Sunday, October 19, 2008

Actions Still Speak Louder Than Words


Too often we talk about what we are going to do "someday" while we actually do very little to make our dreams come true. We talk and dream and set goals and plan. We budget and visualize. We do everything, in fact, except take action.

We all know that only action changes things. One of my favorite slogans is that "Nothing changes until something changes." I love the reminder that even a small step in the right direction can have huge implications! And, I love the reminder that only action will make our dreams come true.

We are blessed to live in a time when we can have or do just about anything we can imagine. You can go to law school or medical school--yes, you really could! You can make a fortune, start a foundation, travel the world, raise happy children, run for office, publish a book, start a business or become a hermit and live in the woods. If you can imagine it, you can DO it!

The only catch is that you have to actually make it happen.

I see at least three popular tools that are routinely used to avoid taking action. They are good tools when used properly, but we mis-use them to stay in our comfort zones, change nothing, and wonder why our dreams never come true.

First - We Set Too Many Goals: I'm a huge fan of goal-setting and I even wrote an ebook about the process. I use goals in my business and personal life, and I encourage my clients to set goals, so don't mis-understand me here..

The problem is that we set goals instead of taking action. We plan and talk and set dead-lines, when what we should do is get to work and "go for it". Losing weight is not a goal! It isn't even a long-term project, it's about walking around the block, skipping desert or whatever is right in your situation, and doing it today. Never set goals when it's simpler and more powerful to take direct action!

Second - We Wait for the Right Time: Yes, "there is a season for every purpose under heaven" and timing can make a huge difference. But we mis-use that truth when we refuse to take reasonable action while we wait for a "better time," or for the moon and stars and our checkbook to be in alignment. It's an excuse, folks! There will never be a magical "right time" to start a business or start a family or start a savings plan.

The time is NOW! Take action, do what you can, move in the direction you want to go. Stop procrastinating and move it!

Third - We Look for "Leverage" so we can make big, dramatic progress. Now, of course big steps forward are wonderful! They are fun and exciting and leverage can make everything easier. No one doubts that! But that is no reason to avoid doing what you can, where you can, right now.

In fact, too often the "big steps" are scary and then we find even more reasons to avoid them.

In most things, I'm a huge fan of "baby steps" and have written about taking the smallest, safest, least dramatic step you possibly can, so long as you take it today. Take small steps, just take them!

Find and use a goal-setting routine. Goals are vital to your long-term success! Just don't get so lost in the process that you forget to look up, get up, and get into action! The same is true of timing and taking huge, bold steps when you can.

Action always speaks louder than words or plans or goals. Only action gets stuff done! Take small steps, but start today. Call someone. Read something.. Open a savings account. Invest a dollar, take a walk, talk with your kids.. Whatever it is, just do it! Before you go to bed this evening, take some real, measurable, positive step (no matter how small) in the direction you want to go. Then tomorrow, do it again.

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