I attended a conference about ten years ago, where a number of business leaders and motivational speakers gave inspirational talks that seemed to move my very soul. Their words seemed to light a fire within me and awaken the urge and hunger to succeed.
Towards the end of their talk, each of these speakers promised to satisfy that hunger for success. All I needed to do, was purchase their special curriculum that held all of the tools for my new future.
I bought one of these packages, from a gentleman who seemed to be able to look straight into my heart and read all of my hidden aspirations and dreams.
In that moment, I felt $299 was a small price to pay for the formula to success.
I can remember carrying that $299 box of all his success philosophies to my car.
I was bubbling with the hope and possibility for tomorrow. I had been unbelievably motivated and inspired. Tomorrow would be the first day of the rest of my new life!
Then tomorrow came.
I was still somewhat inspired. I was still somewhat motivated, but the emotional high that I experienced yesterday was slowly waning.
I was back in the real world, with real priorities and real problems, and that $299 box for success didn’t come with any extra time.
Buying this box was only the first step.
As I perused the material in the box, one thing was clear…
If I wanted that success my stomach ached for yesterday, I was going to have to do a lot of extra work.
I can recall thinking, “Hmmm…for some reason I thought it would be easier than this. I’ll take a look at these binders tomorrow.”
…and with that decision, I made the most common mistake that robs us of our dreams.
For the next year, that box of binders (notice how it’s not the box for success any more) sat in my office until I put them on the shelf of a new bookcase. I didn’t open any of them.
Over that year I grew to resent the box.
I resented the gentleman who sold me the box.
In my opinion, the box had done nothing but put me $299 in the hole.
My story sound familiar?
I’m sure many of you have similar stories as well.
The story illustrates a common mistake we often make…the mistake of procrastinating, when we get inspired.
Most of us have heard the quote by Jim Collins, “Good is the enemy of great.”
We know this. We understand it and we desire to overcome the status quo of good.
Unfortunately, the emotional experience of motivation and inspiration doesn’t equip us for the conflict introduced by the change management process of trying to go from good to great.
So how do we use the emotional energy of motivation and inspiration to overcome the conflict of change in our lives?
Daniel Pink provides an answer in his book, “Drive”, called FLOW.
He suggests this: when you’re feeling motivated or inspired, use that emotional energy to immediately move into action. FLOW means being in the moment!
It may be early in the morning, it may be midnight. If that’s when inspiration hits you…FLOW!
Many of my best ideas have popped into my head at 4 o’clock in the morning.
They come with a surge of energy that I can use to FLOW.
I know that to turn over and go back to sleep would be a huge mistake. I do not procrastinate. I get up and FLOW!
In the book, “Switch: How To Change Things When Change is Hard”, Chip and Dan Heath offer us a few more tips on how we can turn motivation and inspiration into action.
They instruct us to continuously motivate ourselves throughout the change process. Also, when feeling inspired, they suggest you immediately begin brainstorming your stay motivated and stay inspired plan! (This is FLOW…just in case you didn’t know.)
The Heath brothers, also suggest that we shrink our change. If your goal is to run a marathon and you’ve never jogged in your life, the idea of running 26.2 miles can be overwhelming. So, maybe your first form of exercise should be a one mile walk everyday for the first week.
So, plan for failure by setting up a Plan B and Plan C.
If the one mile walk in the morning doesn’t happen because you woke up too late, execute Plan B by walking that mile during your lunch. Having multiple plans ensure you will still take action after inspiration has dwindled. It also eliminates excuses.
The next step they provide, is to look at the plans that are going right and mimic them to gain traction on other goals. Look at your bright spots and focus on your wins.
This is a lot to digest, but I wanted to give you all adequate tools that will move you from motivation and inspiration into action.
Here is the ACTION recap:
- Good is the enemy of great. Get dissatisfied with your current state.
- Don’t procrastinate.
- Create a “Stay Motivated Plan”.
- Shrink your change (Set realistic goals)
- Plan to fail. Know your Plan B and Plan C.
- Look at the bright spots and focus on your wins!
Oh…and remember to stay inspired; it’s a lifestyle choice!