What’s Stopping You Taking Action…Really?

What’s Stopping You Taking Action…Really?

By Jamie Matthewman
September 19th, 2014

With Such a Big ‘Why’, Why Is It I’m Not Taking The Necessary Action?

This post is a response to the question above, posed by an Inspired Man reader. A man who’s intent on creating a great life for himself and his family, but finding he’s not taking the necessary action, particularly in relation to his business to move it forward. So what’s going on?

There are probably a 100+ reasons why action isn’t taken, so the only reference I can offer is my own experience. When I’m procrastinating and therefore not taking the action I need to, there are usually five things at play. These are :

    1. I haven’t made the action specific enough
    2. It is hard or I’m not ready
    3. I haven’t made it important enough
    4. Laziness
    5. My why isn’t big enough

1. I Haven’t Identified the Very Next Physical Action

If I haven’t identified the specific action I need to make, then there’s no clarity. For example making a sales call requires a whole series of specific activities before you even pick up the phone, such as creating a list of numbers to call, researching companies, creating a call template, identifying what questions to ask, understanding who the gatekeeper is etc etc.

But to do this I need to understand the sales call process, otherwise I can’t identify the very next specific action to take, so first of all I need to learn this. Otherwise in my mind, the thought of making sales calls will seem overwhelming and I won’t know where to start.

So it’s a good idea to first define the scope of a project or process so that you have a good overview of what’s required, and then be continuously asking yourself “what is the very next specific action I need to take”. Then do it.

2. It’s Hard

There are something’s that simply require you to put in the hard work to ensure the successful completion of a project. This may mean working long hours or even hard physical labour, but perhaps the hardest part may well be taking a step outside of your comfort zone.

If something’s perceived as difficult or challenging fear gets involved, and as I’m sure you know, fear can take you out of action if you let it. If you believe a task is hard, it’s easy to let yourself be distracted and choose something less important, you probably unconsciously perceive to be easier.

Again one of the ways to get around this is to simply focus on the very next action, to break the process down into small chunks rather than thinking about ‘making sales calls’.

Another option is to delegate the hard tasks to someone with greater skill levels than you, but if this isn’t possible, you’ll need to make a commitment to take control of and master the hard stuff.

3. Laziness

Sometimes I just can’t be bothered. If I don’t have the energy or inclination taking any kind of action, especially if it requires great effort and concentration, will feel like hard work.

This usually happens when I’ve not been looking after myself as well as I could. Perhaps if I’ve been working too hard, taking on too many projects or simply not doing the things I know help me feel good.

So it’s important to do the basics. Get a good nights rest, drink plenty of water, eat as pure as you can and exercise at least 3 times a week. It isn’t rocket science and this will help you to have the highest levels of energy and motivation to take on the hard work required when building a business.

4. I Haven’t Made It Important

If I’m unaware something’s important, obviously I won’t know I need to do it. Sometimes there are necessary actions needed to complete a project, but because of a blind spot or a lack of knowledge or information, I don’t make those activities important.

I am also prone to deluding myself, by not admitting fears holding me back. If something feels difficult, it’s usually scary too, that often stops me. Seth Godin wrote something similar on his blog recently

“The next thing you do today will be the most important thing on your agenda, because, after all, you’re doing it next. Well, perhaps it will be the most urgent thing. Or the easiest. In fact, the most important thing probably isn’t even on your agenda.”

5. My Why Isn’t Big Enough


The question implies your why is something you wholeheartedly believe in, so if that’s the case it should be inspiring to you, inspiration is the seed of commitment. And it’s commitment that’s going to make you stop at nothing to achieve your why.

However I have found that when I’m not really connected to my why with all of my heart then there’s always potentially going to be some other activity that’s not going to get me the desired result I want, vying for my attention, distract me from what I say is more important.

If you why is really that inspiring to you and for you, your commitment shouldn’t wain. Having a powerful why is the foundation for maintaining your commitment long after inspiration fades. So is your why big enough? Is it clear enough? When you read it (assuming you have it written down) are you filled with excitement and vitality?

I wrote more about procrastination in this article. Read this article it might offer you some more insights.

Now over to you. What else might be stopping our friend here getting done what he says he should?

Jamie Matthewman

About Jamie Matthewman

Jamie is the founder, main contributor and editor of The Inspired Man.

2 thoughts on “What’s Stopping You Taking Action…Really?

  • Great article, thanks!
    My problem is that a lot of times, I just don’t know what to do next. I guess that partly #1 that you have in this list.

    • Hi Kersten, I know what you mean, there are times when I feel like I don’t know what to do, but if I allow that story to infiltrate my day, I am going to feel stuck, which means I’m out of action and so the story seems to get bigger and bigger until I’m really feeling like I don’t know what to do. So maybe it’s worth just doing something, however there are time it’s good to take sometime out so that you can reconnect with your deeper purpose. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What are you trying to achieve? What change do you want to make? Once you revisit questions like these I’d be surprised if you didn’t find some ideas that inspire you into action. Hope that’s helpful 🙂

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