We will not reach any goal without action and movement. But not every movement or activity constitutes an action.
Life is like riding a bicycle: We must move to keep balance. Nevertheless, if we move into a wrong direction, we will never reach.
But the world is full of opportunities for moving aimlessly, while powering the treadmills set up by other people solely for their own benefit. Therefore, it is essential to understand the difference between movement and action if we want to reach our goals.
Action is more than Movement
If we think about it, movement describes the mere process of change. This change or movement can run in any direction and can have different forms. It can have the shape of a circle or spiral. It can involve distinct steps. But common to all the different shades of movement it the fact, that movement needs energy.
Obviously, not all change is positive for us. To get positive results, we must direct the change. This means, we must direct our movement. We must decide, which outcome we want to achieve. And then, we must find targeted moves, that will allow these desired changes to materialize. Acting as opposed to moving randomly means now performing those well-defined acts we identified as helpful to induce the change we intend to see.
You Need a Plan
Your plan is a map, showing the terrain between your current state of affairs, and the reality you want to create for yourself. If you don’t have a plan, you must draw one up. Although you can include into your plan information and suggestions from others, you should not allow anybody to draw up a plan for you. There is a high probability, that any plan drawn up by a third person for you will neither fit your purpose nor lead you to your perfect world.
How to Build a Plan
A good plan has four different elements:
- The starting point
- The goal, the end point of the plan.
- Step stones leading from one milestone to the next
Overall, the plan is our tool to focus our energy and transform movement into action.
Let me now talk a bit more about the different elements of an action plan.an.
The Starting Point
If you want to change your life in a meaningful way, you need to asses your current situation as a first step. Your plan needs clear answers on the following questions:
- Where do I happen to be right now?
- How did I reach this point in my life?
- Where do I want to move from here?
The answers on those questions define the starting point of your quest for change. You know, where you are and the general direction you want to take.
The next element of the plan is the goal. Here you get specific about the intended outcome of the plan. Imagine in detail and with all your senses, how life will look like after you reached your goal! Dream your success and explore, what you would enjoy most in your new upcoming life. Check in your dreams also for unintended consequences of reaching your goal and adjust it step by step to strengthen the positives and eliminate negative aspects of your goal.
This process gives you clarity, connects your energy to the future state of your life as expressed in your goal and protects you from adopting goals, which shine in the first moment but turn out to have in the end a negative impact on your life.
Barriers and Hurdles as Milestones
Milestones mark the progress you make on your journey towards your goal. They come along as major hurdles and barriers, seemingly cutting off your way.
When you map out your path from your current reality towards a major goal, you will probably foresee at least some of those barriers. Try to order them in a useful sequence and appoint conquering them as your milestones or interim goals.
Such milestones are natural landmarks, making your the progress on your chosen path visible to you and to the world.
If we want to master a challenge, we must show up. The steps in our plan mark the path, leading us from one challenge to the next. Those steps are entirely doable, and often repetitive. But performing those simple steps is also a necessary condition for reaching our goal. Therefore, we need enough discipline and patience.
Let me give you an example to clarify this abstract concept. Imagine, that you decide you need to look for a new professional challenge, because you want to be able to pay for a decent school for your child. After clarifying your goal and interim goal, you need to take a sequence of steps:
You start by updating your resume. Then, you look for openings coming close to your intention. The obvious way is studying advertisements, but also contacting people you know to get a clear idea about the skillset you need for your new job. Next, you match your current skills with the skillset you need for the new job. Now comes the time to upgrade your skills, if needed.
After bringing yourself into perfect shape for the task at hand, you start to apply for your dream job. Activate to that end your personal network and apply for publicly advertised job openings. You will get invitations for job interviews.
Present yourself well, but don’t forget to listen carefully and observe the reactions of all people participating in the meetings. This will help you to refine your message, until you found the people who are willing to provide you the chance and the necessary support for tackling the new challenge you have been looking for.
The Plan is Essential for Transforming Movement into Action
The plan is our tool of choice to transform random movement in to deliberate movement and action. The time of wasting our energy and dancing to tune of other people’s pipes now is over, because we can observe and measure our progress. Whenever we see that our path deviates from the way mapped out in our plan, we have the chance to take a look and correct the situation.
At times, we must adapt our plan. But more often, we need to sharpen our focus, cut out the noise and shield ourselves from hostile influences and energy.
If we stay determined and focused, retaining at the same time the open mind to adapt and improve our plan, it will lead us without fail to our chosen goal.
This was the manuscript of episode 23 of the podcast Success and Inner Growth. Episode 24 will follow in the first days of 2022. The rough topic will be: “How to tackle a challenge.” You can find all episodes of the podcast here, and all manuscripts here.