Focus on Action, Not Results

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One of my clients was looking for work. 

He posted his resume to Monster.com, to Ziprecruiter.com, to upwork.com, and probably half a dozen other places. He got some calls as a result, but he wasn’t getting hired. 

At that point, I told him he had a choice to make. He’d advertised the fact that he was available for work. He could sit back and wait for someone to choose him, or he could keep working to make himself a better and better candidate. He chose the latter.

  • Rather than letting his posted resume be the final word on what he was capable of, he started taking classes to earn certifications in the field he wanted to work in.
  • Rather than letting his documented experience stand, he took on freelance work to build his portfolio and experience.
  • Rather than just hope for any job, he studied companies who hired professionals like him and got more and more familiar with their business goals and business models. 

When he finally got the call from one of those companies, he was able to show up-to-date training, a self-starting attitude, and recent clients for whom he’d solved business challenges. And he knew the business he was interviewing in so well he could talk about the company with knowledge and insight that demonstrated he had ideas that could be immediately valuable. 

He got that job.

This client of mine is a great example of one principle of success that gets missed too often:

You don't get results from focusing on results. You get results from focusing on the actions that produce results.

Stating goals is good. Stating goals is essential. But too often we treat goal achievement like there are only two steps to the process:

1. State goal

2. Achieve goal

This overlooks the action, the commitment and the work that exists between those two points. 

State your goal. You need to do that to clarify what you’re working toward. That’s your destination, just like you have a destination when you head out on a road trip. But once you’ve stated the goal, don’t focus on the end, focus on the steps between where you are and where you want to be. Focus on the next small thing you need to accomplish and then the one after that. Sometimes larger goals are so intimidating it stops people before they even start. Chop your goals into mini, more-manageable goals and actions that are necessary to reach the final goal. One step at a time.

Then get up every day and work on those things. Commit to doing the things that will get you the outcome you want. Your goal is your dream. You turn that dream into reality by first turning that dream into action.