Every now and again you come across a thought that knocks you square in the jaw, like a powerful Joe Frazier left hook. BAM! Plop. Ouch.
Hearing or reading something doesn’t cause any physical pain. You’re not doubled over, or in need of medical attention. You are, however, suffering from a real pain…one that comes with a much harder path to recovery.
Regret’s easy to come by, hard to get rid of, and exhausting to carry. It sticks with you – shaping your actions and decisions every day for the rest of your life.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
A Cornell study confirms, it’s not what we tried and failed that we regret the most as we age…it’s the actions we didn’t take that haunt us. You see, when we try and fail, we know the outcome. When we want to act and then do nothing, we never know. And it’s the not knowing that does us in.
The difference between regrets and results is ACTION.
It’s easy to get stuck – to let the day-to-day activities take over. It’s just as easy to get back to driving action. Here are a few ways to jump-start, or accelerate, your success:
1) Visualize It. Cheesy? Maybe. Powerful? Absolutely. Your brain kicks in to high gear when it has a problem to solve or a goal to achieve. Visualizing what you want engages your brain, and that makes action happen. Want to be #1 in your industry, create a list showing you in the #1 spot and everyone else below you. Your brain will start working to make this a reality. Want to cut costs by 30%? Visualize the benefits of the cost cutting (e.g. the new equipment you can buy with the savings, the new space you can expand in to with the savings, etc.) Start to make it real, and it will be real before you know it.
2) Focus and Prioritize. Michael Hyatt suggests you ask yourself this question every day: “What has to be real today for me to take a massive step towards __(fill in your goal or outcome)___. Then follow through on the answer. Whatever has to be true, make it true. Whatever is in your way, get creative and get it out of your way. Use your answer to this question to stay focused on what has to happen, every day, to achieve the results you want.
3) Calculate the Cost of Doing Nothing. It’s easy to think that doing nothing has no consequence, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Delaying action does have a cost, and figuring out what that is might be motivation enough to kick things in gear. Ken Blanchard offers a Cost of Doing Nothing Calculator that helps bring this to life. The back of an envelope works well too.
4) Get Accountable. Ask a friend to hold you accountable for doing what needs to be done. Set meeting times. Have them call to check in. Set deadlines and due dates. How much do you get done right before you leave for vacation? A LOT. Use this principle to make things happen all the time, not just before vacation time.
5) Dive Deep. Reflect on what’s really holding you back – what’s really keeping you from taking action? Is it fear of failure? Fear of looking silly or foolish? Fear of getting yelled at or causing conflict? Pride? Lack of confidence? Identify the “it” and then get rid of “it.” Start by writing down all the reasons you’re not taking action. Then work to prove them true. Find evidence, like an investigator working to solve a mystery. Prove the fear true beyond a reasonable doubt. For most, this will be impossible. Our fears tend to be irrational. They tend to be based on our perceptions and not reality. So, proving them real is very, very hard. Once you realize it’s not true, it can no longer stop you.
The time is now! Tomorrow is today. JUST DO IT!