Little to no progress in your path?

Everyone wishes that things were different. Sadly, many people never get past these wishes into planning. Even fewer get past the planning stages and into moving forward. Many people will try to sell you secret recipes for success, but there are really not any. It takes just two “secret” weapons and they are completely free to you. They are mindfulness and wilfulness.

First start with mindfulness. 

You won’t get much further in down your goals if you aren’t mindful of what is around you. First start by asking yourself this question:

How much time do I realistically have each day to work towards my goals?

If you’ve got yourself booked solid with this or that, you should stop right there and re-prioritise. Even though you may have a block of 4 hours of time every evening, it likely telling yourself you’ll work on your side job and side project in that time won’t fit. Not when you’ve overlooked basic things like spending time nourishing your body with food and unwind time. Take out even more minutes if you have a family that you want to spend time with.

Take it from systems expert Natasha Vorompiova notes, “Small, consistent actions on a regular basis are more impactful than irregular binge-working sessions.When you’re aware of how much time you have, you’ll have more clarity on what you can realistically achieve and feel less like you’re spinning your wheels.

For every single thing you can find a complaint about, there are dozens of remedies for you to choose from.

For every single thing you can find a complaint about, there are dozens of remedies for you to choose from.

I like to think of this step as the coming clean step. I have a terrible habit of collecting projects and putting them in the queue for that magical some day that never happens. Sure, I want to learn to speak and read Italian better. I even occasionally practice with Duolingo. And, sure, I might want to lose weight, but I hate boring exercises and love good food. And for god’s sake, I’m definitely going to finish unpacking my flat some day and finish moving into the flat.

But, when I take a step back and I’m honest about things I can make a mindful decision about what’s important right now, then create a habit around it. We all know that habits are hard to break, whether they are good or bad, so why not make this our secret weapon instead of a secret sauce. Example: Since the beginning of the year I have made myself clean a different room of my flat for a half hour every morning while I dance wildly around the house. Cardio? Check. Cleaning? You bet ‘cha. And it’s only a half hour so I can’t get overwhelmed or really that bored, but I can develop a habit of it so that my goals become part of me. And maybe some day soon I’ll see at least two of those things checked off.

Small, consistent actions whether to benefit personal or business is what will help you see results. We know this, so we should stop looking for that one thing that will make it all better faster.

To do this, you should look for your Chief Initiative.

For those of you that don’t know, I’m a huge fan of Tara Gentile’s Quiet Power Strategy. She presents a view of business that is not about chasing what everyone says you “must” do, but about tapping into yourself and finding your own way. In her book Quiet Power Strategy, Tara talks about a concept she calls the Chief Initiative. She explains it like this:

Your Chief Initiative is what allows you to make sure your tactical planning lines up with something that truly motivates you and keeps you on target instead of aimed at meaningless metrics or milestones. To start creating your tactical plan, first figure out what conditions define your Chief Initiative. These conditions are the embodiment and environment of the success of your Chief Initiative. Who is surrounding you in your success? What does it feel like? How are your day-to-day actions different? How is your environment? Often, achieving a big, hairy goal changes a lot of things. Knowing what those changes are allows you to start implementing many of them now. Those forward-looking changes can be a source of ease and confidence, as well as a North Star as you work toward your Chief Initiative.

Remember this acronym.

Remember this acronym.

The Chief Initiative is raw focus on something important in your path. It is you making hard decisions on what is the most important thing to pursue, deciding on it purposefully, and making a plan to get there. It involves breaking down that big, hair problem into manageable steps, including learning the skills you need to learn along the way.

What it isn’t is a blind rush to the goal. It isn’t about ignoring everything you already have in place in your life while you try to force another thing into it. To do that would be about as smart as forcing yourself to get up at 0430 every morning to exercise while juggling two toddlers while dealing with a flu that has you begging for the toilet. (Imagery I wish I didn’t have first hand experience seeing, I tell you.)

The acronym for focus is simple and easy to remember. It is your mindfulness and wilfulness all in one. You are mindful of what you need, then you have the Chief Initiative in place to acknowledge it. Finally, you develop the wilfulness to follow through. You will not be perfect in this endeavour — no one is. All we can ever ask of ourselves is to follow through one day at a time, give ourselves space to breathe, but never let ourselves get distracted by every shiny object that takes us from our own choices. It is up to us to take the responsibilities upon our own shoulders and really live the way we want to.

PS: You can get a free copy of The Quiet Power Map from Tara’s website here. Her stuff is well worth reading,and so is the newsletter subscription, so don’t hesitate to hit that button. She doesn’t spam you with sales pitches, that’s for sure. 🙂