If you’ve read my previous blog What are you ‘Doing’?, you’ll know that in addition to a strong vision and mindset, success is reliant on taking ‘Positive’ action.
Positive action is not just about activity, it’s about affirmative activity – activity which has intent. In other words, it’s about activity which is aligned with your vision. And, the way you ensure that your activity is in line with your vision is to plan it!
It never ceases to amaze me how few business people plan their business activity, and, I’m not talking about traditional business plan. I am talking about a simple documented account of the steps they plan to take to achieve the outcome they want.
Planning is so important in the creation of outcomes. Whereas your vision provides the ‘what’ and the ‘why, it’s your plan of action that provides the ‘how.
I have seen so many business people fail to create the outcomes they intended because of failing to plan. I have also seen phenomenal success occur with relative ease due to simple planning. My greatest, fastest and most consistent business successes are as a result of a clearly defined vision and appropriate planning.
Whilst action is absolutely key, the type of action and the timing of that action is even more so.
Ask yourself these questions:
What things need to happen to achieve the outcome?
In what order do those things need to happen – what are the steps?
What are the timescales for each step?
Who else needs to be involved to make it happen?
Write down the answers to these questions. Even more important than the documentation of your vision is the documentation of your plan!
Now, look at your diary and identify the time you have available to commit to doing these things. For some people, this is a sobering moment as they realise that their diary is chocca-block and they have no space on first glance to do very much at all towards their plan. If this is you, then you’re not alone. It’s often the case that prior to planning, time is not being used efficiently. However, you know that if you want to make your business the success that you have defined, you need to give the steps required to achieve it, high priority.
So, have a look at your diary and identify anything in your schedule that could either be removed or moved. Make an effort to cluster activities of a similar nature together, like client work, and move non-work related activities to outside of your working day.
If this feels a bit uncomfortable, be clear: it’s not forever. It’s for the period you are focusing on this priority.
So, you’ve got a vision and you know what you’re doing and why. You’re conditioned internally for success and you have a Plan of action. All sorted then right? Well, sort of. I’ve yet to come across a Vision and a Plan of Action that generates action.
Your vision might motivate it and your plan might direct it, but YOU have to DO it!
I know that’s obvious and it might even sound a bit patronising, but if you’ve ever written a ‘to do’ list in the morning and not looked at it again until the evening only to find that nothing on it got done, you’ll know exactly what I’m getting at!
Action means you actually ‘doing’ the things that are on the plan and whilst that is obvious, it’s not always what happens. If you find that despite all your planning, you are often rooted in ‘in-action’ because you just don’t know where to start, here are some simple strategies to help get you moving:
Every morning, ask yourself this question:
What can I do today that will definitely move me forward in my plan and towards my vision?
There are two reasons I suggest this:
1. Everyone can answer this. The challenge is rarely in identifying the next step. The challenge is in doing it.
2. Task completion creates a sense of satisfaction and increased self-esteem. No matter how small, the act of completing something creates the very thing you need to complete more things.
So, write the answer down to the question ‘What can I do today that will definitely move me forward in my plan and towards my vision?’ and do that first! What-ever it is.
It might be as simple as making a phone call, or even just obtaining the phone number. It might be adding some copy to your website, or changing it. It might be commenting on someone’s blog or watching a webinar. In fact, make step 1 easy intentionally. Then, whatever it is, do that first!
The psychology behind this is to get activity happening. To get things moving. Remember: like attracts like and so one activity will generate more activity. You just need to get started.
So, back to the advice in my earlier blog ‘do anything – just take action’… Do anything as long as it will move you forward in your plan and closer to your vision.
Forward movement is positive and it’s a lot easier to move forward when you’re already moving…