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What's stopping you from taking action?

by Odette Laurie on February 22nd, 2012

Sometimes because we're in overwhelm or think we need to do something perfectly in order to start or finish it, we can end up doing nothing at all.  I know for me, when my to-do list gets out of control, it's often easier to do nothing than to try to tackle that huge list in front of me. And that's not good, because the cost in time of putting things off is far higher than simply getting them done, even if that means just getting your crap out there. Because isn't getting it out there imperfectly and sharing it, better than never getting it out there because it's never "just right?"

So take a look at how you can overcome some of the reasons people put things off or don't get them done at all.

Fact: the cost in time of putting things off is far higher than simply getting them done.

The more you keep adding to your to do list, the more you feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, the more that you get stressed by it all. It doesn’t take a scientist to know that isn’t ideal! And not starting is stopping your business from getting anywhere!

There tends to be four reasons why we put things off.

1. Complacency – thinking it’ll only take us a few minutes to do, so it can wait

2. Avoiding Discomfort – believing the task will cause us to experience a negative emotion

3. Fear of Failure – believing we’re likely to fail in the task, so why bother starting it (and we want to protect ourselves)

4. Action Illusion – we’re very busy “around” the task doing lots of “stuff”, but none of it is meaningful, progressive or actually getting the job done

Once you’ve worked out what’s stopping you from moving forward, you can do something about it! Here are some ways of overcoming these barriers and getting going!

Complacency – if you really believe it’ll only take minutes to do, pick a time within the next 24 hours when you’re going to get it done and do it. (Better still – pick a time within the next 24 minutes, now that you’re thinking about it!)

Avoiding discomfort
– the more you think about the negative feelings, the bigger and more severe they’ll feel. If it involves someone else (you’re scared of hurting their feelings, or how they’re gong to react) write down what you want to say, how you want to say it and the outcome you’re looking for. This won’t necessarily take away all the discomfort, but it’ll certainly minimize it. The more you do it, the bigger and more uncomfortable it will seem. This is the time to embrace it and go for it.

If it’s simply a job or task which you just do not like doing, set yourself a super fast time limit for getting it done and go for it. Racing through it faster will also keep discomfort to a minimum.

Fear of failure
– if it’s something you’ve done before and you failed last time, look at the reasons why you failed and build in some ways of avoiding those. Was it your preparation? Your personal attitude? The steps you built in (or didn’t). Work through the process and you’ll start to see some key areas that you know you could do differently this time.

If you haven’t tackled this before but are still afraid of failing, find someone who has managed it successfully, or research what you need to do in order to increase your chances of success. Then allocate a time within the next 24 hours to get the job done and strike while the information is fresh in your mind and you’re focused on the first key steps.

Action Illusion – look at all the busyness and actions you’ve already taken in this area but have failed to move you forward. Paper shuffling. Endless rewriting of to do lists. Web surfing. What are at least three things you could stop doing and one thing you could start doing, which would increase your actual action, rather than your illusion of action? Go do them!

Whether you’ve been putting something off for a day, a week, a month or a year, you can do something about it turn it around. Step up, take control, identify what’s been stopping you and move forward!

I hope you got something useful from this, because I know I did.  This whole post really plays into my strong belief that you have to take action and constantly be moving forward in your life and in your business. So get going and take action, but also be sure you're taking the right actions. Don't just work on the easiest task or the one you know you can do right, because those ones usually aren't the ones that will actually make the big movements for you.

Taking risks, not being afraid to make a mistake, and taking imperfect action is what will help you make huge strides in your business.


Ok, have a great day!

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