Imagine yourself at the bottom of a breathtakingly beautiful mountain. The trees are magnificent, the birds are lovely, and the flowers are exquisite. You want to climb this mountain and marvel in the view from the peak because you know it’s one of the most amazing sights in the world.
But it seems like you’ll never get to the top.
The path is steep and overgrown, some loose pebbles make it a bit slippery, and it’s hard to imagine yourself getting all the way to the end of the trail from where you stand because it just seems so far and daunting.
This mountain is akin to that big project you need to finish. Maybe it’s finishing the book you’ve been working on for years. Maybe it’s writing the grant application for your not-for-profit company. Maybe it’s just cleaning out your overflowing closets. You know you want to do it, even need to do it. But the job feels so giant and overwhelming that you can’t envision yourself ever getting it done. Besides, how can you possibly get this project done when there are so many other little things like email and phone calls and bills taking up your time?
Well, today I want to share with you an important piece of information that can make these giant tasks completely approachable, even easy. It’s a tactic that may seem very obvious, but the truth is, most people don’t utilize this incredibly effective tool for moving forward and getting unstuck instantaneously!
This powerful tool is what I like to call the mini action step.
Without mini action steps, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer size and extent of your dream goals. While dream goals can create excitement and enthusiasm, if you aren’t sure how to make those dream goals happen, or don’t know what your next steps are, you can end up very stuck.
In contrast to the enormity and greatness of your BIG Project or dream goal, the mini-action step is the smallest, simplest, itty-bitty, next part of ANY project you are working on, whether it is your business newsletter, your painting portfolio, the re-organization of your home, or your weight loss plan.
The power of this mini-action step is that it is an easy, quick, do-able chunk that takes you from point A to point B instead of feeling overwhelmed and stuck because you are thinking you need to jump from point A to point Z all at once!
Here’s what I mean: Let’s say you want to organize a conference. When you start to think about all of the tasks and details you need to take care of to get that conference up and running – renting a space, hiring speakers, organizing the schedule, securing refreshments, attracting attendees, etc. – it’s easy to get dizzy and overwhelmed, and just decide that you don’t have the time or energy to make this dream of yours come true.
However, if you were to remove yourself from that sea of hundreds of details and possibilities, and begin to get clear on just the very next little step you needed to take – perhaps that step is simply to make a list of 5 -10 possible places to hold your conference - then things would quickly stop feeling so overwhelming, and you would feel confident and ready to move forward.
As you can see, the mini action step is truly TINY, but it can pack a powerful punch!
The key word to remember is "tiny". The mini action step does not include tasks that take more than one step to accomplish, such as "Secure location for conference." And, the mini-action step is not even "Call every possible location for conference." It’s simply and truly the smallest, itty-bitty next step: to make a list of possible locations for the conference. The mini action step shouldn’t take more than 30 – 60 minutes of your time; and it should be the next obvious step that you need to take.
Here are some examples of other mini next steps:
- Coming up with the idea for your next article (NOT writing the entire article)
- Making a list of 5 possible speakers for your conference (NOT securing your full roster of speakers)
- Choosing a healthy and nutritious recipe for dinner (NOT losing 5 pounds by the end of the week)
- Deciding on which service to use for your website (NOT launching your website)
- Signing up for an online dating site (NOT making sure you go on your first date within a week)
So, WHY is the mini-action step so important? Because it is an easy-breezy, quick, and uncomplicated next piece that will move you towards your larger goal. It is something that you can put into motion right away, and not feel overwhelmed by, or as if you don’t have enough time for it.
The more you break your big goals down into mini action steps, the easier it will be for you to move forward CONSISTENTLY without getting overwhelmed or feeling stuck in a place of fear around the enormity and difficulty of accomplishing your goals.
The truth is that you DON’T need to know how to accomplish every piece of your goal, and you don’t need to focus ahead on how you will figure out every piece of your goal. You need only focus on the very next task ahead of you, and figure THAT piece out. Then you’ll have moved forward to the next place, and it will be time to simply figure out the next piece after that. Baby steps. Oh, yes!
Activate the Power of Mini Action Steps NOW:
- If you are in a state of overwhelm, acknowledge it. You can recognize this if you are telling yourself things such as "I’m just ready to give up”, "There’s too much to do here”, or "I don’t know how to get this all done."
- Allow yourself to let go of the bigger picture for a few moments, and ask yourself: "What is the very next step that I need to take here?"
- If that next step seems overwhelming, then it is still too large! Ask yourself, "What is the smallest mini action step here?" Remember, this next step should take no more than 60 minutes.
- Once you’ve arrived at the smallest next step, write it down, and decide when you will do it.
- Focus ONLY on that mini action step until it’s complete. Keep yourself in the present moment with it, and don’t stray towards thoughts of the overwhelming big picture.