The Power of Taking Action

accountability goal setting professional development Jan 18, 2021


We talk a lot about techniques and systems to create to help us reach our goals. Those are important to implement in your routine and work day to make measurable progress. But putting those routines and systems together doesn’t matter if you don’t take action to make them happen. Often we feel that things have to be perfect, that we have to have every piece planned out to a tee before we get started. The need for perfection is a limiting belief - nothing will ever be perfect. You will always have to iterate and tweak as you grow and learn. But you can’t learn until you start. 

It’s important to embrace trial and error. You can’t learn until you fail, you don’t know what to improve if you can’t see where the flaws are. The fear of failure often stops us from starting something in the first place. But we all know by now that doing nothing guarantees failure. What’s the worst that can happen if we take action? Make that phone call, shoot off that email, publish that article. Whatever you’re working on, just start. It won’t be perfect. Mistakes will be made. But that’s how we learn. 

Imagining the missteps or failure at the end of the road is a mindset we need to step out of so we can make positive steps forward. You can’t worry about things that haven’t even happened. Use those potential missteps as motivation to work harder and avoid them. And remember, if you are authentic and putting work out there that is true to yourself, it’s never a failure.  

How do I know it’s going to succeed? 

Easy - you don’t. No one can predict the future. Everyone who has ever built or created something new asks this same question, but the reality is that no one can guarantee it will be successful. You learn by doing. If you never put it out there, it certainly won’t succeed. Push yourself to start. Share your plan with friends and family. Call up your colleague and tell them about it. Take a few small steps to start putting your vision out there into the world. 

What happens if I fail? 

We often see failure as a game over scenario, but failure is just a starting point. Look critically at why it didn’t succeed. Ask people for their feedback. Get all that data and start building off of what you have to make it better. Imagine losing a game and never getting back on the court. Instead of giving up, you hit the gym and work harder to get the win. 

No one enjoys failure. And let’s be honest, we’d all love to see success in our various endeavors. But getting comfortable with failure is important, because failure is a constant. It’s a learning opportunity and provides us with valuable lessons to grow stronger. But we can’t fail and we can’t learn if we don’t take action. So what’s your first step? Challenge yourself to do it this week. Kick off the year by tackling your action steps. Whether you fail or succeed, you will not regret the opportunity to try.