It’s NANO time – National Novel Writing Month.
This month in Tuesday Tales I’m taking a break from romance. Victoria and Toby, in Starting Over, will have to figure out their own way for a few weeks, without me handing them their script. We’ll be back to them when November ends.
The prompt for this week is ‘stark’.
My NANO work is a nonfiction, inspirational, tentatively titled: A BETTER LIFE: A TO Z. Today I’m sharing the ‘T’ excerpt – TAKE ACTION.
Enjoy, then head back to TUESDAY TALES here, for more tales from a creative group of writers.
T: Take Action
“Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time.” ~ Chinese proverb
We have dreams. We have goals. We envision a better life for ourselves and our family. Our lofty dreams and visions we have for our future are necessary. As Henry David Thoreau said, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
Putting the foundations under our castles in the air – that is where the stark reality hits us. We must take action.
Having all the dreams, doing all the visualization, reciting all the affirmations – all of which I’m a staunch believer in – is a good start. But to move these thoughts and desires into concrete achievements, we must take action, and not merely wait for the roast duck to fly into our mouth.
Michelle Barr, a Dallas based intuitive coach and business strategist, is a master in helping others transform their life’s calling. Since hearing her inspirational speech at a holistic fair in Fort Worth in 2010, I’ve been following her and seeing the progress she’s made in her life.
Watch the people who call themselves teachers and mentors. See if they ‘walk the talk’ and live their lives according to what they profess. Michelle is one of these that lives her life how she advises others to. I’ve seen her business grow over the past four years that I’ve been aware of her.
Michelle’s repeated mantra is: Take inventory, take ownership, take action. Taking action is a major cornerstone of what she teaches. Her process is to Master the Art of Taking Action. She uses a M.O.V.E. process, where the first step is to M –Make a Decision. She says that this sets things in motion. But then she shares, “You have to take the first step. Every time.” (www.michellebarr.com)
A wealth of advice sits out in cyberspace, waiting for us to peruse. An internet search of ‘taking action towards goals’ revealed 39,100,000 results.
Books on the subject abound by the dozens. Taking Action by Samuel Blankson, Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future by Leonard A. Schlesinger, and Action Trumps Everything: Creating What You Want in an Uncertain World by Charles Kiefer are just a few of the many selections.
The nebulous advice of ‘Take Action’, or as Nike’s infamous advertisement proclaims ‘Just Do It’, often is harder to put into action than the instruction implies. In Miracles Happen, by Mary Kay Ash, I discovered a technique that has changed my outcome from dreams and procrastination to producing viable results.
Mary Kay shares the story of how Charles Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel in the early years of the 20th century, desired to increase efficiency within the company. Ivy Lee, a leading expert on the subject at the time, made Schwab a proposal. He claimed that if he could spend 15 minutes with each executive, he could increase the team’s effectiveness and increase sales. In three months, Schwab could send him a check for what he felt the advice was worth.
His advice netted Mr. Lee a check for $35,000, at a time when the average worker in the United States was making $2 a day.
His advice was simple, yet profound enough that Mary Kay used it to expand her company the nationwide recognition it has. She called it her ‘$35,000 List’.
Mr. Lee shared that he wanted everyone, for the next 90 days, to make a list. Before leaving the office at the end of the day, he asked that they make a list of the six most important things that had to be done the next day and number them in the order of importance.
The next day, complete the items on the list, in their order of priority, and go on to the next. If something isn’t done, put it on the following day’s list.
When I read this, and started following Mary Kay’s $35,000 List, I immediately saw results. Now, I have to admit, that not everything got done each day. I was very good at transferring items to the next day. Occasionally, since I was still working full time at the time, a list would last me two weeks before everything was crossed off. And, there have been times over the past year where I slip and don’t use this method for several days or weeks. I can always tell by my results when I’m not following this and return to the tried and true hundred year old method.
Try it yourself. What’s six things that you can do tomorrow that will move you closer to the dreams you long for? Make a list. Six things. Now number them in importance. What’s number one? Tomorrow –do that one thing, before you work on any of the others. Yes, that means before Facebook and games, and emails. Then work on the second, and so forth, down your list in the order of importance.
Take Action – it’s a concept that’s vitally important for moving your life from ‘dreams’ to reality.