People who have the ability to take action towards their goals are people who have learned how to outsmart their own brains. It sounds crazy, but it's simple and you can use an effective tool to help you with this.
Even though I have always been a high achiever, being a top level athlete and a professional with a good salary in my past chosen carrier, it was only when I started working for myself having to manage my own time to accomplish my dream work-life balance, that I realised the true value of beating hesitation to meet my goals.
Our brain has a natural response to stress and this has to do with our bodies' natural mechanisms to ensure our survival. Every time we are faced with a situation that causes us fear and stress, our brain immediately starts preparing to escape, to avoid the “danger” we are subject to. If facing the danger will ensure survival, we naturally choose to stay and fight. For example if you have to jump in a river to save someone from drowning. In these types of situations we do not hesitate, we go for it and get it done. But if the situation isn't clearly ensuring our survival, our brain will read our stress and fear signals and choose to “escape”. And when you are not aware of this and haven't practiced to act regardless of the excuses the little voice in your head is giving, you will avoid acting.
If you pay attention to your own thoughts you will notice we are in constant analysis, judgment and self-doubt. It is when we hesitate that we allow that little voice in our heads to start perfectly talking us out of things. In fact, we have a very small window of time to act before our brain starts to create excuses to avoid the stress and fear related to the thought.
Have you ever found yourself in a seminar or workshop and considered putting your hand up to ask a question or make a contribution, heart beating fast, fear kicking in, but then hesitated and decided not to? You might have said to yourself “this is a silly question to ask” or “what if I don't deliver my idea well, get too nervous and look ridiculous?”.
Or perhaps when you had just moved to a new place and thought you should go introduce yourself to your neighbours (who look like really nice people) but then hesitated and decided it would be a bit awkward?
Or worse, when your hesitation turns into procrastination. You might have a great idea on how to develop your business and get more clients but you simply talk yourself out of it by doing other things (less stressful) that are “ immediate priority” like eating, looking at other people's achievements on social media, answering emails and whatever else comes easy and automatically for you.
So here is the practice, the simple tool to stop you from hesitating: Every time you have an idea, give yourself 5 seconds to act on it.
And this is a gem. It is a proven technique. An inspiration from the work of Mel Robbins, a renowned motivational speaker. She calls it the five-second rule. So, the moment you have that great idea, the moment you see that person you should approach and introduce yourself, the moment you think of exactly what you should be doing, count down from 5 to 1 and act on it. Send that email, set a reminder, make that phone call, introduce yourself to that person, start being the person you want to be.
And there is scientific evidence on why it is a countdown and not a count up. It is a strategy used in many fields. It is used in the army training and some teachers use this technique with kids too. It triggers the brain making it possible to stop habitual circle of thoughts that prevent us from taking action and activates the part of the brain which is able to overcome fear and stress. You outsmart your brain by not giving it time to create an excuse.
There are many other ways to work on your ability to take action towards your goals and this is very much part of my work. This one is a very effective tool that has worked for thousands of people and I hope that it is of value to you too.