Once you’ve set your strategy, you’ve got to make it happen. Once you’ve clarified what to do, you’ve got to do it. Once you’ve decided on your destination, you’ve got to set sail. It’s that simple.
This is the third shift that all aspiring leaders must make: to create momentum.
But so many people get distracted. They prefer to do their email, check their social media, or pick some other minor task that feels more important or more achievable than working towards their top goals.
Why is that? What holds people back from achieving their biggest goals? In my experience, it is generally one of two simple reasons:
- Fear of success: if you were to achieve your goals and have the success you dream of, other things would change. The life you currently live would no longer be the same. You may, subconsciously, not have dealt with this fully and instinctively prefer to stay within your current safety zone
- Fear of failure: what if you try and don’t succeed? What will people make of you? What will you make of yourself? Will your effort have been worth it? Or should you focus on those minor tasks you know you cannot fail to deliver?
To tackle these fears, as with any others, you’ve got to take them head on. As Susan Jeffers said, “feel the fear and do it anyway!”
Take focused action. Focus each day on your goals. I urge you to physically write down your goals and the key steps you need to take towards them. Do this each and every day – at least in short form. It tattoos into your conscious brain what you need to focus on and encourages your subconscious brain to filter for what’s going to help as you go through the day.
And as you take daily, focused action make sure that you’ve got a great planning system to keep you on track. Break down your goals into more achievable “way markers” and plot and adjust your actual course against these, much as in sailing: a long journey has points along the way that the navigator will steer the ship towards and make adjustments against as the boat moves through currents, winds and waves.
I encourage the individuals, teams and organisations I work with to break down their goals into quarterly objectives; for the next quarter to break these down into monthly objectives; and for the next month to break these down into weekly objectives. Then you can plan your days and know you’re heading in the right direction, even if you get blown a bit of course sometimes. This system enables you to track, readjust and get back on course.
If your goals are musts that truly engage your heart, if you are fully committed to achieving them and if you use a great system to plan and focus your time, you will turn your strategy into action and achieve great results fast.
One final productivity tip on creating momentum is to focus your time and energy into 90 minute blocks: carve four 90 minute blocks into your day and spend those blocks working on your top goals in a focused, coherent and concerted way. It doesn’t matter what you do in between but during these peak productivity blocks turn off your social media, email and phone and use that time to produce. Focus, focus, focus! You will amaze yourself. I promise you.