One of the biggest deterrents to success is the would’ve, could’ve and should’ves. One of my favorite quotes is, “Be careful, or you might end up should’ing all over yourself.” The biggest differentiator between someone who enjoys a great deal of success, and those who simply wish for it, is taking massive action.
Have you ever felt like you know what to do; you’ve attended the motivational events, you’ve been on countless training calls, you know what your supposed to say, when you call a prospect. But, for some reason, when the rubber meets the road, you have a block, when it comes to getting the task done.
I’ve felt this way many times in my life. I used to live in the world of health and fitness. We owned a small health club chain, where I spent most of my time personal training others to achieve their goals. I spent almost a decade around fitness, nutrition, and being in the best shape of my life. More recently, however, I found myself struggling to get the job done. I know how what to eat. I know the exercise routines. But, it’s still been a constant battle, for me.
The good news is, if you are feeling demotivated, you can break the cycle. The secret is being well prepared, and knowing how to get yourself “unstuck”, when you find yourself in these situations.
Successful people ask the right questions, and as a result, they get the right answers. Let’s explore six powerful questions you can ask yourself to avoid should’ing all over yourself.
1. “What am I confused about?”
We naturally move away from things we don’t understand. We tend to avoid what we don’t know. The key to moving past this barrier, is to gather the appropriate knowledge needed, and then go do that activity over and over, until you gain more experience. Having the right knowledge will help you to feel more certain about what you need to accomplish. Experience leads to more competence. And competence is the key to having more confidence.
2. “What am I worried about?”
When we worry about something, our natural tendency is to avoid it, all together. Here is an example: “What if I look foolish if I try?” The mind immediately kicks in, as a protection mechanism and says, “Let’s just avoid the possibility all together?” Let’s just avoid the misery and go shopping instead.;)
By first identifying what we are concerned about, we can begin to determine whether the threat is real. For example, you might be thinking, “What if someone tells me No?” Or, “What are they going to think about me if…..?” Two very common fears holding people back from the success they desire.
By first acknowledging the fear, you can now begin to ask yourself a different series of questions. Such as, “What is the worst thing that happens if someone does tell me NO? Can I live with that? Who cares what people think about me? I can’t pay my bills with other people’s opinions. At the end of the day, what matters most, is whether or not I can provide for my family, and whether or not I achieve my goals. Some will. Some won’t. So what? Next!” #SWSWSWN. Sometimes, all it takes is giving yourself a little mental pep talk. This allows you to override the fears that are keeping you from taking action.
3. “What happens if I don’t take action?”
This is one of the most powerful questions you can ask, because it allows you to weigh the odds between the alternatives, and then make a sound decision, on which consequence would be worse.
For example: let’s say you have an overwhelming fear of what people are going to think of you, if you invite them to look at your business. That means you are suffering from what many refer to as, “Paralysis from analysis.” By asking the question, “What if I don’t take action?” and then listing all the consequences. I.e. “I won’t achieve my goal.” “I will feel like a failure.” “I will be stuck in this dead end career.” “I won’t have any money for retirement.” “I will be letting my family down.” “I won’t be able to take the family on vacation like I promised.” Etc. It puts things in the right perspective.
4. “What habits can I change?”
Does this sound familiar: you sit down and say, “I’m going to make some phone calls.” But first you go through your little routine; you get your drink ready, you check your emails, log on Facebook to update your status, check the news feeds to see what everyone else is up to, etc. Finally, you pull out your name list, that you could potentially call, get a little bit nervous, and then you get distracted by some other task that keeps you “busy.” That’s a bad habit.
Tony Robbins talks a lot about changing patterns. He says, “To break a limiting or destructive habit pattern, you can use a pattern interrupt.” A pattern interrupt is anything sudden and unexpected you do that totally defies the pattern and therefore breaks you out of it. Take a moment right now to think up your own enjoyable ways to break your limiting patterns and write down at least five of them. It can be anything to throw the pattern off. Something physical – such as a gesture, touch or a change in physiology – or something in your mind, such as a phrase in your mind’s ear, or a visualization in your mind’s eye.
The next time you become aware that you are in – or are about to start a limiting pattern, use one of these “interrupts” to stop it and to give yourself a choice in how to respond, instead of just reacting habitually. Each time you interrupt a pattern, it will become harder to get back into it. Eventually, if you interrupt it enough times, you will not automatically get into it anymore. What makes pattern interrupts even more powerful is that they themselves become habitual, after you have used them for a while, so they will automatically interrupt your negative patterns whenever they occur.
