Great talent finds happiness in execution.
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

   

The MONTHLY Motivator - August 2003

On your way

Are you ready to take action? Are you ready to stop just thinking about it or talking about it or wishing for it, to actually step forward and get it done?

That’s great! Before you begin, though, there are some crucial questions to ask yourself.

The first question is this. Why are you doing it? Do you have a good answer for that question? Do you have an answer that is personally meaningful, a reason that will drive you to persist in taking action no matter what?

Don’t settle for a meaningless answer, or, more precisely, an answer that has no meaning for you. If your reason for taking action is to follow someone else’s dream or someone else’s idea of success, that reason is not going to sustain you. That borrowed reason is not going to push you through the challenges, the discouragement, the effort and the sacrifice involved in taking effective action.

But what if the action you’re preparing to take is something you have to do instead of something you want to do? How can you come up with a good solid reason for that, a reason that means something to you?

The answer is to find the reason behind the reason. If it is something you have to do, then what is the reason you have to do it? And what is the reason behind that reason? Keep looking for the reason behind the reason until you find a reason that really means something to you. It’s in there somewhere, or else you would not feel the necessity of taking action.

For example, if the action you’re preparing to take is something related to your job, then dig deeper and find the reason why you are working in that job. If the driving reason behind your job is to make money, then ask yourself why you are working to make money. Money, in and of itself, really has no value to you. There is a reason you have for working to acquire that money. At some point you’ll arrive at a reason with which you can solidly connect.

Somewhere, there is a reason that truly means something to you. Find it and get clear about it. Connect your need for action with something so deep within you that the connection simply cannot be severed. Do that, and then you’ll really have a reason, a reason that will drive you positively forward, a reason that will make you unstoppable.

For what usually stops you from taking action is your lack of will to do so. It’s not that you don’t know what to do. It’s not that you’re prevented from doing it. In most cases, there is some way or another to take whatever action must be taken. Yet a journey requires more than a road. A successful journey requires you to actually travel down that road, mile after mile, until the destination is reached. The road is there, and when you have the will to make it so, the journey takes place.

Do you have a good, clear, solid, personally meaningful reason? That’s great! Now get yourself a plan.

What, specifically, are you going to do first? And after that, what next? What are the steps that will take you to where you have committed to go?

Are you unclear about what those steps will be? Then the first step is to figure it out. It’s not that complicated. One thing will lead to another. One thing will build on another. Step by step, there is a way to get to anyplace you care to go.

If you’re having trouble visualizing the steps from beginning to end, look at them the other way, from end to beginning. Think of what the last step would be. In order to take that last step, what step would be necessary before it? And what step would be taken before the next to last step? Work your way backwards to where you are right now, and take notes along the way. Do that, and all of a sudden you have a workable, detailed plan for moving forward.


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—Ralph Marston