In order to get anywhere – either literally or metaphorically – we need to create and maintain a certain level of momentum. Sitting in your very-capable Porsche won’t get you anywhere unless you choose to start the engine, engage a gear (or six), steer the car and operate the pedals. In my time as a coach, trainer and teacher I’ve encountered many people who have not only been sitting in their Porsche for decades, but they’ve never even opened the garage door! Such a massive waste of talent, power and time.
The person who doesn’t find a way to create momentum is the person who won’t realise their dreams, move forward or explore their potential. Sadly, some people will spend their lives sitting in neutral, almost doing something but never really doing anything significant. Talent, opportunities, ideas and even brilliance will amount to nothing if we fail to create and maintain momentum. Consider the person in your life (past or present) who is/was always talking about their grand plans for greatness, success and change in their world. You know; the one who is great at the theory (the talking bit) but not so good at the practical (the doing bit).
Here’s some momentum-creating suggestions that work… if you work.
Procrastination is the enemy of potential, the refuge of the weak and a synonym for fear.
1. Take that first step and keep stepping. As anyone with a basic understanding of physics will tell you, maintaining momentum is significantly easier than creating it. The first step is both the scariest and the most empowering. It’s also the most important. Procrastination is the enemy of potential, the refuge of the weak and a synonym for fear. The vast majority of people who take that long-overdue first step usually say something very predictable like “I wish I had done this years ago” or “I don’t know what I was so afraid of”. Get your potential out of neutral, engage a gear, hit the gas and don’t look back. Everything after the first step is a blessing or a lesson.
2. Consider the cost of not changing. Imagine your life in five or ten years from now if you don’t change, if you don’t address the things you should and if you don’t pursue your dreams. Right now picture yourself being ten years older; you still haven’t made a significant decision, still haven’t taken that chance, still haven’t taken charge of your body, you’re still talking too much and doing too little, still coughing up the endless excuses, still being controlled by people and circumstances and still wasting your potential. Do you like that picture? Change is rarely about the right time and usually about the right attitude, choices and behaviours. Sometimes picturing what we don’t want is enough to get us moving in the right direction.
3. Gain some clarity and certainty. Get clear about what you want and don’t want for your life. Stop going through the motions and stop living that repetitive existence of habit – the one that makes you miserable and the one you really don’t want. The more certain you are about what you want, the easier it will be to stay focused, proactive and productive. If you don’t have clarity, then do your best to de-clutter your mind, step back, gain some perspective, spend more time by yourself, stop being so ‘busy’ (even for a day) and listen to that still small voice; it knows. When we make the effort to find some space, time and quiet and then genuinely listen, the clarity will come. The tricky bit can be when we find that clarity (about what we need to do) and it scares the crap out of us. When this happens, refer to point one!
4. Get excited. Excitement creates momentum. When we’re excited we do stuff. We overcome fears. We take chances. We make tough decisions. We push the boundaries. We explore our potential. We become solution-focused. We become more resourceful. Chat with any successful person about their goals and their passion and you’ll see what I mean about excitement. If you’re not excited (on some level) about your goals, then you may need to find some different ones.
5. Set deadlines. Set yourself some non-negotiable deadlines and make a public (or semi-public) declaration. Not everyone’s cup of tea but works well for many. Sometimes we’ve gotta put our butt on the line to create some real momentum. Don’t be scared of pressure, discomfort or deadlines; they can make all the difference and they can be your greatest teacher. By the way, I’m not suggesting that you do this some time in the future when it suits your schedule and the planets have aligned, I’m suggesting that you do it in the next five minutes.
Bossy I know.