I am a great believer that opportunities are everywhere. When we are looking for them, we stumble over them. With all the distractions in our lives, we may miss them, brush them aside or mumble something to ourselves about getting back to ‘that’ later. Sadly, later never seems to come. Why? From my vantage point, I get to see colleagues master their studies, pouring hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into the pursuit of education only to let their new skills languish. They seem unable to move to the next step to build their careers or businesses. What’s stopping them? In coaching, we talk about “being” before we can have. We discuss the motivational gap between where we are and where we want to be. Yet, it is more than just theory to know what we want and outline a plan. At some point, we must decide we have completed our education or a particular stage of development and are ready to move into the next right action.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. If you were to come to me for coaching, I would ask you ‘what do you want?’ We would look for the idea that inspires you. We would look at where you are and where you want to be. Perhaps you will realize that you need an education to prepare yourself to pursue this idea, after which you will find a way to make it a career. You research what is required, formulate a plan and then take the necessary steps to find a school, become a student, take classes, study and complete your courses. What happens next? You begin to look for ways to work with your idea. You may feel as if you are back at square one. You still have the vision of your idea. Now you have added education. You have skills and abilities that enable you to use your idea, but you may lack a system that enables you to connect into the commerce system around you. You lack access to the power grid, the network.
Napoleon Hill wrote that Success comes to those who have the power generated by organized effort around a purpose and a plan. As we complete one aspect of our original plan, we have grown to a new level. The old plan may no longer serve our greater purpose, or may need to be refined, fleshed out in light of new developments of which we were unaware at the time of our original conception. The next indicated stage may be too broadly described with insufficient detail to apply in physical action. In an ideal world, as we approached the completion of each step of our journey, we would take the time to review our plans and determine what will come next – before we throw up our hands in dismay.
But say we arrive at this moment of revelation that we have no idea what to do next. That is not the time to give up in despair. We continue to work together. We acknowledge your accomplishments and look at how that has changed the ‘job’ requirements. We may go back to the research stage, asking the same questions again. What do you want? Where are you now? Looking around you at those who are already doing what you want to do, find out how they got there. Contact these role models. Find out when they will be in your area, read about them. Find out what in the path to their success can help you gain access to those that help you do the same.
Once we know what we have to do, then we need to create or duplicate the system they used. This may be as simple as 10 phone calls a day, 5 meetings per week. When I was in this same position, I was stunned to discover that the razor’s edge difference between success and failure could be as simple as making the calls and taking the meetings. Set a goal for yourself and do whatever it takes to meet those goals. Pay no attention to the circumstances around you. Spend no time lamenting or feeling upset if you cannot do everything you set out to do. Do what you can do consistently. Take work to keep bread on the table and a roof over your head as necessary while you hold the vision of what you really want to do, then dedicate whatever time you can, every day, to move toward that goal.
One of the lessons I’ve learned moving from project to project in television production is that the truly successful are those who have the ability to repeat the process with each new venture. We take an idea, inspire others to join us, figure out how to make it happen, and then act. We move through a series of stages handled by different departments – development, production, distribution. Most of us specialize in one aspect of the overall process. Others have the knowledge to manage each stage as a project moves through the process.
We’re just getting ready to do that on the Think and Grow Rich Experiment project. We have written our plan and are completing a sizzle reel that will be our marketing package in order to attach talent and raise the money to produce a documentary. Completion of these two tasks places us in a new position. We will now have the tools to market our idea. It requires new actions and a systematic approach for the producing team. This is roughed out in the business plan. Now, we will refine it into actionable items that we can do repeatedly while we seek funding. Only when the funding is in place will we move into yet another stage for our project, the actual production. Moving forward to approach investors before we had the tools in place would have been counterproductive. Starting to produce without funds would be problematic. Each step has its own tasks to complete. If we take the time to discover them and build the necessary system around them, we are in a good position to accomplish our goals.
If you find yourself in this moment between stages, pause for a moment to review. What was your idea? Where did you begin? What steps have you accomplished? What did your role model do at this stage? Make a list of the next steps you can take to move you forward and break them into small actions that you can do each day until they become positive habits that support your endeavors. Systems may get more complicated over time, but these basic habits will form a solid foundation to build upon in all endeavors.
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