Your current success is a result of the actions you’ve taken. Your one person business plan is about your future actions. It’s who you’ve decided you want to be in the future.
The fourth and final phase of turning your dreams into reality is about getting into action. Up to this point you’ve done a great deal of work to
Now you must Turn Plans into Actions
It’s time to put your money where your mouth is. This is when the rubber meets the road. It’s time to put boots on the ground. Shall I go on?
We all face demons on the implementation journey. Each showing itself at different stages of implementation (starting, sustaining, finishing).
As I sorted through all the strategies for getting into action at each of these stages, I realized I was facing my own demons. I had trouble starting; was stuck trying to make it perfect; and almost missed my deadline to publish.
I finally started. As I wrote the word count grew. I wanted to share everything I knew. Everything from years of coaching, consulting, researching, and my own personal struggles.
Realizing I needed to distill all the strategies I’d listed I asked myself: Which would give you value no matter what stage your demons appeared? I realized one strategy was repeated more often than others. It’s not the answer to all demons, but it will help more often than not.
Most Used Strategy: One Small Step.
The obstacles this strategy addresses include: getting stuck in the planning process; being overwhelmed with big projects (not able to start); getting distracted by newer, shinier projects; losing interest and motivation in the middle of your project; facing a difficult or unknown step in a project; and fear of putting your first deliverable out there (shipping.)
If you face one or more of these obstacles (demons), the One Small Step strategy is for you.
The approach is simple.
Step 1: Identify the very next small step you can take right now. This action needs to be something you are able and willing to do. It needs to be something you can do where you are and do immediately. It’s best to be something that will only take 15 to 30 minutes. Anything longer or that requires things that are not with you right now only feeds the resistance.
Step 2: Do it. Now. Don’t schedule it or put in on your to-do list for tomorrow. Do it right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 until your project is completed. The frequency and length of the One Small Step strategy depends upon your project.
What does it look like?
Goal: Design Leadership Program for ‘Company West’ (fictitious name)
There may be resistance to the very first item on your project plan: Project Charter completed by the 15th. However, there are a number of very small steps that must happen before your first deliverable.
- What’s the very next step? Identify members of the project team. This could take a few minutes or longer depending upon your approach.
- Do it. Team list: Marsha, Greg, Cindy, Bobby, Peter, Jan, and Project Coordinator: Alice / DONE.
- What’s the very next step? Schedule kick-off project meeting.
- Do it. Use shared calendar app to identify next available 2 hour time block. /DONE.
- What’s next? Create and share agenda for the meeting.
- Do it. /DONE.
You get the idea. Break down your plan’s next line item into something less threatening, and you’ll experience less resistance. Oftentimes once you start, your momentum will carry you farther than expected.
Use this strategy to overcome overwhelm in the beginning but also when you feel resistance all along the way.
Getting into action is a habit. And like so many other habits, it can be strengthened.
The key to building strong positive habits is starting small, staying consistent. You’ll be tempted to take on a great deal at the beginning of your project. Go with it if that works for you. Keep in mind, at some point that novelty will wear off and you’ll need to fall back on (or create) this habit of One Small Step.
Strategies for turning plans into actions are too numerous to outline here. If your obstacles (or demons) aren’t addressed here, drop me an email ‘cause I’m working on a larger project that may just have what you need.
The more often you take these small steps, the more you’ll be in action. Remember: action is what turns your dreams into reality.