Success is not sometimes in the actualization phase; it’s always in the actualization phase.
The longer I lead, the more I understand this to be true.
John Maxwell shares a story about a lesson he learned from his dad as a kid.
Melvin said to John, “Five frogs were sitting on a log and four decided to jump off. How many frogs are left on the log?”
“One!” John responded with great confidence.
Then Melvin surprised John with the point of the story: “All five frogs remain on the log, son. Deciding isn’t enough! You have to take action.”
Did you catch that? Deciding isn’t enough.
In order to be successful, you have to take action. Here are four keys to becoming a person of action:
1. Overcome Your Fears
Fear has the power to paralyze you and keep you from taking action. How has fear hindered your progress? Has it held you back from pursuing a new career, a job promotion, innovating a product, or reinventing your business? Where does that fear come from? Maybe it’s a fear of failure; or if you’re like me, a fear of not having all the answers.
The first step to overcoming fear is to identify it. Then you will better understand how to take action to overcome it.
2. Be Prepared to Make Quick Decisions
Responding quickly doesn’t mean you are unprepared. In fact, you have to be even more prepared to respond well under pressure when a quick decision is required.
As John Wooden said, “When opportunity comes it’s too late to prepare.”
Here’s something I do to prepare for quick decisions: I actually think through some situations and decide beforehand how I will react when the time comes.
3. Have a Growth Plan
Growth’s highest reward is not what you get from it, but what you become through it. When you know where you want to grow, making decisions will be easier and your actions will be more effective.
Set aside some time on the calendar at end of each year to develop a growth plan for the following year. I have been doing this for over 20 years now and I encourage everyone I mentor to do the same.
4. Become an Early Riser
Thomas Jefferson woke up early every day. There was actually a fifty-year period in Jefferson’s life during which the sun never caught him in bed. Jefferson had an appetite for action.
Maybe you’re not ready to race the sun every morning, but you can start by getting up an extra 30 minutes early. When you wake up, think about new ideas that inspire and motivate you, then jot them down. You will be surprised by how this jumpstarts your productivity for the day.
John Maxwell challenges me regularly to be a person of action. He believes, “Whoever acts more during the day becomes more, does more, has more and can help more.”
Every successful person I have ever been around has a high capacity for taking action. They understand that it takes hard work to accomplish their goals.
Good intentions are completely worthless if you never turn them into good actions.
How many times have you made a decision that you didn’t take action on? It’s time to reverse that process! Transformation is a result of application. If you want to see transformation, don’t talk, act; don’t say, show; don’t promise, prove.