Taking Action – How Successful People See the World
If you spend any time around successful people or individuals who have accomplished major goals in their life, you'll realize that successful people see the world differently.
There's something about successful and effective people that makes them different and special. Today, I want to look at the key ingredient that makes successful people successful, why most people seem to lack this ingredient, and what we can do to fix it.
During my time as a business coach, I've noticed that some people get results and others don't. I wish I had a 100% success rate with my clients. I wish everyone I've worked with got the results they were looking for and were able to change their life in real and meaningful ways.
However, that's not the case.
So, towards the end of 2016, I started asking some of my most successful clients what made them successful, and why they thought they were getting results where others were not.
Though each coaching client is different and receives tailored information, I also host mastermind groups where the members largely get the same information at the same time. And, while all of the members largely receive the same amounts of attention and the same pieces of information, there's still a range of success rates.
You know what the number one reason successful clients said they got results where others didn't?
It came down to taking ACTION. Successful clients said they took action where they did not see others doing the same thing.
Successful people take action when others do not.
Successful people see the world in a different way, through a different pair of eyes. Where we might see a challenge, they see opportunity. When we feel discouraged, they feel competitive. What we see as failure, they see as experience.
Ideas are meaningless, worthless even. The real value is in taking action. If we want to be successful, we have to see the world the way successful people see it.
Talk Is Cheap
As we sit here at the start of the new year, we will inevitably find loads of people setting resolutions and making goals. A lot of people talk about the weight they want to lose, the business they want to start, the class they want to finish, the raise or promotion they want to get.
But the problem was with each of those, is that there's no talk about the actions required to make those things reality. Successful people are highly action-oriented. They cannot set a goal without also making a plan to achieve it.
I believe the reason most people fail to achieve what they want to achieve in life is that they spend too much time talking about what they want to do, and not enough time doing what they want to do.
I know the line that differentiates the two is thin, but it's a major one. I see friends on social media boasting about all of the things that they want to do and accomplish, but that's all they do.
See, the internet has given us this amazing ability to talk about our goals, but the internet itself does not provide any accountability towards achieving those goals.
We can post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram without holding ourselves accountable. Statistics (and our own histories) show we will not get anything done. That is why working with a mastermind or hiring a coach is so important.
Everything Comes From Action
Have you ever thought about doing something, but didn't?
What stopped you?
I know that's a broad question, but I'm sure that if you think about it, you can think of something you wanted to do, but, for some reason, you stopped yourself.
Maybe someone convinced you it was a bad idea. Or, maybe you convinced yourself.
Maybe someone told you it wouldn't work. Or, maybe you told yourself.
Maybe someone told you wasn't the right time, or that you didn't know enough. Or, maybe you told yourself.
I haven't exactly done extensive study on this, but I'm pretty sure there are more reasons to NOT do almost everything in life than there are reasons TO do something in life. There's always going to be a risk of failure, there's always going to be a chance you will make a mistake, and there's always a high likelihood we won't get exactly what we set out to achieve.
This one I used to struggle with a lot. It's also something I see in many of my clients. We be lieve we can think or plan our way to a successful result.
Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.
– Oprah Winfrey
But the truth is, we can't. We can't plan for every contingency, we can't strategize for every obstacle, and we will never be able to think our way to success. Sure, believing in yourself is a good thing, but if you don't have the action to back it up, it's just delusion.
We've all heard or read the quotes from successful people saying that if we want to succeed we have to first fail. Or, that if you want to succeed faster you have to fail faster. So, why is it, that even though we've heard those things from successful people, we are so afraid of failing?
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.
– Michael Jordan
If you don't take action, you can't really fail. But until you take action, and dare I say, until you fail, you can't truly succeed. Stop holding yourself back. You can achieve more than you think, but you have to take action first.
Act First, Ask Later
Successful people have a bias toward action. Their default mode is set to DO. They see life as a series of things that need to be done.
One of my best friends is highly trained and educated in the ways of email marketing, sales funnels, automation, and e-commerce. On the other hand, I've taken maybe one course, hold no certifications, and only learned by doing, making mistakes, and breaking things.
He learned in a virtual classroom, and I learned in the streets.
(That was a joke.)
