Have you ever had a terrific idea that you didn’t take action on to make it happen? I’m sure you have. What stopped you from realizing it?
I don’t mean anything fancy either. Nothing earth-shattering. Just a plain old-fashioned good idea which would have made you more money. But you didn’t get moving on it. Oh well… c’est la vie. I have a friend I’ll call James. James is an independent management consultant and a deep, creative thinker. I have great respect for his abilities to understand his clients and develop unique solutions for them, but he has always struggled with a work/life balance.
His business is ok, but I wouldn’t describe it as booming–and certainly not where he says he’d like it to be. He works with interesting people–just never enough of them. And aside from occasionally soliciting referrals, he does nothing to increase his overall business. The funny thing is, this guy has more brilliant ideas about how to build his business than anyone I know. The problem is he doesn’t implement any of them. James is just one of those people who stops before he ever gets started.
Does James’ behavior sound familiar? Do you have more ideas than action steps? Why don’t you just get going? I encounter this issue often with people who have tons of great ideas about what to do next, but never gets implemented. They want to know why. Have you thought about what stops you from acting on ideas or programs which could bring grand rewards? I have, and I think there are five or six simple reasons.
1. LACK OF AN INSPIRING, MOTIVATING PURPOSE
Why should we do anything? Why indeed! That missing why is called purpose. Without a strong purpose, the urgent things take over. The ringing telephone takes over. “You’ve Got Mail” takes over. The knock at the door takes over. Inertia takes over. I remember in physics I learned that it takes additional energy to break free of inertia. A powerful purpose adds that energy. Energy that organizes your actions, and brings the important things to the fore. To break free of the inertia of your current routine, you need an inspiring purpose.
2. NO CLEAR VISION
Imagine yourself at a six-way intersection in a fog so thick you can’t see a single landmark. You can’t even read the road signs. Which way will you go? If you do pick a direction, will you be confident about setting out, or will you proceed slowly, hoping for the fog to clear a bit before you pick up the pace? Everybody wants to go somewhere–at least everybody in business does. But without a clear vision you can’t see where you want to go. And if you don’t see it, you won’t proceed aggressively and confidently on a course toward it– whatever it is–will you? So even if you craft a plan to take you somewhere, you aren’t likely to execute it. At least not anytime soon.
3. NOT WILLING TO MAKE SACRIFICES OR DO THE WORK
You already have more than enough to do, and whatever else you take on means something has to be set aside. Sacrifice means giving up something of value for something of even greater value. Which means there is something more valuable to sacrifice for. And you haven’t clarified what that ‘something’ is. Or maybe you aren’t sure that it is worth it. In this same category I put: giving up free time, relaxation time, play time, or whatever. But it always comes down to sacrifice, and the big question is, is it worth it? (By the way, I plead guilty to this one. There are times when I feel I have something important to accomplish, I just don’t feel it’s important enough to get off the couch for. What gets me moving is reciting the litany of purpose: “Why did I feel it was important? And what will happen because of that? And why is THAT important? And so on.)
Check in later for part two of this post!