You probably just read that title and thought, “What?? Alyssa is telling us to stop thinking ahead? That can’t be possible.” But it’s absolutely true. Let’s take a look at a few broad steps that exist on the path to success, and I’ll explain.
Devising Your Plan
I still stand behind my advice that you always need some kind of plan to get from Point A to Point B. You will not move forward if you don’t know where you want to go and have some idea about how you will get there. It doesn’t matter what your plan looks like. It could be a thorough SMART goal; it could be a business plan; it could even be a few notes on the back of a napkin. But you need a plan. That is non-negotiable.
Bleeding, Sweating, Cursing and Crying
So what happens once you have your plan in place? Hopefully, you’ll start executing an action plan that helps you take small steps consistently over time to reach your end goal. This is the blood, sweat and tears stage, baby. Motivation is vital; you need to want it pretty badly and you need to be willing to do anything it takes to achieve your goal. You will need to make sacrifices. You will not be able to do it all, all the time. Something will have to give.
OK, so now you have a plan, you’re taking action, you’re busting your butt, and you’re doing whatever it takes to stay on track. You should keep your eye on the prize, right? Keep thinking about the end of the road when you’ve reached your goal. NO! In fact, once you have an idea of where you’re going and what you need to do to get there, you need to stop thinking about it. Yes, stop. This is exactly where future-thinking can trip you up.
- Thinking about the future and creating a narrowly defined vision of what you expect it will look like makes your goal inflexible, and most likely unattainable.
- If you have tunnel vision about where you’re headed, you will miss other opportunities along the way.
- Unless you can predict the future, being fixated on how things will end is overwhelming and stressful. This can absolutely kill your motivation and momentum.
- Future-thinking strips away all of the perks coming your way right now — like being able to savor each small success, learning things about your business and industry, and discovering things about yourself and your potential that you never knew before.
Thinking about the future is good in small doses. It’s especially helpful if you lose your way and need to regroup, or when it’s time for a quarterly goal check-in. But you can’t let your idea of what the future holds — or trying to figure it all out right now — override the here and now.
What you’re doing RIGHT NOW for your business — the blood, sweat and tears — is powerful. The experiences you have right now, the wins and the losses, is what will make you successful. This is what will form the future that you’re reaching for. Live it. Feel it.
I’ll leave you with the words of the great motivational guru Wayne Dyer: “Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.”
So…what are you doing today?
Thanks, Alyssa, for another thought-provoking article. And so appropriate for me today, as my future (at least short-term) has been somewhat thrown off-course. But, after reading your article, I’ve decided that while I do have a clear picture of my future, I just need to be more flexible in how I get there! And last week I attended the IVAA conference for virtual assistants where I learned so many new tools and methods for success; not just for my own business but for client businesses as well. I always appreciate the knowledge you share with us around the Bonfire!