As the end of the year approaches you may be among the many who are struggling over their 2013 business plans. How can I increase revenue and profitability, build a more successful career, increase my presence on social media and (fill in the blank).
To all of you I say, relax and don’t sweat it.
Stop Planning and Start Acting
I attended a seminar a number of years ago to hear a career coach talk about how to build your career. She said something that stopped me in my tracks and I’m reminded of it every time I start a planning cycle.
It should have been obvious but it was one of those light-bulb moments for me. So let me share it with you and hope that it has the same effect on you. Here’s what she said: stop planning and start acting.
I realized I had fallen into the trap of over-planning. I was working hard, so it wasn’t the same as procrastinating by calling a friend or wandering to the refrigerator or doing anything to avoid doing something.
No, planning had become a substitute for action. The perfectionist in me was looking for the 100% solution. But as the CEO at the bank where I used to work always said, “Let’s go for the 70% solution.” He was right. And so was the career coach. You can become paralyzed into inaction by looking for the solution that is guaranteed to work. But I think we all know that’s an illusion.
Learn From Your Actions
Instead, set a goal, and feel good about it. Remember the good feeling you had when you achieved something or the happiness you felt at someone else’s good fortune? Try to replicate that good feeling as you set your goal. Then –
- Plan a little
- Test a little
- Adjust the plan
- Test again
Simply by taking action you will learn from it. Taking action helps to build momentum and gain confidence. Sometimes taking the path of least resistance will give you the energy to keep going. Maybe you’ll need to refine your expectations, but you’re still moving ahead.
As I learned, this is not a perfect process. I grew to understand that as the landscape under my feet shifted, I needed to embrace change and recommit to my dreams on a regular basis. I’ve learned to enjoy the victories along the way.
Another quote from one of my favorite authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald, also serves as a constant inspiration, “Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist, but the ability to start over.”
So, if what you tried doesn’t work, adjust your plan and start over.