Start, Stop & Change: action

“Action expresses priorities.” —Gandhi

Are you expressing your priorities right now through your actions?

You can get into action more easily by asking yourself a few simple questions. But be warned: These questions are a catalyst. Answer them only if you’re prepared to be in action.

1. What are you committed to and why?

There’s nothing quite so clarifying as this question. Because let’s face it: If you’re not committed, you’re not going to get started let alone sustain any type of action for very long. And if you don’t know what you’re committed to, it’s kind of hard to know what action you should take. The “What” and “Why” of this question go hand-in-hand: What you’re committed to clarifies and why you’re committed to it sustains action.

2. What resources do you already have?

This is a feel-good question because it takes for granted you already have resources and are going to build on them. Be very clear: Regardless of who you are or your particular circumstances, you have resources at hand. Keep in mind you may need to rethink what you consider an asset and broaden your definition of resources. This question asks you to put on your glass-half-full glasses, survey the rose-colored landscape, and realize you already have some of what you need to get where you want to go.

3. What allies and support do you need—and how will you get them?

We all need help and we need all kinds of help. Maybe you need a cheerleader or someone with technical expertise. Maybe it’s an accountability partner or a virtual assistant that would move you forward. Identifying the types of allies and support you need and then brainstorming how you’ll get them is key for the universe to conspire with you to make it happen.

4. What negative self-talk might get in the way? OR What will increase your chance of success?

OK, that’s technically two questions, but these are often related because negative self-talk has an uncanny way of sabotaging success. I’ve heard negative self-talk referred to as the “itty bitty shi**y committee”, which, you have to admit, doesn’t sound overly helpful. Now, if you don’t happen to suffer from that pesky chatter in your head, then focus on the second question by brainstorming ways to increase your chance of success. You might even ask one or two trusted friends what potential success boosters they see as a way to further expand your possibilities.

5. What’s the first step?

Sometimes we get tangled up with inaction because we don’t know the 59 linear steps to get from Point A to Point B. In fact, it’s rare when someone knows upfront the exact actions that will be required when they first set out to do something. Often you really do have to just take the first step for the next or subsequent steps to unfold. But getting clear about the first step nearly guarantees action. And when I say “first step”, it can be the baby of all steps. It can be itty bitty, teeny tiny—just so long as it’s some kind of action.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” —Dale Carnegie

Are you ready to get into action? Let’s start with this: What are you committed to and why?

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