With so much happening today on social media, it’s easy to get caught up talking about what we want to do and our dreams, without actually putting in the work! Significant results require action – not just a good idea and certainly not just telling others about what we want to do!
The rubber meets the road when we take that dream for our life or business and consistently work towards it. More often than not, it’s not just one step. It’s a series of many small steps. Perhaps failures and life lessons. Sometimes that road to significant results is long and a tough haul!
Talking about your dreams can either help or harm you! There’s no point talking about it if you aren’t taking intentional action!
On the other hand, sometimes talking allows you to get clarity about your purpose, the why, and your values. If you are talking to the right person, you can clearly identify what you can do about it.
But who should you be talking to and what should you be talking about? When should you simply keep your mouth shut, communicating with actions rather than words?
Sometimes talking dilutes energy, rather than giving you significant results!
There are times when keeping your goals and aspirations a secret is your best chance of following through. You might already have heard that you won’t do what you talk about. This is known as being the intention-behaviour gap. Psychologically, there is a space between having a good intention and actually living up to what you intend to do. This is the space between your goal, the first steps and actually achieving your goals.
What happens is you speak about your goals, and you receive praise for what you intend. With the praise, your body gives you a shot of dopamine from your pleasure/reward centre in your brain. Presto! You have lost the motivation and interest in actually acting! Because you already received the reward.
So, if you are speaking or writing on social media, Facebook or in small talk with friends about your dreams, you might unknowingly be sabotaging your efforts. Especially if this talk is all about the image you are projecting out into the world. Are you concerned with who people think you are? Or do you value the results you actually get?
That’s why, on social media, you see so much talk about “what I want”. Whether you want to be healthy, to be fit, to make more money, build better relationships – take note of which people are all talk and little action! Which ones do you want to surround yourself with? Who do you want in your circle of influence?
If you have a great idea: dive in and start!
Do you know that 5-second rule?
No, not the one about dropping your food on the floor! The other one!
That five-seconds between you having an idea “it would be great if I would…” – well, you need to jump into action. Otherwise, the message you are subconsciously giving yourself is “this isn’t important, so I won’t be doing it”. Of course, that first action might be as small as noting down the idea, setting aside time in your schedule to investigate more, or noting down a call to someone that can give you some ideas of how to proceed. But it’s the five seconds of decision-making – this is important enough to do something about!
If you often have ideas in bed – a notebook on the bedside table. In those first five seconds, just noting down the idea to explore tomorrow. Action cures indecision – it gets you up off the fence!
Of course, you will need much more than just that first initial step! It needs to be so much more than just an idea jotted down in your notebook!
Want significant results? Make a plan!
I am a huge believer that planning helps avoid failure! As much as I believe that nothing can be achieved without action and execution, I am always looking to see that obstacles, resources and measurements of milestones have first been considered. In part, perhaps, recognising that I am INTJ and that’s just how I roll.
But more importantly, because I’ve seen what happens when you fail to plan.
Planning allows you to control your focus – and your focus needs to be on what you can control. What can you do? It’s not just about having the end goal and knowing what you want to achieve – it’s about being realistic about the steps you can take. You have certain resources, personnel, and knowledge or information at your disposal – how will you apply this to your goal?
The plan is about answering the question: how do I get from where I am today to make this dream into reality? How many rivers do I need to cross? What do I need to learn? Which resources do I need to accumulate and where do I need to invest?
Passion and ideas go hand in hand with discipline and commitment. I love the African proverb:
When you pray, move your feet.
Planning allows you to take effective action, not make a feeble attempt. No, you can’t foresee all of the future, but you can build an idea of what actions will have the best results. You can measure your actual results against the intended consequences, allowing you to change the plan.
Planning will allow you to prioritise your time, energy, resources and effort on what is truly important.
Knuckle down and get into action to get significant results
Taking effective action is what differentiates a success story from a failure.
If you find that the plan isn’t working, ask yourself: are you working the plan? Does the plan need to change or do you need to put in more effort in implementation?
Sometimes, the reality is that you need to knuckle down and put in more effort. You may need some blood, sweat and tears before you see the results, with many learning opportunities along the way.
If you aren’t putting in the work, modifying the plan is not going to get better results! More action. Less talk.
