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All The Strategizing You’re Doing Is Sabotaging Your Success

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Strategizing is severely overrated. When you’re strategizing, you are paving a path of the best intentions. When you are deep in strategizing mode, everything feels exciting and doable and filled with possibility. But actually starting and following through with your best laid plans is often a completely different story. Unfortunately, far too many dreams and good intentions never proceed beyond the initial strategy stage. And for ambitious people like you and I, that is simply not good enough.

Here are 3 insidious ways that all that strategizing you’re doing is actually sabotaging your success, and most importantly, what to do instead:

1. It keeps you on the wrong side of the starting line.

We’ve been conditioned to be perfectionists. And as perfectionists, we like to wait until we have an entire plan mapped out before we get started to ensure our efforts will succeed right out of the gate. This is why shopping around for a proven strategy for what we want to accomplish is so enticing. If someone has already figured out how to do the thing, then all we have to do is copy their strategy, and voila! Success.

I once heard Mel Robbins say that perfectionism is not really the pursuit to be perfect, but rather “the desire to be immune from criticism.” (Doesn’t that just hit you right between the eyeballs?) You’re not spending all this time in strategy mode just because you think it’s the smart thing to do. You are lingering here because it’s far more comfortable on this side of the starting line. It’s safer here. You can’t fail or get rejected or make a mistake before you cross the proverbial starting line. So the longer you avoid crossing that starting line, the longer you get to remain “immune from criticism.” If you want to achieve anything that matters to you, you have to get into implementation mode even before you have everything ready and “just so.” The truth is, it’s never going to be perfect. You just have to go for it.

2. It gives you a false sense of accomplishment.

Building out a fancy-pants strategy can give you a false sense of accomplishment. You can spend countless hours creating whimsical mind maps and spreadsheets filled with brilliant ideas and logical steps connected by arrows and timelines. You can spend loads of time talking through business models or process ideas with other strategy junkies, exploring endless possibilities. Or you can find yourself endlessly shopping for someone else’s step-by-step strategy for making things happen instead of actually making things happen. 

When it comes to goals, it’s all about taking action. At the end of the day, you can have the best laid plans in your hand, but if you haven’t taken any steps toward their execution, you’re still no closer. In fact, you’ve lost yet another day to strategizing when you could have been implementing all along.

3. It promises more than it can deliver.

By definition, choosing a strategy assumes that if you follow a series of steps, you are guaranteed a desired outcome. So if you can just find and adopt the right strategy (whatever that means) and then follow the outlined steps with fidelity, you should expect to get the same results. 

It totally makes sense that you want to find a solid strategy for your next big endeavor. Why reinvent the wheel when someone else out there has already made mistakes, course corrected, and lived to tell the tale? If you can get your hands on someone else’s recipe for success, shouldn’t you shorten your learning curve by benefiting from their lessons learned? 

Right? Yeah, not so much. Not in my experience, anyway.

Internet marketers everywhere are hip to the fact that we crave clever shortcuts to success. They craft carefully worded sales pages promising to share the secrets to their success path in a tight, eight module package of videos and workbooks. If you act now and just adhere to their roadmap, you too can be as rich and famous as they are by next Tuesday. 

I get it. That sounds really good on paper. I’ve bought plenty of that same infocrack myself, much of which is currently collecting cyber-dust on my desktop right now. But none of those prepackaged strategies can take into account our unique needs, strengths, and goals. All these programs tend to do is cost us more time, money, and confidence than we can afford.

For ambitious people who want to do great things in this world as soon as humanly possible, following someone else’s step-by-step is never going to cut it. Your success path is uniquely yours. So borrow some of those great ideas, sure, but ultimately, you’ve got to blaze your own path. 

“Strategy is a fancy word for coming up with a long-term plan and putting it into action.” – Ellie Pidot

So now what?

You know that the quicker you implement, the faster you will move the needle toward what you want to accomplish. Ultimately, what really matters is the final outcome, not a six-month process of coming up with a plan. But implementation only happens after you let go of the perfectionism of take that big, scary step off the starting line paint. So how on earth can you move past the safety of strategizing mode and starting making things happen?

Approach everything as an experiment

But what if instead of waiting until you feel “ready,” you went ahead and started doing the thing? What if instead of just planning, or waiting until everything is just so, or until the stars align in a way that’s convenient for you, you jumped into implementation mode? Instead of spending another day strategizing (or shopping for someone else’s prepackaged strategy), consider approaching your next big thing as an experiment. And be clear: I’m not talking about some super sophisticated A/B split testing sort of project; I suggest tackling your next big thing as you would a fourth grade science experiment. 

A strategy requires you to map out all the steps and predict all the possible challenges before you get started to achieve a specific end. But by contrast, our fourth grade experiment sets out to test an educated guess. Identify or predict what you think might happen (your hypothesis), even though you can’t be sure how things will actually go down. But now you can get started, try some things out, collect a little data, and see what happens. 

When you approach your goals as experiments, all that self-sabotaging perfectionism and procrastination is instantly squashed. You can start immediately – even before you have everything figured out – because you’ve given yourself permission to just start and trust that you’ll figure things out along the way. Each day in your experiment, you experience a much richer sense of accomplishment, because you’re learning whilst taking bold, imperfect action. You’ll stop looking to gurus to have all the answers and trust yourself to find your path, your way. And most importantly, you’ll get much farther, faster than you ever did strategizing.

