It is not often we’ll hear a unanimous response in a virtual training poll. Take a moment to read the cartoon (as pictured) and then answer the following question.
What is stopping you from taking action on your goals?
In a virtual training group with fellow members awhile ago, I provided several choices.
- Waiting for something to happen
- Waiting for perfection
- Waiting for inspiration
- Waiting for permission
- Waiting for the right solution to come along
Everyone in the group answered: waiting for something to happen. If your answer is the same, you’re not alone. No matter whether our goals pertain to decisions at work, home, or within a community, we’re stuck. Why?
This post has been republished to provide an interactive approach. Ask your friends, family, and coworkers the same question above and then continue with a discussion of the following.
If my boss says I can, or can’t …Wait! Possibly we’re waiting for permission and hoping someone will come along and give it to us, like in grade school we were trained to ask for permission to do just about anything, including going to the bathroom. Well, you have permission!
Another reason for not taking action is that we’re waiting for some inspiration that will motivate us.
“Trust your gut feeling about things, listen to what others are saying, and look at the results of your actions. Once you know the truth, you can set about taking actions to improve. Everyone will be better off for it.” – Jack Canfield, co-author of The Success Principles and Chicken Soup for the Soul series, as well as thought leader in human potential
Let’s explore another key point. What have we got to risk by moving forward? Do you worry whether the actions will turn out the way you thought or had intended? It is only natural to feel this way. Predicting the future is different than creating it. Sometimes you are not going to know that until you take action.
As shown in the cartoon, we get bogged down in overanalyzing a situation, planning too much, and reorganizing our response to what it is we need to do. Sadly, many years may pass us by, until we realize “if only” we had taken action. Don’t let another day go by–review the possibilities of fulfilling your goals now.
Let’s try an exercise. Use an example of going back to school to get an M.B.A. Visualize your goal and the steps to take action.
Get clarity on your goal
Ask yourself, what are the questions you still have? You can do this exercise with a friend or partner. Do you need to obtain a school loan or can you finance your education from savings? Do you need to keep working and is there a graduate school that offers you a weekend or evening program? Make sure you are clear what the questions are and what will be the result of taking positive steps to gain clarity. The following decision tree analysis can help breakdown your questions and reduce uncertainties. Plug in your particular decision, choices, and results to obtain answers.
Ask for help
Most often we don’t ask for help because it may be perceived as we don’t know what we’re doing. In fact, asking for help is the main idea in collaborating with others. Someone else may have more expertise who can help expedite your research, or offer a skill that you may not have. You can turn this situation into a collaboration or asking for help as an opportunity to team up with others.
Talk with a trusting friend, partner, or adviser
As soon as you begin talking with someone else about a situation, this will seem less overwhelming. Your fear of taking action may not seem as difficult when you have to justify your actions. An adviser will ask what it is you’d like to do and why do you want to achieve it. For example, if your wondering whether going back to school for an M.B.A. degree is worth your time and money. Your adviser would review with you the statistics of earnings potential and career choices. Your trusting friend or partner will be supportive and help you see yourself taking on new career challenges. See Have a Heart Talk.
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