Until middle school my main goal in life was to be a professional hockey player. I ate, drank, and dreamed hockey. We had a cement fireplace cutout in the basement where I spent hours and hours shooting pucks. I dressed up my brother in all the padding I could find so I could hurl hard rubber disks at him. Funny how the realities of life catch up to your dreams. I was a big kid, slow and steady on skates, I worked hard but nowhere near the caliber to make it into the pros. Hockey is part of my soul and when I moved to Colorado 20 years ago the Avalanche became my team. But I digress…
Back to my headline: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzsky
How many times to we look at our lives and wonder what if? What if I had made other decisions? What if I had taken action on this? There are great things we did and great decisions we made. I’m talking about the ones we regret. The what ifs where we wish we had done something and not cowered in fear. These are the shots not taken and missed. We can go down this road of regret and work ourselves up in a frenzy of frustration. Without hope we might as well stay in bed, right? We discussed hope here.
How do we take more action? How do we take more “shots” at our goal?
First, we need to make sure we are shooting at the right goal. We need to stop and take a breath and ask ourselves: “Am I working towards the right end goal?” “Is the ladder I’m climbing against the right wall?” In other words you need to know what you want to achieve in the end. Who you want to be and what you want to accomplish. We’ve all seen the sports footage of the player who scores on his own goal. Make sure you are shooting and scoring on the right goal.
Second, what is the next thing I can do that will move me towards my end result? I have read many books and taken many courses about personal productivity and have not really found any one system that works for me. I’m not sure if I have an issue with the different structures or the many lists but one thing has stuck with me from all of them. What is the next step? What is the next action? What is the most important thing I can do right now to move closer to my goal? What can I learn today that will move me forward?
Third, what’s stopping me from doing that next thing? I’m a thinker. I think through every possibility and spend lots of brain cycles working through every situation. Sometimes fear comes from thinking too much. Analysis paralysis comes from over thinking everything and not actually doing anything. The anticipation of the event is worse than the actual event. Stop thinking about it and do it. Adapt after taking action and change course if needed but don’t be paralyzed by over thinking.
In the end it’s a matter of getting started and taking action as much and as soon as possible. We can mire in analysis paralysis or we can do something. Even if we haven’t decided our end goal or we are still working on what we want, action will move us forward. Action gets you what you want. Action helps you overcome fear. Take action today!