Do you know how sometimes a project can be too big or look extremely difficult and it seems there just isn’t any way to get it done? Many times when a task we need to do appears overwhelming, we never even start. Well, here is an idea you can use that just might help you turn a situation like that around!
This story goes back to Jack Canfield, of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, where I was attending one of his international mastermind meetings. During this meeting, we were working together on an exercise that our instructor was putting us through about making changes and re-programming our old pattern behaviors.
Annie, my partner in this exercise, had set a goal to do a particular activity for an hour a day and just was not getting it done. It was very frustrating for her. She knew she wanted to get it done, but kept talking about her failures from the past.
This was an old, familiar behavior pattern. When Annie was faced with a challenging task, she would start thinking about all her past failures. Before long, all those negatives would appear overwhelming and she would begin feeling: ‘There’s just not any way!’
This old habit had become a major block in Annie’s life. While she had been working very hard on trying to get past this ‘no way’ block for years, she was not making much progress. Fortunately, she was open to receiving new ideas and she really wanted to make a change.
We both settled in and made a commitment that we were going to work on this issue together. And we promised each other that we would hold each other accountable for taking action. As we talked back and forth about the issue, it soon became clear to me that she was set in taking a path that was much harder than it needed to be.
That’s the beauty and power of a mastermind in action. When two (or more) people are working together on a common goal, one partner often can more easily see something that the other one might miss.
From my vantage point, I could see an easier route for Annie to take. In reality, what Annie had focused on actually was difficult and really was too big for her current daily commitments. So, I said to her: “OK. A goal of an hour a day is fine and right now we can have that as a good long-term goal.”
And one of my principles for success is ‘ease and grace.’ This means let’s look for the easy route, keeping things simple. Instead of dwelling on the difficulty, you will find your life is much more rewarding when you choose to focus on ‘ease and grace.’
So, here’s what I asked Annie to commit to, first to herself and then to me. I asked her to start today and start immediately. She agreed. When I suggested we make this easy, she agreed. Then, when I asked her about focusing an hour a week on her project, she hesitated. We both knew this hesitation meant it would not work for her.
That gave us boundaries we needed to work within. Next, we took her goal for an hour a day and just kept making it smaller and smaller and smaller for her.
Finally, we found a match! When I asked her: “Let’s say that you’ll do it for at least one minute today?” She was startled and said: “Only a minute? Oh, yes! That’s easy – I can do that!” And she did!
When she took that first little one-minute action step, it gave her the opportunity to celebrate her first victory. That first success gave her the encouragement to take her second one-minute action step. That second small victory motivated her to take the third step and so on.
It was just fabulous. She quickly gained momentum and soon graduated from her one minute baby steps up to five minutes a day, then fifteen minutes daily. In no time at all, she had become very consistent, overcoming her long-standing troublesome block, and she was reaching her goal with ease and grace almost every day of the month.
My purpose in doing this exercise is to cause someone (even myself!) to recognize these feelings: “Oh No!” and “Oh, my goodness – I couldn’t possibly do that!” and “That project is way too big!” Then, as soon as you recognize these negative emotions, you simply make your goal much, much smaller.
The important thing to remember is to make that goal smaller. Just keep making your next step smaller and smaller until it fits you. That way, it’s manageable and you know you will get it done. And the reaction to “Let’s do one minute” almost always is: “Oh, yes! That’s easy – I CAN do that!!”
Our tips for you today are:
- Focus on ease and grace.
- Mastermind your situation.
- Break the project down into small, EASY steps.
- Take ACTION – take that first small step TODAY!
- Celebrate your success!
Today is a good day to tackle that big project or great goal you have been putting off. Pull it out, dust it off and take a closer look at it with your mastermind friends. Figure out how you can break down a large or confusing project into small, easy, manageable stepping stones. Keep making your too-big action step smaller and smaller and smaller. Keep your focus on easy. And do take that all-important first action step.
In no time at all, you too will be saying:
About the Author:
John Carpenter Dealey, international MasterMind expert, entrepreneur, philanthropist and author is dedicated to helping people solve problems, reach dreams and achieve goals with “ease and grace.”
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