in life (or at the very least getting on the right track!).
If you’re anything like me, which I have a feeling you are, then there’s a good chance you skipped the last 4 steps and went directly to this one. I blame our culture of instant gratification, but the truth is I really have no patience and I’m a big fan of the bottom line.
I just wanna get “there,” dang it.
But if you did that, I’d like to suggest (aka nudge my elbow in your side) and encourage you to go back to the beginning and work through the series from Step One.
As you might recall, these were the steps we’ve been covering to accomplish all of your most meaningful and important endeavors in life:
- Know the needle you want to move.
- Know why you intend to move that needle.
- Know where you want the needle to go.
- Know how to move that dang needle.
And most importantly…
- Do the things that move that dang needle!
Once we took the metaphors away, we came up with this wonderful little process to get those goals done:
- Choose a goal.
- Define your “why”.
- Determine what “winning” looks like.
- Figure out what you need to do to move closer to that goal.
And of course, most importantly…
- TAKE ACTION.
So far, we’ve covered Steps 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 (uh, duh): choosing a goal, defining your “why,” determining what winning looks like, and figuring out what activities will be your key indicators of success.
Last week was Step Four: figuring out what actions are going to move you closer to your goal.
We called these activities, "key indicators." Key indicators are essential to actually moving the “accomplishing process” forward.
Passion is great. Vision is great. Goals are great. But without activities necessary to move the needle, nothing gets done.
Nothing changes. Nothing gets learned. Nothing moves forward.
Nothing gets done without meaningful, measurable, manageable activities.
And as you may remember, one of the reasons that we don’t take the meaningful steps toward our goals is because, in actuality, we are afraid to get started.
That feeling takes on new meaning in Step 5 of our method of accomplishment..
Step 5 is very, very, very, very simple.
Yes, I needed that many “very’s” despite the fact that my Constitutional Law TA in college advised that I never use the word “very” in my writing ever again.
Step 5 is doing the things that move the needle.
Aka—finally taking some damn action.
As Will said during his rant to end all rants,
If I know the fuel is in the engine and I know what winning looks like and we have a needle and I know what moves the needle… hey, now we’re talkin’ here.
Once that’s done, let’s have some fun with it.
I think it’s gonna work.
If you’ve diligently (or even non-diligently) gone through the last four steps of this process then you have everything you need to accomplish your goals.
The last logical step, then, is actually doing the things you need to do to accomplish those goals.
In case no one else has shared this with you or you haven’t lived long enough to figure this out, I’m going to give you the secret that’s been evading you and your goals since the beginning of time.
It’s a quote from one of my internet favorites, Marie Forleo.
It’s simply this:
“Insight comes from action, not thought.”
Insight—into who you are, what you want, what you were created to do—comes from action, not thought.
Insight comes from action—taking meaningful, measurable, manageable steps forward—not thought.
Insight comes from action, not thought—sitting, waiting, wishing for things to happen.
But the reason we don’t take action isn’t because we don’t know what to do, why to do it, or what ends we’re working toward.
The reason we don’t take action is because we are scared.
Fear keeps us from our dreams.
Elizabeth Gilbert said the thing standing in our way is “always and only fear.” That’s how ubiquitous it is. That’s how strong it is. It is the only thing and it is ever-present.
So what can we possible to do combat the only thing that is always in our way?
Certainly we can’t dream to get rid of it. After all, fear is there to protect us from doing things like sticking our heads in dark holes and investigating that sound coming from under the hood without knowing how to work a jack.
Fear has a purpose. It protects us. Sometimes even from ourselves unless you’re up for the Darwin Awards this year.
So maybe we can appreciate that, and learn how to work with it.
Rather than trying to get rid of fear, why don’t we just calmly explain to our fear that it’s really not needed right now.
Elizabeth Gilbert recently published a book called Big Magic, and in it she speaks about honoring our creativity and conquering our fears. But rather than “conquering” fear, she approaches fear in a much different way. When she sits down to write (an action that she knows is a key indicator to finishing a book, btw), she always and only feels fear.
Fear that what she’s going to write is stupid. Fear that no words will actually come out. Fear that someone reading it ten years from now won’t like it or use it.
Fear of everything.
So, instead of fighting her fear, she just talks to it.
She literally says things like:
Wow, thank you. Thank you for caring for me and protecting me and worrying about me. Thank you for keeping me safe.
However, I’m just writing a poem, so your services probably aren’t needed right now.
That’s it. It’s that simple. Honor your fear. Appreciate why it’s there. And, then tell it to get the hell outta Dodge.
And while that might seem simple, as you may already know, it’s definitely not easy.
In order to actually do that—tell your fear to suck it, that is—you have to find something in your life that’s more important than fear.
FDR once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
So, what’s it gonna be?
What’s more important than fear, for you?
What’s going to give you the courage to move through your fear and take meaningful action in our life?
What’s going to motivate you to tell your fear to “take this <<insert your creative idea>> and shove it”?
What goal, value, belief, understanding, passion, or interest is going to fuel you to keep those actions going, even when times get hard?
That’s the tricky thing about fear—just when you think you’re getting closer, fear will pop up and try to derail you. Every. Single. Time.
So, what’s it gonna be?
Courage or fear?
Action or fear?
Anything or fear?
Once you figure that out, there will be nothing stopping you from taking action and accomplishing your dreams.
Nothing… except for you.
What do you do to keep yourself accountable and take action?
How has that made a difference in your life?
Leave your thoughts in a comment below!