Question: Once upon a time, there were three frogs on a log. One day one of them made a decision to jump into the pool below. How many frogs were left on the log?
Answer: There are still three frogs on a log! One had only made a decision to jump in, but took no action!
I’ve written about taking action before when it comes to making change in our lives, but I think this subject warrants a little more attention.
Action is really at the heart of active change. Without action we’re only thinking about change. As much as thinking is a necessary step, it won’t lead us to the goals that we are aiming for.
The parable above might seem familiar to many people. We may want change, crave change and desperately wish for change, but active change always comes back to personal responsibility and actually doing it. There is no getting away from that.
Reaching your goal, whatever that goal may be, can be an exciting moment. Yet before getting to the top of your personal mountain there are some useful steps I encourage you to take. These steps, I believe, will help you build a solid foundation on which to be more successful.
Like any new endeavor, the first steps you take can set the tone for the rest of the journey ahead. Therefore, it’s fundamentally important that you take time to consider an effective plan of action. As I’ve previously written about the steps toward change, I thought it might be useful to offer you my five practical keys that can aid you in your action process.
- Knowledge.The more the better. Read about the area or subject in which you are interested. Some people may prefer to be spontaneous, but success for most comes from having an informed idea of the challenges ahead. Understanding the principles of the area or subject you are interested in will help solidify your foundation for success.
- Planning.Take time to plan out what steps you might take toward reaching your goal. It doesn’t matter if the steps change along the way, because flexibility in thought and deed is another key to success. I’m guessing most of us don’t have a crystal ball that can predict every outcome. Having a plan will mean you are already taking big steps toward being consistent.
- Consistency.This cannot be overstated. Consistency, consistency, consistency. Now, consistency doesn’t mean rigidity in thought and deed. It means maintaining a level of performance that doesn’t vary greatly in quality over time. If you can do this, even if it’s a little every day, you will be sure to stay focused and on track.
- Flexibility.It would be great if sticking to a plan was smooth sailing, but the reality is, things change. Our environment is always in flux and these changes will often challenge your ability to stay consistent. When you are faced with challenges you hadn’t planned for, or when moving forward becomes difficult, don’t get fixated on ‘having’ to stick to the plan. Learn to make the best choices within the situation you find yourself. Some will work out, others not so much, but your flexibility will pay off in the long run. If you need to take time to reevaluate your plan — or even your goal — then do so. The old sayings, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and “only fools rush in” are worth contemplating when faced with a fork in the road.
- Enjoy it.Success isn’t just about winning or reaching your ultimate goal, even though that may be important to you. Success also comes from taking steps to try to enrich ourselves and others. It’s about learning to recognize the small successes we make along the way toward our goal; about finding courage and strength to move forward in the face of resistance; about knowing that each step is a success of its own. Enjoy these moments: How we get to the top of the mountain is part of our legacy, not just the fact that we made it.