People always want to know how to take the next step ? One of the most consistent problems I hear as a coach, mentor and encourager of humans is the inability to simply get started. In recent weeks I have coached a few people who have become so fixated on the big picture that they are really struggling to get started. There is a very fine balance between big picture strategic thinking and goal setting and the fact that sooner or later we actually have to start on something.
My brother used to say that I suffered with paralysis by analysis. It’s easy to do. You can become so afraid of not having the right plan that you sit around for ages telling yourself that it’s just not time to begin. You can easily tell yourself that you need more training or education, or more money or more experience. You can tell yourself any kind of story that seems legit but the result will still be the same. You just don’t actually get started.
My position on all this has been changing a lot recently. I am becoming a bigger advocate of simply taking the next logical step and focusing less on the need to have some kind of perfect master plan. Goals still matter. A plan still matters. But that matters even more is simply walking through the next open door or taking the next obvious decision or action that’s right in front of you.
For example, I just started my third Master’s degree. It’s hard. I have three young kids and I travel across the planet every few weeks as well as running a complex global business and doing a lot of physical training. In recent weeks I noticed I was getting more and more stressed about the study and of falling behind. I was increasingly asking myself questions like, “How can I finish all this study? “ How am I ever going to get it all done ?” Very recently I worked out that these questions were not helping. I was using the power of questions in a way that was not serving me.
I eventually stopped asking these questions and found a way to simply focus upon the next available action. I just did the next piece of study. I simply focused on writing the next essay rather than focusing upon the entire degree.
Once you take that first step, once you take that first piece of action then things begin to change. You suddenly realise that if you just keep taking one more step then there is a good chance that things are going to work out over time. The real danger is not taking a step and failing. The real danger is blowing out your prefrontal cortex like a rabbit in the headlights and never getting started.
Just begin. Take the next step. That’s all you need to do.
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