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Five steps for taking inspired action

What does it mean to take inspired action? Many of us know what we want but have never taken the time to create a plan, set goals and finally take action to complete those goals. In his audiobook, Your Right to Be Rich (Think and Grow Rich), Napoleon Hill described calls this concept “personal initiative.” According to Hill, personal initiative is the vital principle in achieving success. 

To take personal initiative, however, we must first establish a strong and clear purpose, a goal that we can focus on and diligently work toward. While many people have a very clear idea of what their goals are and how to accomplish them, others are unclear about what they would like to do in life and therefore have never defined their goals. 

This is a primary difference between those who achieve success and those who do not. A longitudinal study done at Harvard years ago found a striking difference between successful and unsuccessful people. The common denominator in those who had achieved success was that they had carefully identified what their specific goals were and had written them down. As simple as this sounds, it is a powerful tool and vital step in accomplishing any major life goal.

Recipe for Success

The process of searching introspectively for the most meaningful and rewarding actions that you can take in your life, defining those thoughts and feelings into simple goals, and focusing wholeheartedly on their completion is the recipe that allows your dreams to take flight. This recipe effectively focuses your attention toward what you want and empowers you to create positive change in the direction that you desire. Another vital element in this process is establishing a routine of self-discipline. 

My husband can attest that I have often been a master of distraction, spreading my energy in a variety of directions rather than focusing completely on one goal at a time. My high-energy personality tends to fault to this tendency, which has led me to establish a daily practice of taking inspired action toward my goals.  This equates to more or less building time into my routine to focus on my goals. Self-discipline is needed because there are always so many other things that I "could" be doing. 

When working toward a goal I use the term "inspired action" — inspired because as you work toward your heart’s passion, you will get excited and jazzed about the possibilities that each day brings to you. Your excitement will infect others with whom you come into contact. What a win-win-win situation.

This process also requires faith, fostering a belief that anything is possible. In doing so, you allow yourself to go beyond self-imposed limitations and step outside your comfort zone. When you begin to have faith in yourself and your own abilities, you will find yourself doing things that used to intimidate you, and you will begin to stretch and grow. You become a person who accomplishes goals and exudes confidence and success.

Steps in taking inspired action:

  1. Explore and identify what your life’s purpose is. Delve into the areas of life that you love and what brings you the most personal gratification. Weed through ideas until you have a tangible goal that you feel excited about and ready to achieve. Write it down and post it where you can view it daily.  The simple act of writing it down will put you ahead of the majority.
  2. Use tools to help remind you of the goal you are working toward. A popular and useful tool for this is to create a Vision Board. This is a visual representation of the goal. It can be made from pictures, words, or other items and should be as creative and inspiring to you as possible. Hang it somewhere nearby and look at it often to give you a constant reminder of where you will soon be in your life. 
  3. Create an accountability process that keeps you engaged, inspired, and on track for success.  This could mean joining forces with a friend, spouse, or mastermind group to glean support and remind you of what you are working toward.
  4. Make conscious choices rather than heeding obligations or replaying in your mind what you “should” be doing. Consciously choosing your actions will make you feel empowered and excited about the things that you are doing.
  5. Reward yourself! We all have tasks that we don’t like to do but we know that at the end of the day they have to get done somehow. Reward yourself with a fun project, time with your family, a bike ride — whatever you are passionate about.
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Teri Karjala

Teri Karjala is owner of the Creative Counseling Center, LLC, as well as Talking With Teri, LLC. Teri’s passion for the business aspects of owning and maintaining a business has made her a sought out coach by others in the helping fields. She is a regular columnist for ColoradoBiz Magazine and speaks to therapists across the nation in building their thriving practice. Recently she has released her “How to Live Deliciously” Creative Journal Series to help inspire and empower adults, teens, and children. These are available in print at www.talkingwithteri.com.

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