Barriers to Action Article originally from January 9th, 2018 FPC Newsletter
Written by Ky Carlson
Barrier to Action- Part II
Okay. We previously discussed Barriers to Action and how they can affect us in our personal growth and in our professional growth. Let’s continue to talk about the things that can hold us back. In part 1, we said that fear can hold us back from taking action and that we need to develop courage to conquer fear. I’ve also found that past experiences including past hurts and failures can be something that holds us back. We are very good at remembering the times that we fail, and yet many of us are very bad at remembering the times that we succeed. It can be compared to being a positive versus a negative person. Research has shown that 75% of everything that most people think about is negative. That’s not okay. We’ve got to change that. We’ve got to make sure that we start focusing on our successes. We’ve got to start actually celebrating our successes. We’ve got to start keeping track of our successes, and that’s going to help you to change your mind about that as well.
Listen, I know we all have past failures. We all have past hurts. We’ve all had things happen to us in our life that have caused us to have certain beliefs and mindsets, and yet we’ve got to ask ourselves (once we recognize them) if we’re going to allow them to control us: “Am I going to allow my past to continue to control me or am I going to step outside, do something different so I can get different results?” That’s very important as we think about it, because it is true that our past hurts and our past failures can be something that we have in the back of our mind in every step we take. It can also make courage even harder. It can make it harder to overcome our fears, because fear of failure is one of our biggest fears. I will tell you this: that we’ve got to put behind us what has happened. We’ve got to strain forward toward our goals.
I’ve found a very valuable method of doing this is but first, are we writing goals? Having a success plan, knowing the steps that you want to take is the first step towards taking action. Then, instead of focusing on our past and on our failures and on our times of being hurt, we can focus on what we want to achieve and know exactly what it takes to accomplish our goals. Again, it’s just a refocusing, but that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about changing our mind, and it’s going to really help us to continue to move forward.
So, what can stop us? Paralysis by analysis: For example, spending hours gathering lots of information and then overanalyzing what to do about it. I recognize the need information to make a decision and move forward, but many people have the information but still feel stuck. I can tell you right now that I can relate and I would imagine that many others reading this right now can relate. We relate to the need to make a decision, and yet feeling completely stuck. Whatever the decision is about, what can you do if that happens?
If you are facing paralysis from analysis, we need to recognize that it’s really a paralysis from fear of making the wrong decision. I’ll tell you what a wise man told me once. He said we’re going to make wrong decisions sometimes and we must realize that we can grow and learn from them. We’ve got to be willing to be decisive knowing that we’re going to make wrong decisions in life. I wish I could tell you, “Oh, just do this one thing and you’ll make all the right decisions.” But, it’s not going to happen. We are going to make wrong decisions in life. You’ve heard Charlie talk about with marketing, where you do a piece of marketing to test it and it bombs and you’re like, “Man, I don’t know what happened.” That was a wrong decision, but you know what, it’s a learning opportunity.
The question is, if you make a decision; just know that you’re planning to learn from it. It may go right for you and that would be great if you learn from it. It may go wrong and that is still good if you can learn from it. I’m suggesting that you just accept and be okay with either outcome before you make the decision. Be okay that it may be the wrong decision and that even if it is the wrong decision, be decisive, take action, and know that you need to learn from each decision. It’s a mindset. If you will change your thinking, then every decision can be a building experience. You can continue to build day after day, week after week, on your decision making. What you’ll notice is that you begin to make better and better decisions because you’ve taken the initiative and action and you will learn from each decision that you make.
The answer to break out of the paralysis by analysis is to start making yourself make a decision. Overcome the fear of making the wrong decision. Make the decision based on the best information that you have available at that time. Obviously, I’m not suggesting that you never do your homework. Do your homework, but many of you know that you’ve overdone your homework. In other words, you’ve done it and now you’re stuck. What I would suggest is you need to take the information you have, make a decision, and know that you will need to learn. And if you learn, it’s always good.
Here’s the thing: if you made the wrong decision, more than likely, it’s not going to be the end of the world. It’s going to be something that you can correct or you can change and you can do different next time. Keep that in mind. Recognizing that you’re stuck is a really key point because when we recognize that we are stuck, we can say, “Okay, I’m stuck right now. I just need to make a decision and know that it is the best one I can make at this time.” Then you just do it and you have to make yourself do it. If you truly need to do some more homework, give yourself a deadline, and stick to it. Either way, you’ve got to take action by making the decision.
The truth is, not making a decision is a decision. It’s a decision not to make a decision, and as a result you’re rarely going to do anything and you end up with nothing. Because if you’ve done nothing, what are you going get? You’ve got to come to that reality that a decision is required and you’ve got to talk yourself through making the decision. Indecisiveness will not help you move forward and it becomes a habit. Being decisive can also become the habit. Recognize that you’re never going to have all the facts. You’re never going to have all the perfect knowledge. You’re never going to know everything. We never arrive. No one is perfect, so we’ve got to be willing to do the best we can and make good decisions and take action, because again, it is the fear that makes us paralyzed, and so we’ve got to do something different to let courage build and overcome fear.
Another way to look at your past experiences holding you back is what I call the victim mentality. The victim mentality is one where a person is basically always blaming others for their own lack of action, productivity, or success. It’s always because of someone else or because of circumstances; you were unable to accomplish something. Again, I want you to hear me. I am not throwing circumstances out the window and saying they have no impact. They do, but ultimately if we blame others or our circumstances, then we have to realize that we are giving all the power away and we become victims. We’re giving ourselves the excuse. We’re giving ourselves the out.
One example occurs when doing a dinner talk: there have been times when my dinner talk closing percentage, although I average close to 60%, has been less. I have closed 30% at times and I have an option at that point to say, “It must have been the crowd. It must have been those people. It must have been location. It must have been my staff.” While I do analyze the numbers and look for trends with different forms of marketing compared to others, or success from certain areas or at certain restaurants, it’s important to analyzing the numbers to help make a better decision rather than to remove the responsibility to improve the numbers. Ultimately, we’ve got to recognize that we have to take responsibility and figure out what could have been done differently to produce better results. And most of the time, it’s not just one factor. We can always improve our communication but we have to be open to growing rather than just blaming the other circumstances.
That’s really important because I’ve found that if we just blame the circumstances and say, “Well, it was the marketing, it was the people there, it was my staff” or any other factor, we end up not working on those areas and doing what is necessary to correct the problem. We end up basically giving ourselves an excuse to stay the same and not do the hard work of fixing our talk or fixing the marketing or training our staff. Everything remains the same and ultimately, we get the same result which leads to the same cycle of blaming others and blaming our circumstances, and everyone loses. We must do what’s necessary to take action and change what we control and learn how to do it differently.
Listen, I understand the frustration when we don’t accomplish what we thought we should or get the results we thought we should. I can tell you right now, there are times where I’ve been very frustrated and felt like a failure. Taking responsibility for the failure does not involve going home, putting your head in the sand, or your tail between your legs. It’s not about beating yourself up. That’s not helpful or productive. It’s about taking responsibility for what happened and recognizing that you have the power to do what’s necessary to make it better next time. It’s about making sure that you are not giving that power away to someone else so that you don’t have to feel responsible because you can’t do anything about it. It’s deciding that you can take action and you’re going to be decisive to make sure that you can accomplish more the next time around.
This can only happen when we let go of the past, learn from it, press forward towards the goal by being decisive and always taking action one step at a time.
Remember, we are here for you every step of the way!