(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY How would you like a shortcut to success? A strategy to follow that would help you get what you want in the most efficient and effective way possible?
If you're like me, you have a limited number of hours in the day and a limited amount of energy to get what you need to get accomplished while at the same time going after your . Get ready to learn a simple four-step strategy that will help you create your best life in the most streamlined way possible.
1. Know your desired outcome. When you use your car's navigation system, do you type in all of the addresses you don't want to go to or just the one where you do want to go? Clearly, it is critical to know your desired outcome. What do you want to achieve? What are you going after? How would you like it to be? Now is not the time to be casual, vague, or even humble. Imagine you've rubbed the magic lamp and you get one shot at requesting what you want. Get clear and get specific.
2. Take action. The best advice I could give you about reaching your goals and creating a better life? Get started. Simply do something -- anything, really. Don't fall into the trap of having to know the best action to take to get started because this will cause delay. In fact, it's a crutch many of us use so we don't have to get started.
Analyzing 1,001 treadmills to find the best combination of features is far less scary than going to the gym and getting on one. You can see this dynamic at work in meetings -- let's schedule another meeting to talk about everything we need to do instead of actually getting started. But why do we get stuck in this inaction trap? It's safe. We are afraid of doing something that may be wrong. Inspiration is fickle. You'll feel it one minute and then poof, it will be gone the next unless you nurture it with movement -- taking action and getting started. It's better to throw the gauntlet down by doing something -- even the wrong thing -- than staying in your head and losing the inspiration.
3. Focus on feedback. Remember the hot or cold game you played as a kid? What if you played that game but didn't move? You'd never know if you were getting closer or farther away from the prize. If you stay in your head too long and try to analyze every conceivable next step, you'll never know if your path is leading you closer or farther away. Taking action is how you get feedback. Take the step, because even if you are wrong, that will give you valuable feedback so you can adjust your approach.
4. Be behaviorally flexible. If you notice your actions are not leading you to your desired outcome (or maybe not as quickly as you wish), then you have to be flexible in your approach. It's not enough to just notice what you are doing isn't working; you have to shift your strategy. If you keep hearing "colder," as in the game above, then stop moving in that direction even if you've invested a lot of time and energy. Stop, turn, and take a step in a different direction until you get closer to your outcome.
Whether you are starting a new business, in charge of a new product launch, wanting to re-connect with your spouse, wishing to get healthier, or hoping to create your best life, keep these four steps front and center, and they will help you achieve your goals faster and more efficiently.