Last December my marketing coach suggested I establish an advanced program for senior ProCoach members called the Inner Circle. I immediately knew it was an excellent idea. In addition to creating a new revenue stream, it would offer our most successful members a powerful new tool for increasing their results and would position ProCoach as a serious player in the world of small business coaching. Yet, even though the idea made a lot of sense, my Inner Circle almost never got off the ground.
You see, I was extremely busy in December so I put the idea on the back burner till after Christmas. In January, our Quarterly Seminars consumed all my attention. During February I was flying from city to city conducting my spring marketing presentations. I suspect you can see where this is headed. By mid-March, my new program was no closer to implementation than the day it was conceived.
Can you relate? How often do you fail to take action on things that will clearly serve you or move you towards your long-term vision just because you never seem to get started?
Fortunately I was able to use a very effective strategy to overcome my inaction; a technique you can use to get past your procrastination or stagnation. Here is what I did.
At our ProCoach Quarterly Seminars in April, I announced the Inner Circle Program to our members and accepted applications - even though I did not have a date set or the program details finalized. I basically took the plunge, resolving to handle the details later. Interest was high, and over 20 of our members applied. Suddenly my long-delayed Inner Circle was very much alive. In order to deliver what I had promised, I needed to move fast!
What I had done was intentionally make a commitment that forced me into action. Once I had announced and sold the program, the consequences of failing to deliver were severe enough to jar me out of complacency and into action.
I have seen many highly successful people use a similar strategy. A prime example is John F. Kennedy, who publicly declared in 1961, "Before this decade is out, America will land a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth." Once the announcement was made, there was no going back. The energy, resourcefulness and national pride released by this self-imposed challenge not only transformed NASA's space program, it united America and arguably shifted the balance of power world-wide.
Another example. Several years ago I had a client who was finding it difficult to stick to her fitness program. Her solution was to sign up for a local triathlon, which forced her into intense training. Not only did she complete the race, but now she enters at least one triathlon every year. At the age of 55 she is in the best condition of her life!
You can us this strategy with both large projects and small ones. If entering a triathlon is too much for you, commit to something smaller. Hire a fitness trainer for a month or sign up for a 10K run. Suppose you find it difficult to take a vacation. Book a non-refundable travel package and guaranteed you will make the trip happen, especially if you include a friend in your plans. If you are having trouble finishing your landscaping at home, invite your co-workers to a patio party a month from now. You'll feel the heat long before you light the barbeque!
Anytime you have an area where you are feeling stuck, ask yourself, "What could I commit to that would force me to move forward?" Be careful, though. This approach does not always work. Used without discretion it can even get you into big trouble. Be sure to adhere to the following rules:
||The commitment you make must be 100% achievable for you - something that requires your focus and attention but not a miracle. Before Kennedy committed to the moon mission, he did his homework. He met with many knowledgeable advisors who were totally convinced it could be done. In addition, he allocated the necessary resources ($500 million the first year!) to ensure the success of the project. Remember that most things take twice as long and cost twice as much as you expect. Take that into account before you commit to something.
||The timing must be right. In many cases resistance and procrastination are signs that, in spite of your impatience, the time is not right for you to proceed. Before I announced the Inner Circle Program I checked in with my intuition. The idea of pushing ahead brought up some fears for me, but it was clear that I was capable of delivering a high quality program and our members would benefit greatly. All I really needed was to get started.
Try this approach for yourself, and hold on for the ride. Your momentum will accelerate dramatically and before you know it your goals will be within reach.
To your success!
Master Certified Coach.
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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