How can we motivate ourselves into action?
In my twenties, I found it was a lot easier to implement my grand ideas. I created a successful clothing business and wrote and performed spoken in packed arenas. I was fearless, I was in my element, I was hungry. Now, in my mid-thirties with more commitments, I often find my ideas dying in my head. When I do implement ideas, five steps ensure I follow through.
These steps have gotten results for hundreds of young people and corporate individuals in workshops in London and Japan:
1) Aligned Vision
“Clarity of vision is the key to achieving your objectives.” — Tom Steyer
In a gathering of 45 working professionals in the City of London, somebody asked: “Who enjoys their job?” Embarrassingly, I was the only soul to put his hand. I placed it down at twice the speed as I caught some jealous death glare in my direction. I was a teacher at the time, surrounded by bankers, engineers, investment bankers. and software engineers.
Why was my hand up? I had extreme love and passion for educating and developing young people. My vision was to develop young minds. Although the other 44 had great jobs and careers, it was clear they were not all living out their missions.
The first step is to do what you are absolutely passionate about. We all have interests that light up our souls from cooking, archery, teaching, singing to management. When we follow the path of what we love to do, there is less resistance and we will be more productive.
“The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation.” — Mark Twain
By writing our visions on paper, or electronically these days, we become connected to it and it provides us with clarity. If a vision stays in our head, it remains dead.
In 2011, I started online dating and had a terrible experience with my first date. She didn’t show up and decided to cancel when I was 5 minutes from the Starbucks in the heart of London’s Theatreland. I vowed to never use online dating again.
Looking back now, I understand my values were ALL wrong. Where was my patience? Where was my determination to see the process through? Where was my self-confidence? Three years later I met the woman of my dreams on the SAME online dating site because I worked on my character. This time it took 14 face-to-face dates, but the characteristics of my dream partner were clear and I was more than willing to follow the process.
Sometimes our grand visions are not matched by our values. We want a toned body but don’t make the time to train. We want to transition to our dream job but value the comfort zone, over the growth zone. When our values match our dreams the wheels of our vision begin to take motion.
“It’s not what we get in life that makes us happy; it’s who we become that makes us happy and being able to give because we have become more.” — Tony Robbins
When we grow during the course of making our vision a reality, we are able to withstand the inevitable challenges that will come our way.
3) Modeled Action
“Success leaves clues.” Jim Rohn
Author of High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard advocates researching the top people or companies in an industry before starting work in that industry, in order to model the best practices. In addition, the ways in which to improve the current offering in the industry can be found during the analysis.
When Twitter was launched it 2006 it was modeled the best features of social media site Flickr and SMS messaging services. By Biz Stone & Co modeling what was being successfully being used, it gave social media users a unique 140 character alternative to Facebook.
A modeled action is the GPS navigation route to the destination of success. There is never a need to start from scratch. So when we think we can’t get the toned body, the right partner, or the new opportunity, we don’t acknowledge that there are role models with effective strategies we could access. Moreover, these solutions are often a click of the mouse or a phone call away.
“We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing—an actor, a writer—I am a person who does things: I write and act.” — Stephen Fry
The challenge is to not get caught up in the label of our visions but to enjoy and revel in the process and the work.
During the first half of 2017, I was absolutely wasting my gym membership. I would walk into the gym, jump on the treadmill and run for 5 mins, do some biceps curls whilst simultaneously having a conversation with ‘gym friends’, finishing off with a brisk jog to my car to drive all of 0.5 kilometer home. My results were poor at best!
The second half of 2017 I employed a no-nonsense Colombian fitness trainer I saw twice a week and did not want to let down. Furthermore, I went to about 8 exercise classes per week ranging from spinning to yoga to legs bums and tums. The thought of surrendering in the majority female classes kept me planking, running, and squatting. I finished 2017 in the best shape of my life, completing multiple 5km races and a half marathon.
What was the key for me? One word, 6 syllables: accountability
Accountability is surrounding yourself with a peer group, coaches, mentors, and others to keep you pushing when times become difficult. Ideas are ten a penny, but it is in the execution that success is achieved. Having an individual or group to keep you accountable will increase the chances of you executing.
Who do you have in your circle to help you follow through and carry out your vision?
“Stay committed to your decisions, but flexible in your approach.” Tony Robbins
In terms of carrying out the vision that you set in place, there is never any failure, only results. Therefore if the result is something that you are not looking for you have a great opportunity to change your approach until you get the desired result.
Once the performance is reviewed in a clear and impartial way, it allows you to create a new plan of action in order to improve on the last result. This progress can be documented in a journal or chart and will allow us to visually see what has worked well and what could be improved. The process of review is constant and never ending as there is always something you can improve on.