What Are You Going To Do Now?

This is the question of first actions.  What are you going to do first?  We got here by asking a series of important questions about who you are, what you want, why you want it, when, where, and how you’re going to get it.  Now it’s time to do something.

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Before you answer this question, I want to say something about the concept of incremental improvement.  An easy way to think about this is to visualize the journey of a thousand miles.  That’s a long way to go, especially if you’re walking.  It might seem completely impossible, or at least improbable, when you think about it all at once.  But, you can’t quit, you’re gonna walk that entire thousand miles.  So, instead of sprinting at first and burning yourself out–or, on the other end of the spectrum, never making it out of the house on account of analysis paralysis–you’re going to take it one step at a time by putting one foot in front of the other.

Another one is the idea of drops in a bucket.  It takes a lot of drops of water to fill a bucket, but eventually they do: one drop at a time.  Your job when you get to the question of, “What are you going to do now?” is to figure out what that first step–or that first drop–is going to be.  If your goal was to save a big pile of money up in the bank, your first step might be opening an account with the minimum balance.  It’s not a huge pile, but it’s a start, and if you continue to put in $100 from every paycheck, it may soon be a huge pile.

More Bang For Your Buck

Now the next big idea is about leverage.  Which small actions will get the largest effects?  For example, picking the straightest route for your thousand-mile walking journey, preferably a route that is unobscured by brush or rubble and is mostly downhill.  That way, each step actually gets you somewhere.  For the savings account example, maybe it’s finding an account with a great interest rate and no fees, so your contributions and interest accumulate faster.

When you’re deciding what to do first in the pursuit of your goal, you need to start with some small action that has a big effect.  This way you get the psychological and emotional reinforcement that you’ve done something, it’s working, and you’re going to continue doing something.  Set yourself up for success so that you can enjoy a series of small victories on the way to your major victory.

Now Go Do

At this point, the time for asking questions is over.  You’ve answered my 7 questions, so that means you’ve thought deeply about meaning–about knowing who you are and what you’re about–you’ve thought deeply about the goal–what it is, why you want it, when and where you will achieve it–and you’ve put together a plan of how to get it and what to do first.  Going forward, you may never need to look at this plan again.  You’ve done the work and internalized it.  Now there’s nothing left to do but go do it.

Published by nicnakis

Nicholas |nik-uh-luhs| n. a male given name: from Greek words meaning "victory of the people" John |jon| n. a male given name: from Hebrew Yohanan, derivative of Yehohanan "God has been gracious" Nakis |nah-kis| n. a Greek family name derived from the patronymic ending -akis (from Crete) Amha |am-hah| n. an Ethiopian given name meaning "gift", from Geez Selassie |suh-la-see| n. Ethiopian name meaning "trinity", from Geez

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