If you reached this stage, by now you’ve done quite a lot of work. You’ve identified and dissolved some of the limiting beliefs and thoughts that have held you back from being successful. You’ve made your plan for change. And now, well, now you’re ready for some Action.
For many people, this stage of change is the hardest one. That’s because when you put a plan into action, a plan that you’ve developed so that you may reach your goals, your plan becomes real. It becomes three-dimensional. It is no longer an abstract concept, a daydream, a longing.
Once you start moving towards that desired goal, the stakes become much higher. The fear of a possible failure looms in some dark corner of your mind. And you get scared.
This stage requires bravery. In unstinting amounts. It also requires an entirely new level of motivation, perseverance and persistence that, quite frankly, most people don’t choose to cultivate. If you want to succeed, you’re going to have to develop a more courageous self. And one of the best ways I know how to help people do this is slowly and gradually.
If you change too much too quickly, you will burn out and fail. Or you may overwhelm yourself and give up too soon. (These are actually quite common forms of self-sabotage.) If you take too big a step at first and try to do too much at the beginning, you won’t have any initial success. Then the self-doubt monster may start taking up residence in your brain which will only weaken your resolve to succeed.
Time and time again, the truth of successful change tells the same story: Success is achieved not through big, dramatic changes taken all at once but through a series of small, well thought-through, consistent changes that one can do over time.
Once you’ve got your plan in place and you feel that you’re ready for Action, try out the following coaching tool. If you can patiently and consistently apply the concept of ‘slow and steady steps’ in this stage, I guarantee that you will be successful, regardless of the nature of your goal. (Remember that the coaching tools provided here are just to get you started. For more individualized attention, help and/or guidance, you’ll need at least a few coaching sessions).
Action Coaching Tool: Turtle-Steps
You already know the story of The Tortoise and The Hare. Now it’s time for you to be like the turtle and take slow, thoughtful, persistent steps towards the goal you wish to achieve.
1. Write down your goal, using specific words and examples. (ie: Don’t just write: I want to make more money or I want to lose weight. State exactly how much you’d like to make. Or lose. Or whatever you’re trying to achieve.) Be as specific as possible.
2. Break this big goal down into about 10-12 mini-steps. These mini-steps should be steps you’ll need to take, in chronological order, to meet your goal. For example, if you want to go to Europe, one of your mini-steps may be to choose a country to visit. Another step may be to buy a plane ticket. You get the idea.
3. Now, break down each mini-step into at least three super mini-steps. That’s right. Each mini-step needs to be broken down even further into some very small, teeny-tiny steps. We call these teeny-tiny steps “Turtle Steps” because they will move you slowly and steadily towards your goal.
4. Now, it’s time for some Action. Take a Turtle Step and complete it. It shouldn’t be that difficult or intimidating because you’ve broken it down into such a small, manageable piece. (If it is too intimidating, try breaking the Turtle Step down even further).
5. You are now one step closer to your goal! Celebrate by giving yourself a nice reward for taking some action.
6. Rinse and repeat until you work your way towards the completion of your goal. And remember, each completed Turtle-Step deserves a reward.