At the same time, life is about continuous evolution, not episodic transformation! Along the path to your goals, you should be looking at your results, fine-tuning your plan, adjusting and continuing to move forward. You might discover obstacles or even short-cuts that you had not considered at the beginning! Be open to changing the plan, not the final destination.
So, what kind of talk is beneficial?
Just because I said you should talk less and do more, doesn’t mean that there is not a proper place for talking. Consider these five types of conversations that are important on your journey to getting significant results:
Let’s be honest – that inner critic and inner voice can really do our head in! My experience has been that in order to believe in myself, I need to see myself walk the talk. I need to see more than dreams and ideas – but actual steps taken in the direction of my dreams! I won’t believe myself or in myself, if I don’t plan and then execute!
Trust is built on seeing follow through – even trusting yourself!
But, more than that, you have to also manage the mental chatter. What you are constantly saying to yourself matters. It will impact your results.
Step one is a mindful awareness – notice your self-talk. Last year I noticed how often I called myself “stupid”. First came awareness. Then a decision to change. A choice to leave behind what was not helping me, and to replace that self-talk with encouragement. Perhaps even adopting a power phrase to replace it with.
Notice, monitor and control your self-talk. It can make or break you.
Talk about your lessons learned
If you want to talk about your journey – talk about your milestones and what you have learned so far. These are also significant results, even if they weren’t the ones you expected!
Talking helps us to integrate our learning – and this is one powerful way that you can use talk to empower yourself!
If you’ve made a mistake, talk about the mistake briefly – but spend more time and energy on the blessing of the mistake. How you can turn it around. What strengths you have used to overcome it. How you could use this is another situation in life and the application of this lesson in other scenarios.
To get significant results – learn to ask
An important part of any journey towards a goal is the right resources. You don’t have to have them all personally!
But knowing who to ask, when to ask and what to ask for is essential for success! You might need to ask someone for help or advice. It might go further and you need coaching on a particular aspect of your journey. Perhaps you need a professional mentor, and you need to speak up and ask someone you admire if they would consider holding that role. Sometimes, you simply need to ask for information in order to make a more informed decision.
If you want to go fast – go alone. But if you want to go far, recognise that you will need collaboration. You may have to build a team around you.
Be ready to talk with and communicate to those who can help you on this journey!
Communicate for accountability
I love having an accountability buddy!
But that’s not just anyone. And it’s most certainly not everyone!
This is a person, or perhaps even a group of people (such as in a mastermind group) that you speak with regularly (weekly or bi-weekly) that are going to hold you to your word! While they are your champions, and possibly even your friends, they are not going to blow smoke up your a**. They are not simply going to tell you that you’re doing a great job because it’s what you want to hear!
Accountability is not about feeling good and receiving affirmation from someone else! They will hold your feet to the fire, and remind you of what you committed to and ask the simple question “did you do it?”.
- If you didn’t do it – what stopped you?
- How do you plan to overcome this?
- What will you do next?
Your accountability partner or group will mirror back to you the commitment you made, the results you have, and lessons you may have learned. They will celebrate your wins and small victories, the steps forward that you have taken.
But they will also remind you of the mindset you need to have in order to achieve your goals.
Inform your stakeholders and interested parties
There’s a time, with family, friends, colleagues and business associates for communicating your plans and goals – for example, when it directly impacts them. Perhaps it impacts your priorities and the time you will have available to spend with them. How does this goal impact your free time and their expectations of how you will spend your time? Perhaps it impacts the money you have available to spend, versus investing in your business or project.
Once again, you need to get clear on what they need to know and when is the right time to tell them about it. They probably don’t need to know everything you are thinking and planning.
Keep it simple.
Under-promise and over-deliver!
Use your actions to communicate succinctly your priorities – including the importance of your relationships.
How will you celebrate your wins?
Remember to celebrate the wins – these are things you can talk about!
Success is usually a series of small wins, built one upon another! Each time you have an accomplishment, allow yourself the dopamine release – activating the reward circuits of your brain – by acknowledging and celebrating what you have achieved.
The same way that I said that getting praised for intentions can work against you – praise for what you have achieved can work in your favour! It motivates you to continue and keep going.
Talk about those significant results!