Enthusiasm is a good start
Those that consistently take action are rare. And yet, anyone who is at the top of their game is most likely an action taker. So, why is it some people take action and make progress towards their goals and others simply don’t get past talking about it? One reason is we rely on our enthusiasm to give us a push in the right direction. That’s all well and good except enthusiasm has a half-life and continues to erode over time. Before you know it, your store of enthusiasm has evaporated, and you are left disappointed with your efforts, and your incomplete goal sits there reminding you of what you haven’t done. IF this sound in any way familiar, don’t worry, you’re not alone…
The ‘god’ within
We all have an idea of what it means to be enthusiastic and let’s face it when we are in that state or surrounded by it, enthusiasm is infectious. And it’s no wonder why that’s the case. The word quite literally means to be inspired by or possessed by a god: It comes from the Greek “entheos” which means the god within. Enthusiasm is an intense emotion and like all emotions, and our thoughts for that matter, they ebb and flow, and they come and go. I challenge you to bring to mind anything that you’ve been enthusiastic about in the past and check your enthusiasm about it now… It might have been an amazing concert you attended or the excitement you felt anticipating on your first overseas holiday. Intense emotion creates strong memories and even those fade over time. That’s because enthusiasm on its own will never be enough to carry the day.
Beat inertia and factor in the half-life of enthusiasm
Like everything, enthusiasm is subject to entropy (disorder) at worst and inertia (inaction) at best. If we know that up front we can make allowances for it and even factor it in. This can make a huge difference, especially to you. Firstly, it’s a good way of keeping unrealistic expectations in check. No one is “on” all the time, and if we start out without tempering our enthusiasm we are setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment. To temper steel by cooling it down has the effect of strengthening it. What if you applied the same logic to enthusiasm? Secondly, we know human beings have a tendency to overestimate what can be achieved in a short timeframe. We also underestimate what we can achieve in a longer timeframe.
This is where vision can make a world of difference. If you have a clear idea of what it is you want to achieve things become so much easier. Having a clearly defined idea of what you are out to accomplish and then working backward from its completion is critical. Clearly defining your vision makes the goals and milestone easy to see. Seeing it as achievable and the pathway there is half the battle. While enthusiasm is high, make a plan, a rough one will do for starters and take action. Use your vision as your touchstone and your way of keeping yourself on track.
Taking action is key
Nothing will happen without it. No amount of planning can take its place and can often be a form of procrastination. So here’s a crucial truth, until you take action, all you have is a theory! That theory needs to be tested and is useless without action. Unless you are Albert Einsten, a thought experiment will never bear you fruit. Take action, based on what you know, make incremental improvements, then form a plan. Your plan will change because the action you take today provides you with the feedback you need for the action you take tomorrow. But here’s the best part; the motivation for doing the thing comes from doing the thing! And that’s why action with considered examination beats abstraction (thought experiment) every time. Taking action creates possibilities that did not exist before. This is how you build momentum.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
Resist judging your outcomes
Human beings are outcomes focused. It’s not surprising as we are judged on our results from very early on. Here’s the problem with that. It’s counterproductive and of limited value. I’m saying for a moment not to aim high; always put your best foot forward. And, your best looks different on different days, so clearly, results will vary! What if, you were to judge yourself on the actions you took instead of the result and put your focus there? That could be revolutionary. You don’t know when the ball will drop. Sometimes things take a little longer than planned or desired. Any entrepreneur worth her salt knows that. Focusing on action taken over the (immediate) result is a subtle and important difference. It’s also one of the best ways I know to move from failure to failure in pursuit of a goal without losing enthusiasm along the way. It’s a leaf out of Winston Churchill’s playbook.
Remember to celebrate
Last but not least, it’s important to celebrate your wins along the way. No matter how small they might be. Sometimes, you may need to dig deep to find them. Do it anyway.
For more information on how you can focus your enthusiasm on getting organised click here to book a seat at our next webinar.