My recent post How I Built a Business That Replaced My 9-5 Income the Month After I Quit has been one of my most popular. In it, I break down all the actions I took to build my business from scratch, leave my job, and replace my income immediately.
Recently, I got coached live inside Self Coaching Scholars, the monthly coaching program by Brooke Castillo. I got coached on an issue I was having with Sundays. To make a long story short: Brooke asked me what I wanted to do on Sundays. I said I wanted to hire a babysitter for my toddler so I could sit in church on Sunday mornings and hear my husband preach (instead of volunteering in Sunday school to corral our son, who’s technically too young for Sunday school). We worked through some of the blocks I was having to taking action.
Two days later my friend texted me and say, “Hey! I saw you get coached! I hope you get that babysitter!” I told her I had already hired our regular babysitter to work Sunday mornings. She was like, “You’re a shark. You get shit done! That was only two days ago. You should write a blog post about your top tips for taking action.”
So here we are!
I’ve always been like this. About ten years ago, I was having a really hard time and I told my friend I wanted to see a therapist. When I talked to her a week later, I had already been to my first therapy appointment. She was like, Damn! You don’t mess around!
Let’s take some action! Here are my top 5 tips for taking action.
1. Remember that action alleviates anxiety.
I heard this phrase recently from Sara Deane of the Shameless Mom Academy. SO TRUE. You can either sit around being anxious about something, or you can take the first small step towards tackling it. Which might just be…
2. Face the reason you AREN’T taking action.
If you’re feeling stuck somewhere, get out a piece of paper and write about your situation. Why are you stuck? How are you stuck? Why aren’t you taking the next right step?
You might be afraid. Then deal with your fear. Talk with a trusted friend or hire a coach. Then: do it afraid.
I’m afraid basically every time I pick up the phone to call a client. I PICK UP THE PHONE ANYWAY. Fear doesn’t mean stop. It means you’re a human.
If you’re telling yourself you don’t know what to do next, I want you to check yourself.
What would you do if you DID know?
If you don’t know how to do the next thing, your next step is to figure out how to do it. Teach yourself, take a class, hire someone.
Then: imagine yourself a week or a month or a year in the future. You’ve done the thing you were afraid to do (quit your job, found a new job, had a baby, got married, got divorced … whatever).
Ask your future self: what were you thinking and feeling that helped you take action?
Then create those thoughts and feelings for yourself NOW.
3. Decide faster.
Oh my gosh, thank you Brooke Castillo for teaching me this.
I spend a LOT of time in indecision.
Should we go on that vacation? Or not? Spend that money? Or save? Should I start a business? Or look for a job?
You can spend years of your life not deciding, which is in itself a decision. It’s a decision not to act. A decision to stay where you are.
Because to move on from where you are, you have to decide to do something different.
Decide faster. Take action. You will learn SO MUCH from taking action. Like what doesn’t work. What kinds of jobs you don’t like. What kinds of men you don’t want to date.
When you remove yourself from that dithering energy, you build up SO MUCH MOMENTUM.
Here’s another great trick: give yourself a deadline for making the decision. Tell yourself, I have one more week to think about this, and then I’m going to decide. Ask someone to hold you accountable.
Once you decide, stick to your decision. No backsies. You can always change course AFTER you’ve taken some action.
4. Go all in.
When I joined Scholars, I joined for a year. It’s a monthly program and you can quit anytime, but I made a decision to see it through for the whole year. Having that commitment has been life-changing. I did the work every single day and felt like I wasn’t changing … I wasn’t changing … I wasn’t changing … and then, at about the six month mark, I realized I felt like a completely different person inside.
More confident. More joyful. Less stressed. Less insecure.
I am so beyond grateful. But if I had quit in month 1, or 3, or 5.5, I never would have realized those results.
Likewise: I just joined a crazy-expensive business building program. I start in September. I’m kind of terrified, but I am committed to SHOWING UP. I am going to do everything they tell me to do, even when I want to throw up (see next point). When I committed to the program, I asked the two women I’d talked to: what do I need to do to be the most successful person in the program this year? They gave me some advice, and I’m going to take it. I’m not half-assing this.
I’m not wondering whether I’m going to make back my investment. I’m going to work like crazy until I double, triple, quadruple my investment. Watch out, world!
5. Join Barf Club.
I recently told my coach that I had set myself a big revenue goal for August. It was halfway through the month, and panic was setting in. “I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong,” I said. “I know I shouldn’t be panicking.”
Au contraire, she said. What if you just expected panic as part of the process? But instead of reacting from panic, you work on your brain and create thoughts and feelings and actions that will get you the result you’re aiming for.
It’s Barf Club, she said. In other words: do something every month that is so scary you want to barf. Just expect that you’ll be scared, and do it anyway.
I am so there. I pitched a client recently who came to the table with a budget that’s about ten times bigger than any project I’ve ever done. And I realized my biggest fear wasn’t that she wouldn’t hire me — it was that she WOULD.
6. Break it down.
This is another of my favorite tips.
Before I left my job, one of my coworkers asked if I would sit down with her and tell her how I was so productive.
We walked through a list of project tasks associated with producing a proposal in response to an RFP (Request for Proposal) from a school district or state.
One that she’d written down was, “Organize references.”
I told her that this wasn’t a task. It was a project.
She was like, “what?!”
Here are the tasks involved involved in completing a section on references:
- Brainstorm past clients we’ve worked with whose projects were similar to the ones we’re proposing
- Email my boss to propose the clients I’ve come up with.
- Get her feedback and go back and forth about who we should include.
- Once we have a list of 3 clients, confirm with her who are the best contact people at these districts. Confirm that these people still work at the district.
- Coordinate outreach to these contact people to ask their permission to use them as a reference. (This usually involves a few different people in the organization, depending on who has the best relationship with that person.)
- Gather contact information for these three people.
- List the contacts and format correctly within the proposal narrative.
When my colleague was looking at the task “organize references,” she had no idea where to start. When I gave her the list of tasks above, she knew exactly where to start.
if you have a task you haven’t been taking action on, ask yourself if it’s really a project disguised as a task. See if you can break it down into smaller pieces.
Then: see if you can complete one of the pieces today.
7. Give yourself the gift of completion.
Take one of those small tasks that you broke down and complete it. It’ll be a huge load off your mind.
Are you a coach or consultant who runs an online business? Through early September 2018, I’m offering a totally free landing page audit. You get my expert advice plus at least 5 actionable tips to improve the copy on your landing page or sales page for better conversions. The best part? You can implement these tips yourself, immediately. Sign up here.
August 26, 2018