Plans are necessary, good and can be exciting. In fact, being an Enneagram 7 I love to plan and think of all the possibilities. So much so I can get totally derailed by the planning process…..and be faked out into thinking I’m making tangible progress!
What I really like to do is execute. I want to get stuff done, see the final product and reach the goal. After all, nothing breeds success like success. And nothing can sabotage it like trying to “go big” when your trying to achieve big things.
The Secret To Achieving Big Things
So what’s the secret to achieving big things? Starting small.
The most effective form of internal motivation is making progress….any type of progress. Behavioral research and at least the last 50 yrs of experience in the business world has clearly demonstrated that to be the case.
The more I thought about it after reading through Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism for the third time, I realized the simple concept of incremental progress lies at the heart of most popular and highly effective productivity approaches. Here are a few:
It also underlies the foundation of the Solution Focused Coaching model, which is “small steps successively approximated lead to big change.”
How To Go Small To Go Big
Minimal Viable Preparation (MVP): the key concept is to start early and small. Take a goal or project and ask yourself “What one small thing could I do right now to support it?” Here are some examples:
- Writing a book: On day 1, just make the file folders that will contain each chapter’s content. Done
- Big presentation coming up: Open and name the presentation file (or save a copy of the template file you use with the name of the presentation). Enter the title and jot down a few quick points. Done
- Key stake holder meeting: once scheduled, take 10 seconds to write down the main points you want to cover. Done
- Major project: Write down the first three action items you need to accomplish, then block time on your calendar to do the first one. Done
Minimal Viable Progress (MVP2): It’s been said that “Done is better than Perfect”. How true, because perfect never really gets done! Instead of perfect or even grand, focus on the next small step by asking yourself this question: “What is the smallest thing I can achieve that will actually move me a bit closer to where I want to be with this?”
In addition to actually getting stuff done vs adding to the pile, we reap more enjoyment and satisfaction when we take small steps to make big change.
I have to admit I was tempted to bag writing a blog post this week, which is packed and includes travel. I took the MVP approach instead. At the end of Monday I just created a file, named it, and jotted a topic down. That’s it, done. A to-do item on my list for the next day was “open file”. The rest is what you’re reading here.
What’s one thing you’ve been putting off that taking an MVP approach would help you get started with?
Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about your results.