I was having lunch with a prospective coaching client the other day. We talked about his aspirations: where he was currently, and where he wanted to be, and how to arrive at his intended destination as quickly and easily as possible.
At the end of our lengthy conversation, he asked me what the key ingredient was: the one thing that successful people do in order to create the results they want to create. What was preventing him from pursuing this dream that he was so clearly passionate about? He was looking for a magic pill, the one thing that he could do.
After our meeting, I reflected on this very point. I realized that there is this "one thing" that is absolutely essential. While other traits may or may not be present, successful people always possess this one characteristic. Without it, one could not possibly achieve their desired outcome.
What is this important trait?
Think about it: He has an incredible idea (maybe you do, too?). He is visibly passionate as he describes this entrepreneurial opportunity. He has reviewed this plan over and over, sought input from others and examined the possibilities from every angle. But he hasn't taken action. There's just a little bit of doubt about the viability of his idea, and it has prevented him from taking action on an idea that he has been carrying around for almost six years!
Until and unless he takes action, he will never achieve his desired outcome. Unless and until you take action, you will wonder five (or ten or twenty-five) years from now why this idea is still stirring around in your head. Action sets the whole process in motion. It takes what now is only an idea and makes it real. When you take action, when you take that first step, results are produced. They may or may not be the desired results, but every step you take moves you closer to your desired outcome.
When an airplane is on autopilot, it's off course as much as 95% of the time; however, it is constantly moving toward the destination. I love this metaphor, which so accurately reflects the dynamics of our own journey. Theodore Roosevelt once said, "There is nothing brilliant nor outstanding in my record, except perhaps one thing: I do the things I believe ought to be done...and when I make up my mind to do a thing, I act."
Sure, there are other "habits" of successful people, and they are all important. If they are all present, then nothing can stop you! You can set goals, and you can think positive, and you can visualize and affirm and practice all the other success habits. However, if you don't take action, the other habits will all be for nothing!
As the Nike commercial says, Just Do It. Decide that you will take one small step. Then another. Then another. Like an infant learning to walk, do not allow the obstacle of an occasional fall to stop you. Pretty soon, you'll be walking. Then jogging. Then sprinting toward your destination. You'll gain momentum, just by first putting one foot in front of the other. Just do it! You'll be so incredibly glad you did!