Here’s one simple blindingly obvious skill that if you use consistently will probably more than any other lead you forward to reaching your destiny and your fullest potential – I’m going to call it wait for it……. follow-through.
So you may think, oh that old chestnut. Yet so many people don’t do this. Maybe you’re someone who is extremely good at this or maybe you know this is an area you can improve. Either way, let’s explore its seemingly undersold validity.
I see some people with lots of ideas, really good ideas. They talk about these ideas a lot. But month after month goes by, many times year after year goes by and no action is taken to actually put the ideas into practice.
Other people, I observe get a step or two further. They will make some initial enquiries about an idea they have. Maybe the idea is to run an event and they ask a few people if they are interested and people may say yes. Then they may even think and ask around about a venue, and then somewhere along this process, somehow nothing goes ahead. It could be a course they want to attend, enquires are made but no booking actually confirmed.
Then again other people I observe who are starting up or running a small business, have opportunities present, like a possible door to some new business. It’s exciting to start with, but then so many fail to actually follow-through on the opportunity.
And the final example I have observed is people who have already walked the road of pursuing an opportunity previously and for one reason or another, maybe their own mistakes, maybe other extenuating circumstances, things did not work out. Instead of picking themselves up, dusting themselves off and trying again, they choose to allow this negative experience to alter their belief. They end up thinking the opportunity is not possible or that they will always fail.
So what does good follow through look like? I am reminded of Thomas Edison speaking about when he invented the light bulb say, ‘I haven’t failed I have just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.’ That sounds like good follow through. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again!
My theory is that all we have to do to walk into our destiny is to walk through the doors that are open to us. (These were wise words that I heard from someone I interned with once, Paul Manwaring). This sounds simple doesn’t it? But actually just doing this seems to be the most difficult for so many. Just walking through the doors of opportunity around you, firstly requires recognising them. It’s surprising how many people I have coached that have simply not recognised what opportunities they have in their sphere. If you are one of those people who think the opportunities you need are not available to you, perhaps you need a more perceptive friend or a life coach to help you see them.
The second part to following through on these opportunities, I’ll call, ‘initiation’. This is where you have to actually take some brave steps to put yourself and your idea forward in some way. It could mean to approach someone, or book something. Many of us are great initiators; some of us need to really work on this. For some its fear that stops them taking first steps towards an opportunity. Others may say its pure laziness that stops them, which I would challenge. It rarely is laziness. In these cases when I explore the root it’s simply a matter of adjusting the motivation or drivers behind something. Passion gives pain a purpose. So remembering how tasks lead you forward to where you want to go, linking them to your greatest passion helps to re-engage your motivation and inspiration.
The third and final part of what good follow through looks like, I call perseverance. This involves consistently continually following-through on actions all the way through to completion. In other words not stopping until you are finished! Edison said ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed up in overalls and looks like work.’
Find practical ways to engage your motivation and to keep it going that work for you. I ask myself: ‘If I don’t do this now, when will I do it? Why would I do it in a year or in the future? Do I really still want to be talking about this and planning on this in 2, 3, 5 or 10 years’ time? This works for me, because I then see that time is short and I have so many other dreams and opportunities to pursue in the future. The last thing I want is for today’s opportunity to have missed its day and missed its season and potentially displace even better opportunities that are coming. Follow through could well be the single most important skill to lead you to places you cannot yet imagine.
To finish on another one of Edison’s; ‘Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is ALWAYS try just one more time’.