Are you holding back from making a major change that you know is best in the long term, but you just don’t know how to get started? Perhaps it’s changing your business model because of health care reform, integrating social media into your marketing and customer service practices, or developing and committing to that perpetuation plan.
Some decisions seem so large and daunting that the thought of making it happen can paralyze us into inaction.
A few years ago I wanted to make a career change, but the idea was huge for me. I wanted to break away from the safety of a paycheck and start a business – a business involving real money, a business partner, site scouting, build-out construction, city permitting and health department regulations. No small task. But using these three steps, my business partner and I made it happen. It was the scariest thing I’d done, and it turned into the most personally satisfying. I use this method any time I feel hesitant about making a commitment, and when I get to implementation, I am totally committed because I know it’s the right decision.
1. Educate yourself – Inaction often comes from a lack of knowledge and understanding which prevents us from being able to make a good decision. Overcome this by reading anything you can about the topic, and seek out advice from knowledgeable people.
However, be careful about turning to well meaning family and friends who might just tell you it is or isn’t a good idea without really having the knowledge to accurately assess the idea. You want to talk to people who know the subject matter so you can start to gather facts instead of emotional reactions.
2. Make a decision – But only in your mind. You’ve gathered your facts and you think you’re ready to commit, but still just hesitant about putting it out there publicly (This works for a team as well. Just keep it quiet amongst the team until you’ve collectively decided to move forward).
Instead, try it on for a while, and see how it feels. Think and act as though you’ve made the decision and the change. Does it feel right? Great, then go on to the next step of telling people about your decision. Create your own accountability. People love to see how others hold up to new commitments, so you can be sure they’ll ask!
If it doesn’t feel right, then try it again. Re-evaluate until you get it right.
3. Get started –One step at a time. Set a goal to accomplish one thing toward your goal each day. No matter how big or small, do something that will move you in the right direction. It might be making a phone call, buying a book on your topic, setting or attending a meeting, writing a plan or making a commitment to hire or reallocate resources. Some days will be more productive than others, and that’s okay. If you’ve got multiple people working on this project, then make sure everyone on the team participates in the one-thing-a-day program, and your results will be exponential.
Celebrate the accomplishment every day. This allows you to feel small bits of success which leads to confidence which leads to more success. The momentum will begin to build and may become your full-time focus because you’re genuinely ready to take it on and make the change.
"Can't Decide" photo by Kevin Spencer. "Decide" photo by mattw1ls0n.