Take a moment to read the cartoon and then answer the following question.
What is stopping you from taking action on your goals?
Choose one of the following, are you …
- Waiting for something to happen
- Waiting for perfection
- Waiting for inspiration
- Waiting for permission
- Waiting for the right solution to come along
It’s not often we’ll hear a unanimous response, however, in a previous virtual training poll, 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? Read the Discussion with detailed tips and techniques for answers.
These quick action steps will give you an idea of what to do:
- Review your stumbling blocks.
- Get clarity on your goals using a method called decision tree analysis.
- Ask for help.
- Talk with a trusting friend.
- Run a weekly or monthly team support program to give fresh perspectives and reinforce your accomplishments.
Let’s drill down to specific areas where stumbling blocks occur when we’re waiting for something to happen.
If the boss says, you can’t, or you can, what’s happening? 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!
If you’re waiting for inspiration, sometimes a few words of wisdom can help you understand the cause and effect of your feelings.
“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 a thought leader in human potential
What have you got to risk by moving forward? Let’s suppose 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 from 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 some exercises.
Get clarity on your goal
Ask yourself, what are the questions you still have? You can do this exercise with a friend or partner. For purposes of this exercise, we’ll use an example of going back to school to get an M.B.A. Once you understand how it works, fill in your particular decision, choices, and results to obtain answers.
- Use the following decision tree analysis to help breakdown your questions and reduce uncertainties.
- Visualize your goal that rests on making a decision. The goal is to acquire skills to go into management, and you’ve decided to go back to school.
- List your choices whether you need to go part-time or full-time.
- List the results or outcomes of part-time versus full-time. For example, determine whether you need to obtain a school loan or to 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.
Ask for help
Most often we don’t ask for help. This is because of our perceptions of what others may think. Do others think we don’t know what we’re doing? The opposite is true.
Asking for help is the main idea in collaborating with others. An expert or someone more skilled than you can help expedite your research. When someone is offering a skill that you may not have, you can learn from them.
Asking for help is an opportunity to team up with others. You can offer your skills and strike a balance with those skills you seek from others.
Most people prefer that you ask before they volunteer to help. Try it. Ask!
Talk with a trusting friend, partner, or adviser
As soon as you begin talking with someone else about a decision you are waiting on, your fear will seem less overwhelming. Your fear of taking action will diminish 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, you’re wondering whether going back to school for an M.B.A. degree is worth your time and money. Your adviser would review the statistics of potential earnings and career choices.
Your trusting friend or partner will be supportive and help you see yourself taking on new career challenges. See also Have a Heart Talk to review and talk through the obstacles and get to a conclusion with the help of a trusting friend or partner.
Run weekly or monthly support programs
Try running a weekly or monthly support program. My Friday Lunch Webinar is a custom-designed program format you can use for your organization and deliver online or in person. Other program ideas may include small group sessions with specific engagement tools, techniques, and strategies. Together we will help others take action.
I am available for an initial half-hour consultation for individuals. For groups, I offer a one-hour introductory session with Q & A.
To answer your questions and to get in touch, contact Ann at (561) 414-6503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.