This post is part of our series on Extraordinary Success and is the third of four installments involving Intentionality.
In Intentionality pt 1, we introduced the four-step process for intentionally setting and living out your core values and discussed defining your preferred future.
In Intentionality pt 2, we learned the importance of assessing our current reality in order to establish a route to our preferred future.
Now we will move to the third step: taking action.
Define your preferred future
Once you have defined your preferred future and assessed your current reality, you should have a good idea of the action steps needed to get from point A to point B. Now it’s time to take action!
It’s easy to get stuck agonizing over the process. You can define and re-define your values, re-assess your current reality, and plan your course of action indefinitely. This is a trap! Until you take action on your plan, you will never get the results you seek.
One of the most common pitfalls is the idea that you need to have everything perfect in order to get started. Successful people invariably develop an action bias. They realize that getting the results they seek requires taking action even when they don’t have the plan perfected yet or when they don’t have all of the information.
The irony is that it’s actually easier to “perfect” your plan once you have taken action. You will naturally gain valuable feedback and understand what adjustments are needed once you have taken some action. I often say: you can’t steer a parked car. In the same way, you can aim a gun at the range forever making adjustments and never firing but wouldn’t it be better to aim as best you can, fire a shot, look at the result, adjust your aim and fire again?
Just pull the trigger!
Perhaps you’re thinking:
wait, didn’t you stress the importance of spending the extra time and effort to refine our core values? Now it seems like you’re telling us not to overthink it. What gives?
I’m glad that–I imagined–you asked. There is an important distinction to be made between clearly defined core values and perfectly formed values.
We do want clearly defined values, as opposed to vaguely defined. The more clearly defined the value, the more actionable it is.
On the other hand, we do not need perfect core values. This means you may need to add a core value later or perhaps remove one that didn’t fit as well as you thought it would. I’ve done this more than once, both with my personal core values and currently with our family core values. But whether you are making your initial list, adding new ones or removing an old one, the values should always be clear and precise instead of vague.
So what does it look like to take action on a newly minted set of core values?
The goal is for the core values to drive behavior.This means committing to a select few core values and acting on them. This means our values are clearly communicated to others. This means we make decisions based on our core values.The goal is for core values to drive behavior.This means decisions are based on core values. Click To Tweet
Taking action means actively implementing our core values. Taking action means that we do more than have a sign printed for the lobby or a plaque for the living room–although both of those things are fine and can be a form of accountability, which we’ll look at in the next post.
As always, if you’d like to find out how I can assist you on your journey, please do not hesitate to contact me, either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or directly at 423-893-6257.