Unlocking Your Potential: Insights from ‘For Your Improvement’ for Taking Action in Everyday Life

May 26, 2023

I recently picked up a book entitled “For Your Improvement” by Michael M. Lombardo & Robert W. Eichinger.

The book was written to serve as a guide for development and coaching however, much of its content can be applicable to assessing our mental state in everyday living. For example, one factor the authors address is the need to become action-oriented. In other words, living your best life requires the ability to “take action.” If you are constantly hesitating or delaying taking quick and timely action, this may be an indicator to take a closer look at your lack of action. The hesitation may be prompted by perfectionism, procrastination or the avoidance of risk. According to Lomardo & Eichinger, below are some strategies to help us overcome the inability to act.

  • Get an early start. Are you a lifelong procrastinator? Do you find yourself waiting until the last minute before you act? If so, try starting earlier and break the task down into smaller pieces, then commit to doing one piece a day. You can also set deadlines. Meeting one deadline will help generate the confidence for the next one.
  • Curb your appetite for certainty. Many people feel the need to be 100% certain before they act however, life does not always present perfect solutions. Recognize perfectionism for what it might be. For example, are you collecting information to improve your confidence and avoid criticism?  Rather than focusing on your need to have all the facts, work towards a reasonable balance between thinking and acting.
  • Balance thought with action. Avoid the examine-it-to-death mode and just do it. Ask yourself, am I holding back acting because I don’t have all of the information? Try making smaller decisions more quickly, you can always change courses along the way. Write down the pros and cons, consider both sides, and then take action.
  • Build your confidence. It could be you’re slow to act because you don’t think you’re up to the task. If this is the case, focus on your strengths, rather than your weaknesses. In other words, what can you do? For example, if you have strong interpersonal skills, see yourself smoothly dealing with questions and objections. You’ll never know what you can do, if you don’t act.  
  • Start small.  Break down your tasks and go for small wins. Starting small allows you to recover more quickly. When you make a mistake, treat your mistakes and failures as lessons learned. Remember the saying, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  
  • Focus on your interest. Write down the things you like and dislike, then focus on doing at least a couple of “liked” activities each day. If possible, trade or delegate the things you don’t like. If this is not possible, then do your least preferred activities first, focusing on your sense of accomplishment rather than the activity.
  • Set better priorities. The inability to act could be due to misplaced priorities. In other words, some people take action on the wrong things as some things are more critical than others. When priorities are not established, you can see 97 things as important, instead of focusing on two or three key priorities.
  • Get organized. If you lack the ability to design work for yourself and others and you’re late taking action because of it, it may be worth buying a book or taking a class on getting work done efficiently and effectively. Being organized helps relieve stress, and increases productivity.
  • Polish you sales pitch. Taking action requires getting others on board. Therefore, work on improving your influence and selling skills. Lay out the business reason for your actions. The more involved a person is, the easier they are to influence.
  • Consider a shift. If you are working as hard as you care to give and you still feel you’re in a place where it’s not enough. It may be time to consider something new. Consider doing something that requires less action or initiation on your part or where your balance between quality of life, required of you are more balanced. 

Remember the words of John F. Kennedy, “There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” If you feel you lack the ability to act and you’re ready for change, contact us today. We’re here and ready to help!