If you are reading this article, however you found it; I know something about you. You have an interest in your own improvement, or the improvement of those you lead. You have a desire, perhaps even a burning one, to assimilate new information in hopes that the new information will improve your results.
If you are reading this you are a learner, and you want to get better.
How do I know that?
It’s easy. Most people don’t take the time to find material like this. Most people show, through their actions that they are complacent – happy with their skills and results. Sadly, most people don’t read.
So congratulations! You meet a criterion important for unleashing your potential, because you search for ideas, approaches, techniques, tips and tools.
Now that I have congratulated you, let me tell you a secret.
It isn’t enough.
There is a big difference between knowing of a tool, owning it and using it.
Owning a hammer doesn’t get the nail through the board.
Knowing how to drive the nail straight doesn’t get that new picture hung.
There is a big difference between seeing how an idea will work, being inspired to make it work, and doing it.
The difference, of course, is action.
If we want to make progress, if we want to get better, if we want to unleash our enormous potential, we must take action.
I know that there can be a lot in our way – pressing business matters, an already overflowing plate of work, issues and challenges away from work. I’m sure you are like me – you have ideas from the last workshop you attended, five notes from the article you read last week and two ideas spawned from the book you finished last month. And they just sit there.
At some point they move from being a motivating thing, to a negative one – ideas sitting there, growing stale, weighing on our mind because we aren’t getting them done.
You can’t take action on all of those ideas today or tomorrow.
But most of us stop there, somewhat stymied by the list, immobilized by not knowing where to start.
If you want to change that, read on.
Don’t read the rest of this unless you are ready to invest five minutes after you finish reading it. If you don’t invest that time, this article and the ideas it spawns will just add to the list.
Commit to yourself that you will spend five minutes taking action on the advice provided below before you do anything else.
Five Things in the Next Five Minutes
1. Tell yourself you can’t do everything you want. You can’t. But don’t let this fact stop you. Because while you can’t do everything, you can do anything. You must choose.
2. Make a quick list. List the ideas, tools, techniques or approaches that you have been thinking about wanting to do something with. Maybe it is an idea you recently read, maybe it is a workshop you want to attend, or a project you want to try – whatever those things are, write them down on a quick list. It doesn’t have to be pretty or complete, just get your ideas down. Now.
3. Pick one. One thing on the list will stand out to you. One will be calling your name. One will be exceptionally motivating. Pick it.
4. Determine a first action. Decide what the first thing is that you need to do to put this idea, approach or tool into action. This first step isn’t huge. It should be something you can do today, regardless of how busy your schedule is. If the step seems too big, break it down some more.
5. Do it. Today. (Now is even better).
After you have done these five things (you have now, right?) there are two more things to do, and these two can be done in a flash – far less than the five minutes you just invested.
6. Decide a next action.
7. Commit to completing the next action.
These seven steps will change your life if you DO them. That is the point of this article after all. In the end, it isn’t about knowledge, ideas or inspiration. It is about action.