Pick ONE Thing and Go All the Way
Are you full of new ideas that never get implemented?
Do you suffer from your own lack of follow-through on your great ideas or dreams?
A few weeks ago, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in several years. The last time I talked with him, he had had a self-described mid-life crisis, become disillusioned with his 25-year corporate career, and as he tells it, quit his job to ” pursue his dreams”. So of course, I was curious to hear about his new life and the progress he had made along the dream pursuit.
He sheepishly described the past five years as a painful revelation.
“I am so full of ideas and things I want to do,” he began. “As soon as I start moving in a direction I think I want to go in, I stop when I don’t see immediate results and decide to do something else. I never follow through.”
He described his journey over the past five years as follows:
Year 1: Tries to figure out what he wants to do —
Years 2-4: Decides to write a book about his corporate experiences—finds the self-discipline too hard so shifts gears and starts a more executable blog instead—
Gets disillusioned with the non-response to the blog after a few months and instead starts a consulting business and launches a company website—finds the marketing too hard and gives up on the consulting—
Takes martial arts teacher training and decides to become a martial arts teacher—finds this too limiting so drops out of the training
Decides to take wellness coaching training and become a wellness coach—drops out after two months because too many people are doing the same thing and have more experience and training
Present (Year 5): Now he’s back at square 1—thousands of spent dollars later—and is trying to figure out what new idea he wants to pursue now.
Sound familiar in any way? Can you relate to at least some of this? Are you full of ideas and dreams but have trouble picking one and following through long enough to allow it to manifest and take root in a tangible form?
I see this pattern over and over again with my clients and frequently hear them describe this exact same dilemma. Their ideas are appealing and plentiful—but the deliberate planning, hard work, concrete and consistent action, perseverance, persuasion, courage, risk, and unyielding confidence it takes to make them manifest in reality is often non-existent or short-lived. I personally can relate to the dilemma and also to the self-induced frustration this inevitably produces.
A former boss in a large Fortune 200 company once gave me some feedback that I think captures the gist of the solution here.
“You are innovative and have so many ideas—but that isn’t what makes your innovation a strength. Your particular strength comes from your unique ability to pick one of those innovative ideas, make it tangible, and make it happen.”
Case in point. When I decided to write a book, I had four very different ideas on what the book would be about. I started one, wrote about 50-60 pages, and then decided to switch to the other idea. Over three years, I had four different manuscripts going, each half-written. Frustrating to say the least—because the actual finished book product was no-where to be found. I had all these innovative ideas—but no book to show for it. Until one day I asked myself—how had I made things happen in the past? How had I taken my ideas in the past, over and over again, and made them happen—as my former boss and others had described as my key strength?
The answer was simple. I picked ONE and went all the way with it.
That was it.
I was making it too hard.
So I immediately switched gears, picked one of the manuscripts, created a plan, blocked all of the negative chatter running through my head about whether it was good or perfect enough or not, and stuck to it. When I had the urge to change gears yet again or follow another idea—I resisted—telling myself I could do that AFTER I finished this book. The book blossomed and was finished four months later because I decided to pick ONE idea and summoned the courage, perseverance, confidence, and hard work needed to follow through with finishing this idea and turning it into concrete reality.
So what about you?
What ideas do you have that you want to make happen?
What is holding you back from following through?
Do you stop or switch gears before your idea has a chance to manifest?
Do you persevere and go all the way–doing what it takes to implement your idea into reality?
Decide today to pick ONE idea. Just ONE.
And then commit to yourself to go all the way with it until it manifests into tangible reality.
Not half way.
Not only until it gets too hard.
Go all the way until it manifests…
I’d love to hear about your experience at the end.
Quotable thought of the day: “Just do it…”
As always– do send me a note with your comments, reactions, experiences, and stories.
I am always so thrilled to get so many notes with your reactions and hear about your experiences.