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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

HOW TO TAKE ACTION

Dr. Raymond Comeau aka Shamou is the Author of ShamouBlog and Administrator of Personal Development for Personal Success Forums. To follow are some of his thoughts on how to be successful:

After spending over three decades in self-improvement and hearing the stories of hundreds of people who are still struggling, the number one observation that stands out above all other is that, people fail to achieve success because they cannot get themselves to take action.

Knowing what should be done to succeed is the easy part. It can be found and learned in any of thousands of books, CDs, tapes and videos on the subject. But knowing how to succeed is just the first and easiest part. Taking action and putting into motion what has to be done to succeed is, for the overwhelming majority of people, the hardest and most difficult part.

It is said that faith without work is dead. The same applies to knowledge. Knowing how to build a house will not build a house and knowing how to succeed will not make anyone a success unless action is taken and what needs to be done is executed.

There are many reasons why people procrastinate and fail to take action but the most important and most prevalent is the fear of failure. Failures are frightening. They undermine the self-esteem and they invite ridicule. That may be true but something else should be brought into the equation and that is the fact that not taking action is the worst failure of all. Not even trying is infinitely worse than not succeeding.

The question then becomes, "How do we get ourselves to take action?" For anyone serious about succeeding there are three very specific steps that must be taken.

1. The first of these steps would be a small but extremely important change in vocabulary. The word "should" has to be replaced by the word "must." It is a small distinction but one that has a profound impact.

The word "should" does not imply a commitment. It gives the impression that what "should" be done is somehow optional. On the other hand, there is no ambiguity about the word "must."

What "must" be done has to be done and no excuse is acceptable. If I "must" do it, chances are that I will.

2. Number two implies specificity. A very specific plan has to be established along with a schedule with date lines. Execution without a schedule and a plan is destined to fail. No one would start off on a trip without knowing what the route, the destination and the itinerary is. Same thing with a life or career project. If we don't know where we're going and how we're going to get there, chances are very high the adventure will end in failure.

3. The last, and most important step is, accountability. Something or someone has to see to it that the plan and the execution goes on according to the schedule. Trusting ourselves as overseer is usually a mistake. It is too easy to find excuses and pretexts to get us off the hook and allow for complacency. We need a coach, preferably a drill sergeant who will be hard as a nail and will not tolerate any weakness or lack of effort.

That person can be a professional coach and it would be a wise investment. Or it can be a friend or relative who has shown leadership capacities. That person will be the cornerstone upon which the whole edifice will be built. Having such a person in our corner is a strategy that is used by every mover and shaker that have ever made history. It's a must.

Success is a science and not a fluke. To succeed, steps must me taken and procedures have to be followed. The three steps described here constitute the starting point. If you are serious about succeeding, this is where you start.