“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
In 2005 when I was working with my first Life Coach, she would often challenge me to identify and take the next step. When I was hesitant to move forward, she would say I was just “fixin’ to get ready.”
Jane was (and is) wonderful. She knew when to push my buttons. Telling me what I already knew, she would call me on everything from my “to do list,” to my endless planning. Rather than preparing and putting good ideas into action, I procrastinated – gathering resources, waiting for the right information, and focusing on getting even more organized. I kept telling myself that all of this fixin’ would enable me to get it right. For a once borderline perfectionist, getting it just right was important.
But all this was, was preparing to prepare. And the process convinced me that I was progressing and succeeding. What this process created was a temporary feeling of accomplishment, which for some (perhaps, many) can keep us preparing for years, if not a lifetime. Seriously.
I finally realized that all of my inaction (other that organizing and preparing) was due to the fear of either succeeding or failing. Jane, as she did so well, would remind me that if we succeed, more will be expected of us, and we will then have to do even more. With hindsight and a lot of subsequent learning, I can now see and appreciate that this is exactly what we want to happen! Alas, I was young(er) and wore some silly blinders.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar place? I suspect many of us have. So, what to do? It’s pretty simple. First, identify the source of your fixin’. Be truthful about what is preventing you from taking action. Then, try to ease taking action by:
Cutting it up into smaller pieces of time and effort. Big successes are rarely the result of big plans and actions. Success comes from small actions repeated and expanded. Think consistently.
- Having short-term action views. Figure out what can be done each day or week instead of trying to plan months, if not years, ahead. Set a goal of accomplishing one or two tasks tomorrow or this week – that aren’t attached to something bigger or someone else. What small thing or things can you do that supports what you want and will allow you to immediately see the results?
- Focus on today. Whatever you do, do it now. Don’t think about what’s next or what if it doesn’t work. Do the best you can, now.
There’s nothing novel about the above tips. They’re tried and true. The point is, just take action. Shifting from “fixin’ to get ready” to actions for success is not difficult if you get out of fixin’ mode and into doing. Visualize the results. Benjamin Disraeli once said,
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
Remember, every overwhelmingly successful person started out as an ordinary person who simply, with certainty, took daily steps forward.