It’s a deceptively simple five-step process:
1. Decide what you want.
2. Know your reasons why.
3. Take massive action.
4. Notice what’s working or not.
5. Change your approach until you achieve what your want.
I could easily write an entire blog post about setting specific goals, but today I want to talk about the third step of this formula: the necessity to take action.
LOUDER THAN WORDS
There’s a reason why Americans like using sports metaphors. Sports are all about energy and action. People bring their ‘A’ game, they step up to the plate, and knock it out of the park. I love that go-getter mentality, but as a coach and fellow-freelancer I think success is as much a result of the things we don’t do, as it is of the things we choose to do.
Whether you take action or not, there will be consequences.
Comparing those who have made it in a highly competitive industry to those who have not, I see clear differences. Those who ultimately gave up, did that in part because they failed to act in crucial areas. Before I tell you what some of those areas are, I need to address the words “fail” and “failure,” because they are loaded.
When I bluntly state that someone failed to do something, I merely mean they did not take a certain action. Consequently, they didn’t achieve a desired result. This does not make them a complete and utter failure as a human being.
VALUES AND MOTIVES
When people fail to do something we assumed to be of importance to them, it tells us two things. It tells us something about our personal values and work ethic, and it tells us something about the other person’s motivation.
Let’s say I give one of my students a certain task, and he or she keeps putting it off, or puts very little effort into it. In my experience this has little to do with a lack of time or laziness. Unless there’s an emergency, those who are truly dedicated will always find the time and the energy.
The real reason for the delay or the lack of enthusiasm has to do with motivation. Motivation is the fire that feeds the engine.
To find out what drives someone, here’s the question to ask:
“Why is X, Y or Z important to you?”
If the “why” isn’t strong enough, people are more likely to slack off or give up. This often manifests itself in small things. Some people start showing a lack of attention to detail. Some will rush to get the job done. Others are easily distracted. Over time, this adds up, and it points to the fact that someone’s heart is not in it.
CARING FOR YOUR CAREER
I often compare a freelance career to tending a vegetable garden. A garden can’t be rushed. It needs to grow organically. If you don’t seed, water, or weed, you’ll never enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor.
If you don’t take good care of your garden, that’s easy to see, but what clues tell me you’re struggling as a freelancer?
I often see a failure to:
- take the initiative
- get out of the mindset of a hobbyist
- set clear and realistic goals
- have enough seed money to fund and grow your business
- invest in a professional work space, (continued) training, and quality equipment
- define what makes you stand out from the rest
- focus on finances
- set decent rates
- find multiple pipelines to generate job leads
- build a professional network
- follow up and follow through
- have a long-term strategy
- update your website and portfolio
- check your work before sending it out
- be active in social media
- promote and market your business professionally
- take good care of your body
- surround yourself with supportive, knowledgeable, and nurturing people
- be there for those who support you
- be appreciative
- be accountable
- be patient and persistent
- be flexible and open to feedback
- realize your life is more than your job
- learn from the things that go well, and from the things that don’t go so well
LIVE AND LEARN
That very last point takes us to the fourth step of Robbins’ Ultimate Success Formula: “Notice what’s working or not.”
Like Robbins, I will ask my students: Are you getting closer to your goal, or farther away? Are you taking advantage of the feedback you’re getting?
It’s okay to make mistakes, but if you don’t learn from them, you’re likely to repeat old patterns.
If you fail to learn, you learn to fail.
Now, in spite of what some people may tell you, there is no secret code that will open the magical door to unlimited freelance success. Success depends on so many factors, and not all of those factors can be influenced by you. But remember this:
Life does not reward intentions. It rewards action.
The daily decisions you make or fail to make, will propel your career forward, or move it backward.
So, the next time you’re presented with a serious opportunity, carefully weigh your options, and take a hint from William Shakespeare by asking yourself:
“To do or not to do,
that is the question!”
Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice
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