Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.
I get put off by the enormity of the task ahead. I get bogged down into detail. I get distracted by life. I’m too busy. Not now. Can you feel the noise? My head is rattling with ideas, problems, people, commitments, holes in the bank balance, deadlines, kids Nativity plays, sick parents. Add to this my fear of failure, concern that if I raise the bar others will expect me to keep the bar raised … and my apathy wins. My internal dialogue is calling me all the names under the sun – fat, stupid, slow, lazy, useless; I have the voices of those I allow to have control over me working overtime in my imagination.
So what’s the impact?
I don’t write my plan down. I have all the potential to be a “meaningful specific” …. and instead, my inaction and avoidance, turn me into a “wandering generality”.
We teach that “What you measure on purpose, happens on purpose. What you don’t, happens by accident!”
Do you wallow in your excuses for not taking a decision and failing to follow up with decisive action? Do you blame others for how you feel about yourself?
What evidence is there that you have absolutely no control over your situation or the conditions you would like to avoid?
Is there nothing, no matter how small that you can do to overcome your obstacles?
What can you do to address that problem now, even if it is small and won’t eliminate the problem entirely?
Is there nothing, no matter how small for which you are responsible for about resolving the situation you want to improve?
What evidence is there that it has to be that way?
What action can you take now for which you are responsible for improving your situation?
Is there nothing at all that you can do to limit the reach of this problem in other areas of your life or business?
What evidence is there that the far reaching effects of this problem have to be that way?
What action can you take today to limit the impact of that problem on the rest of your life or business?
How long are you willing to tolerate this problem or situation before you have to act? Before you are willing to take action?
What evidence is there that the future you fear or current situation you want to get away from, has to persist?
What steps, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential can you take now, to help overcome this problem so it doesn’t have to be that way for so long?
What steps are you going to take?
Working back from the end or outcome you want, what are the 5 major steps you will need to take or milestones you will need to reach, if you are to achieve the improvements you want to make or hit your goals?
If there are more than 5 steps involved in attaining your goals, break each step down into subsets of no more than 3-5 subgoals or achievements. Work backwards from the end and work your way to where you find yourself today. (read Richard Wiseman’s “59 Seconds” on goal setting for a really simple process)
Ask yourself “What do I expect to have happen?” and assign it a percentage probability of your expected outcome happening. Eg. 80% probability that reacting angrily to my wife’s well-meaning chiding will result in a argument.
Then offer yourself a better alternative behaviour that you can measure and track. And give yourself a probability of the outcome you expect occurring when you apply this alternative behaviour. e.g. If I fall back and apologise for mis-communicating, and ask her what she suggests I do to remedy the situation I give it a 95% probability she’ll clarify her concern and we will avoid an argument.
Check after each attempt to track the results whether your gut feel for the outcome was in any way accurate. It will teach you to refine you trust in your gut instincts.
As to planning, my recommendation is have 3 BHAAGs (big, hairy-arsed, audacious goals). Get these needs met in you, and experience tells me that everyone around you will also get their meeds met too. Look after number 1 if looking after number 1 means looking after those you love and have responsibilities for.
I have one final exercise for you to take away your right to whine and hide behind excuses.
Write down all the excuses you can think of or have ever used for not prospecting. I said ALL of them. Come on! Try harder! Any that you’ve used int he last 12 months or expect to use in the next 12 months.
The deal is simple.
You may not use any of these again without paying a fine to the political party you loathe the most of £100.
You may not use any of them. Instead you must come up with an ORIGINAL EXCUSE in which case you add it to your list of taboo excuses for next time or you can TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT WHY YOU’RE AVOIDING taking decisive action to help yourself.
You cannot hide from yourself or from the Truth. Let today be the day you decide!
Take control over your life for those elements you can control.
And plan for, but don’t be phased by, those you can’t. Shit happens. Failure is universal and part of the human condition.
In CBT they have an acronym I like for fear:
Face Everything And Recover!