What you have to do, at this point in time, is break the routine that is adversely affecting your productivity. You have to do something entirely different to break the routine and rekindle your motivation.
5. “How will things improve if I choose to ACT NOW?”
It’s vital to have a crystal clear picture of what you want most in life. In other words, get real clear on the payoff. You wouldn’t wake up in the morning and just start driving, without knowing where you’re heading. Why would you live your life that way? Think about why professional athletes spend tens of thousands of hours in practice on the field? They do it for the thrill of victory, during the big game. The chance at winning a championship, and overall sense of accomplishment, is worth the sacrifice. They constantly visualize what it will feel like when they achieve victory. It’s one of the reasons reporters ask Olympic Athletes, “Was standing on that podium everything you imagined.” The reality is the elite performer spends much of their life visualizing what it will feel like, when they do WIN!
By defining what it is we want, vividly, we begin to see a road map that will take us there. This includes the day to day, mundane activities, that will lead us to the promised land. I am a big fan of making a dream board. I am also a fan of making itemized written lists of HOW your life will improve, if you take action. The next time you are struggling to act, you can pull out the list and visualize what it will feel like to bring home the gold! 😉
From there it’s simply a matter of decision….
6. “How bad do I wan’t it?”
I’m going to tell you a little story. It’s about a man who wanted to know the secret of success, and decided to find out from a Guru. Now this was a wise, old sage who knew every secret of Life. He lived in splendid isolation on a mountain-top. Our hero set out on his difficult journey to meet this wise man. He was determined to reach the top, and so he got over many obstacles on his way. Fighting through thick forests, scaling huge boulders, escaping from wild beasts, at last he clambered to the peak and lay on the ground, gasping for breath.
A few minutes later, he sat up… and beheld the Guru seated in deep meditation. Silently, he waited. Almost an hour later, the Guru opened his eyes and glanced at the man. He raised an inquiring eyebrow. The man stammered, “Oh wise and all-knowing seer, I come to you in search of the secret of success.” The Guru didn’t reply. He simply stood up and started walking down the hill.
The man followed. He found it difficult to keep pace with the old man, who seemed to skip from one rock to the other like a mountain-goat. They walked steadily for another hour, and he wondered if they were going back to the foothills. Suddenly, they came upon a clearing. In the middle was a clear lake. The waters were still, glinting softly in the rays of a setting sun.The Guru walked up to the edge of the lake and beckoned the man closer. With a gesture, he asked him to kneel down. Unquestioningly, the man did as the Guru ordered.
Suddenly, he felt himself seized by a strong hand at the back of his neck. His head was forced down under the water, and held there firmly. “This is some kind of test,” said the man to himself, as he sat still. A minute passed, and he was growing breathless. The grip on his neck hadn’t weakened. Another minute crawled by, and now he was getting anxious. His heart beat heavily in his chest, his throat tightened, and his lungs screamed for air.
He struggled to arise, and the old man’s grip became even stronger, pressed him further down into the water. Now, the man was in a panic. He thrashed around wildly, trying with all his energy to loosen the vise around his neck. Precious seconds passed, and he felt his strength slowly ebbing away. He thought he was going to die! Just as he was about to give up hope, rueing his folly in ever coming here, the hand on his collar let go.
Violently leaping onto the shore, the man drew in his breath in heaving gasps. Delicious oxygen flooded his lungs. His vision grew clearer, the hammering in his throat slowed down, his hands stopped trembling. And he felt a deep anger welling up from within himself. Standing up, he faced the Guru and screamed: “Are you CRAZY? You could have killed me!” The Guru simply stared at him for a long moment.Then he spoke for the first time. “You wanted to know the secret of success. Here it is. Do you remember, just a few minutes ago, how badly you wanted to take that next breath of air? When you want success that badly, you will have it. That’s the secret of success.” Without saying another word, he turned around and walked back to his hilltop abode.
The graveyard is full of good intentions. If we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently, that matters most!
In the spirit of success,
Travis A. Flaherty
CEO/Founder – Entrepreneur Life, Inc.
Ps. If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy our recent training: “StoryTelling Marketing” located inside the Entrepreneur Life **FREE** Video Coaching Library. Click the link above to register for a free account, and to gain immediate access to our extensive collection of Entrepreneur training videos.