Jennie Mustafa-Julock is the sought after coach, speaker, and author for people who have impatient ambition. These are amazing humans who have done some great things, but want more - and it’s just not happening fast enough. Coach Jennie’s work has been the catalyst for her clients to launch new businesses, publish first books, negotiate career leaps, adventure the world, and more. Her genius has been featured by SXSW, Alt Summit, Huffington Post, NYU, Reinvention Radio, and more. She runs her growing empire with her wife and CEO from inside their Airstream trailer. If you’re ready to stop squandering your potential so that you can get farther, faster than you ever thought possible, start by downloading her free Tackle Your Fears Workbook (tackleyourfears.com) and/or join her Make It Happen community at coachjennie.com.

Success Advice

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As another cat video is served to me in my Reels on Facebook, I am beginning to wonder if this platform can still serve to attract clients to my coaching business. And as the wondering turns into worrying, I feel a pressing need to make some vital changes to what worked for my solopreneur business for half a decade. (more…)

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Success Advice

5 Simple Habits to Live A Less Chaotic, Happier Life

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Many of us spend our daily lives searching for happiness. We jump from one job to another, from one hobby to another, hoping to spark a sense of joy and purpose.

But it’s hard pursuing happiness. After all, life is full of frustration and can put a stopper to our feel-good days.

And it’s challenging to be happy when we are juggling the responsibilities of everyday life like work and relationships. While achieving happiness is arduous, it’s not impossible. Try out these 5 habits to enjoy life more and be happier.

1. Walk in Nature

Spending time in nature has always improved my mood. Taking a walk around my neighborhood park, surrounded by trees and vegetation, I enter a peaceful state of mind.

The worries previously weighing on my mind are suddenly lifted, and I feel an indescribable sense of joy.

Taking just 20 minutes out of my day to get a fresh breath of air is extremely relaxing. 

In our work culture that favors busyness, there is little room for calmness. We associate a busy schedule with how successful we are, which isn’t entirely true at all.

In fact, it might be a disaster in the making. All that stress and anxiety bottled up without an outlet—the outcome is obvious.

So getting in touch with nature is my go-to way of maintaining a proper work-life balance. It makes me energized and ready to blast through the rest of my day with optimism.

2. Smile More Often

I make it a habit to smile every day; they aren’t fake smiles but genuine ones. And they have become a regular part of my life.

What am I smiling at, exactly? It can be the night sky covered with shining stars, like fine quicksand. Or, it can be the flowers sprouting new leaves in spring.

I embrace everything with open arms. Even when I have a rainy day, I don’t let it ruin my momentum.

Regardless of what happens, a simple smile can brighten my day; and best yet, it’s completely free.

At some point, everyone can have a stressful day and feel burned out. So put up a smile. Even if you’re not a positive person, take a firm stance against negativity. Your daily life will surely burst with joy.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

3. Find Your Passion

Many people dive headfirst into a day job that doesn’t interest them. They do it just for the money, which only makes them more miserable.

People who aren’t attached to their work will find difficulty achieving happiness. They live in a gray and stale world devoid of positivity.

Listen to your heart. Ask yourself: What makes me feel enthusiastic and excited? This is a time to discover your hopes and dreams.

You have endless opportunities in this world. Start a business. Volunteer at a charity drive. Figure out your reason why.

Personally, I used to turn to real estate to earn dependable rental income. But there was no sense of fulfillment. That feeling soon reached a tipping point, which pushed me to re-prioritize everything.

I wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Combining my interest in business and self-improvement, I pursued my passion for blogging. And I can’t be any happier about it.

Everyone needs something that keeps their life meaningful. It can be a source of light that helps us walk in the right direction.

So having goals and dreams makes us genuinely happy. Without them, it will be a long, treacherous journey.

4. Practice Gratitude

Some days we may not feel a shred of gratitude. We are overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of life where we seek perfection, one that is only full of success and wins.

However, that will only put you further away from happiness.

Take the time every day to pause and appreciate something in your life. What I find helpful is sitting down with a pen and paper.

I start with “I am grateful for…” It can be the appreciation for my afternoon cup of herbal tea. It can be the clear blue sky on a sunny day.

This routine sets up a support system that reinforces positive emotions. It reminds me that there are many things I’ve experienced in life and even more things that I’m grateful for.

Even if I have a bad day, I try my best to be grateful and encourage lasting joy.

So appreciate everything that enters your life—all the good and bad. You will see your mood elevate to an entirely new level.

5. Create Memories With Loved Ones

It can be tempting to focus all our time and energy on reaching valued goals. We say, “I’ll take it easy and spend time with loved ones after I’m successful.”

But what if that time never comes? What if, at some point, your loved ones are suddenly gone?

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Prioritize your loved ones today, not next year. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave any room for regret.

The cherished memories you make now will be a spark of joy. They can even be a source of motivation when shooting for goals.

As social creatures, sharing stories, feelings, and dreams can make us happy and fulfilled.

Living a solitary life is not for everyone. Although having some alone time is perfectly fine, you should still make memorable experiences with those close to you. They will be cherished within your heart for as long as you live.

The quest for lasting happiness can be daunting at times. We spend much of our time searching for it, almost giving up along the way.

But you need to see the bright side. Living a better and happier life isn’t a far-fetched dream; it’s within reach. Remember that happiness can come from the small habits and things you do daily.

If you want to lead the life you truly want, practice these 5 habits and be consistent every day. Don’t give up halfway. Once you do so, there will be nothing stopping you from enjoying life to the fullest.

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Success Advice

Avoid These 12 Mistakes on the Way to Success

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