So, whenever my friend and I sit down to have a conversation about business, email marketing, and e-commerce, it's always an interesting talk. He talks about the ideal way of doing things, and the way things should work, and I talk about the things that I've done, the things that did work, and the results that I've gotten.
Don't get me wrong, I learn a tremendous amount from my friend, but action always trumps inaction. Successful people act first and ask questions later.
Several years ago, about 10 actually, I decided to start selling financial services products. I spent months learning, studying, and getting my certifications so I could legally sell investments.
I falsely believed that if I knew all the right things, and had all of the right information, I would be successful. I wanted to hold all of the knowledge before I talked to even a single customer. I wanted to prepare, plan, and I wanted to have all of the answers before I faced the questions.
And I failed.
In less than two years, I shut down the shop, closed my doors, and went back to work for somebody else. While I was busy studying, the people who were ultimately successful were out there taking action and selling their products.
Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim
Unfortunately, I see a lot of people who spend most of their time preparing and planning, and not enough time firing and taking action. While I fully believe in the power of preparation and practice, I'm also aware that most people fail to take action on what they've learned.
Remember my story about selling investments?
Well, I was the prime example of what it looks like to prepare, make ready, and try to aim, aim, and aim until I could hit the bulls-eye on the first shot. I wanted to have all of the knowledge so I could close every client I talked to.
And now, as a business coach, I see the same behaviors in many of my clients. Like I used to, they believe that they can plan their way to success, and avoid all mistakes along the way.
You can't plan your way to success, and you won't get it right the first time.
Imagine this scenario. Imagine that you're at the local billiards hall and you're about to shoot some pool.
You step up to the table, grab your cue, and set your shoulders. You position your hands and adjust your grip. Your eyes flicker from your sights to the target. You breathe in, out, in, out, and you're ready.
Now, if you're like I was in 2007, you believe that if you aim well enough, your shoulders are square enough, and your grip is tight enough, you'll hit the target. But, what you don't know is that the sights are off, the cue is slightly bent, and you can't see the tiny bumps and abrasions in the felt.
As in this example, in life, there are environmental things you cannot account for. When you're going after a goal, there are unseen obstacles you cannot prepare for or aim around.
You'd be much better off getting ready and then firing with without aiming. Sure, you need to make sure you're aiming in the right direction, but that shouldn't take you six months.
Fire before you're ready.
And when you do, you'll get much further much faster than if you spent all of your time aiming for the perfect shot. You're going to have to make changes, and by taking action, you'll get results faster so you can adjust.
Just Do It
When I first had the idea for this post, I said to myself, “Hey, that's a good idea for a blog post. You should write that down.” However, I know most of the ideas for posts that I write down never get written. I file them away as good ideas, but I fail to follow-up.
But, realizing that I was about to do what I wanted to tell people NOT to do, I sat down and started writing. I took action toward a goal I wanted to accomplish.
Successful people get started. They don't hem and haw and debate. When inspiration strikes, they don't wait until they have an entire plan laid out, they just get started.
In my post, The Science Behind Success, I said that you need a combination of three distinct traits. Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, also said there are three keys to success:
Ray Kroc's Keys to Success:
- Being at the right place at the right time
- Knowing you're there
- Taking action.
Anyone can have a good idea. Many people can get lucky. But very few people will take action toward putting that idea into place. Getting started is hard. Sticking with it is harder. But you can't finish if you never start in the first place.
The good news?
You don't have to get it right the first time. You just have to get moving.
Too Big to Fail
Our egos keep us from trying new things. Our egos are too big to allow us to do things that might not work, that might fail.
Most people fail to take action because they're afraid they will fail. They don't understand that failure is an ingredient, a key component, of success.
Successful people have learned that there is no success without failure, and you can't achieve your goals without making mistakes. In fact, we learn more when we make mistakes than when we get things right (oftentimes because we don't know why things worked).
We get so caught up in making the right choice, that we make no choice at all. We're afraid of choosing the wrong path or heading in the wrong direction, so we sit, wait, plan, and never get anywhere.
Successful people take action anyway, knowing they can reverse course, change directions, or even start over.
Over to You
What do you think of this post? Did I spur you to action? Or, will you wait til the time is right?