So now you know where you are going; you know where you are - what do you do next? The answer is easy: you start moving in the direction of where you want to go.
In many ways this is the easiest step of all. It’s usually obvious what you can do to move in the direction of where you want to be. Notice I said “start moving”. You don’t have to have the entire route mapped out. It may help if you have a clear idea of the route, but it’s not essential. What is essential is to get moving. And then keep moving!
Notice that it is very important to move in the right direction. People often talk about doing things in order to advance their goals, but then start moving in the wrong direction or get stuck in a dead-end. Just to give one example out of many, we are often told that the way to expand our business is by networking. So we may go all out to attend lots of networking events. But if we do not keep clearly in mind that the purpose of the networking is to expand our business, we may just find ourselves attending lots of events without achieving anything very much. Remember the aim is not “networking” – the aim is to expand our business. That means we must be clear what we want to get out of the networking and make sure we get it. If we don’t have our final destination clearly in mind, we may find ourselves wasting a lot of time on unfocussed activities.
We always need to be asking the difficult questions like: “How exactly is this going to move me towards my goal?”; “What would move me towards my goal?”
Once we’ve started moving there will of course be plenty of obstacles and setbacks, but provided that we have the goal clearly in front of us, we can simply deal with them one at a time. We will almost always find that we have the resources to deal with them provided that we keep two things clearly in our minds: where we want to be and where we currently are.
The exciting thing about moving towards a goal is that we will find opportunities opening up before us. When we focus on something, it is amazing how we find ourselves finding paths which we hadn’t even imagined existed in order to get there. That’s one of the reasons why detailed planning is not one of the necessary steps in order to get moving on a goal. I’m not saying that detailed plans may not be essential at various stages. In my first example of building a bridge between the mainland and the Isle of Wight, you would obviously be going to need very detailed plans and specifications. But the project’s originator will have started moving on the project long before the detailed plans are drawn up.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about this third step because it’s surprising how many people forget the simple truth that to get something done you need to do it. Time and time again I have had clients who have got stuck on a project simply because they have stopped taking action on it. The secret is to start taking action again – not in a haphazard or aimless way, but by deliberately taking the next step in the right direction.