Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Success Principles ~ Principle 8

Jack Canfield's Success Principle #8 is chunk it down. He recommends a logical process of creating a step-by-step map of how to get there from here. Once you have measurable goals with deadlines, you determine "all the individual action steps you will need to take to accomplish your goals" and then start taking them.

He provides strategies, reminding us that we can ask for help, research and use visualization to determine the necessary steps. He describes a great tool called mind-mapping. You place your goal in a circle in the middle of a page. Think of the major subcategories of the goal and create circles for them too. Tie them to the main goal with spokes. Around each circle write all the steps for that area of focus. I love this approach because it generates actions in a non-linear way. I get out a big piece of newsprint, some coloured markers and do this one on the floor.

Chunking it down is an approach that I've seen work many a time, especially when working on the biggest, wildest dreams. Sometimes we come up with a big, gorgeous, inspiring dream and
when we start thinking about actually making it happen, our eyes glaze over like we under a spell, *blink* *blink*, and we can't think of any possible step we can take that will get us there from. This is where a mind map can really help. It's as though each subcategory is one step back, giving you perspective and room to breathe. The steps you come up with from there start to feel much more possible. Today I can confidently request the calendar from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Whereas I had no idea how I was going to perform on stage with an orchestra.

What I also see in my practice is people get stuck because they feel like the next step has to be the one and only perfect step that is meant to come next in the cosmic plan and if they choose the wrong thing at any point along the road there will be no hope in getting to their dream. But think about taking a short trip, say to the corner store. Say you head out in the wrong direction. At some poing you think "Hey, I haven't found the corner store. I thought it was closer than this." Then you might try a different direction. You might ask for directions. You might give up and go home. You might keep going forward, confident that you'll come across it eventually. You might find a different store. You will discover where the corner store is not. Lots of interesting and useful things can happen and, yes, frustrating things too. But the one thing that didn't happen is it did not become impossible that you would ever get to the store.

In this chapter Jack Canfield suggests that you want to find all the steps that are going to get you to your dream. For some people this process is exciting. It's like seeing the journey come to life before you in a series of steps. It's taking a highlighter and tracing your route on a map. It makes it feel real. It steeps you in the concrete. It's immensely practical. Once you know what you have to do, you simply have to do it.

But did the word "all" in there send anyone into overwhelm? Feeling like you need to know every step before you get started can definitley put the brakes on. I have seen many a client who gets stuck here. They start to believe that if they don't have it all sorted out, they're not going to get there, so why bother trying? What a horrible place to be stuck. But as we break it down into what they can do today, here's what they slowly and surely discover. If you take the first step, actually, if you take a first step, any first step, more and more steps appear before you and things become clearer. Sometimes rather than travelling with a route firmly plotted, we are adventuring, putting one foot in front of the other and moving in the direction of our dreams. And amazing things can happen on that road, things you couldn't have planned for.
For me, it's useful to use these words of Martin Luther King Jr. as a guide:
"You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step."
Whether traveling with a map or adventuring with a general sense of direction, good luck on your journey.

And don't forget tomorrow's Dance Party


Suzie Ridler said...

Excellent post yet again Jamie. I love how you share the process of this book with us as well as your particular perspective on his ideas. I love that quote and the idea to take things literally one step at a time is very wise.

I'm be dancing tomorrow! Can hardly wait.

Unknown said...

Hi Jamie,

You have me all geared up for the dance party tomorrow. I went to the library to get some CDs, since I don't own any. I picked Salsa, Cha-cha-cha, and belly dancing. I figure that 5 minutes of each will pretty much cover it.

This is a thought-provoking post. I am usually oppositional to anything linear. It feels very male and business-driven, and very mathematical -- not my way of thinking. I prefer a more organic and intuitive approach that defies quantification.

Yet, you have managed to inject a measure of intuition into this linear and mathematical model. I really like your "grocery store" analogy. I have to re-read it tomorrow on...... DANCE DAY!

Shannon said...

I love reading these posts!!!!!

Since working through the book - oh, well reading though, I'll work through it after I read the whole thing I believe.... these posts so wonderfully clarify and reinforce the principles.

This one, especially with the mind map I find a little tough. But it isn't that it's hard to do, it's becuase it makes it so you can see that it's possible. Sometimes that is scary and overwhelming!! Even though really it should be reasuring. I guess you can feel differently each step of the way.

Time to climb!