I heard this fabulous phrase from a well-known coach. His name is Simon Alexander Ong and it absolutely captures the work I believe we have in front of us whether it is personal, professional, and/or spiritual. The phrase is “Collapse the Gap between Idea and Execution” and in this article, I want to share with you three strategies on how to help you do exactly that; Collapse the Gap between Idea and Execution.
So, I would like for you to take a moment and think about something that you want to have happen in your life. It can be anything – something personal, something professional; it can be large or small. Something that is meaningful to you. And I want you to hold this focus during your time reading this article.
Now I bet all of you “KNOW” what you should do to make that happen. You are incredibly educated, highly informed, and aware and know what you SHOULD do to make this happen. However, there is this space between your ears that houses our brains, and inside their lives these critics, these judges, and saboteurs that get in our way and derail and hijack us from our destinations.
These judges and saboteurs tell us what we can and cannot do, what we can and cannot be and they feed us lies that create these gaps between idea and execution.
So, 11 years ago, in 2022 I ran my 4th marathon and my 3rd Boston marathon. It was the year before the 2013 bombings and if you followed the marathon that year, it was about 90 degrees and runners throughout were dropping off the course like flies due to the heat.
Ten years earlier, on November 2, 2002, I lived my first day smoke-free. Cigarettes that is – as I had smoked for over two decades at least a pack, pack and half a day. My quitting story is captured in this article.
When I quit, I knew that I needed to do something that was counter to smoking so I started to run. Well, I started to walk and then walking turned into running. I soon started running 5K’s, then 10K’s, then half marathons and then in 2004, I ran my first marathon.
I ran as fast as you walk, and at that point, I decided to run with charity organizations. In doing so we raised money for some amazing charities, and we were provided with a coach and a team to train and assist us in running and events.
A week before my first Boston marathon, our coach Rick said to our team, “Now when you get to mile 13 look for me as I have a message that will get you to the finish line.”
So, running a marathon, like most things in life, is a mental game. I had to create a whole host of mental games from mile 1 – mile 12 to just get to Rick at mile 13. So, as I was running the race and approaching mile 13, I was feverishly looking for Rick. I was scanning all around and when I looked down, I saw Rick crouched in the middle of the road looking right at me. Our eyes locked and I was saying to myself, “Okay Rick give it to me, 'cause whatever you are going to tell me it is going to get me to the finish line.” And I recall waiting for what seemed like minutes but was seconds. What is this magical message that Rick is going to give?
And then before I knew it, I saw him pointing to his head with his pointer finger. What??? That is all you got for me. And then I realized, Ahhhh, it is all in my HEAD. Yes, it is all in my head. Rick was telling me, getting to the finish line is all in my head. And it was – it got me to the finish line.
So here is the first strategy for collapsing the gap between idea and execution:
Anchor an Empowering State of Mind:
Anchor an empowering state of mind. This means shifting from a negative mindset – away from your judges and saboteurs and into a positive frame of mind. This is primary and key. It is step number one. Tell your judges and your saboteurs that you “Got this!” Tell yourself what you would tell your closest friend, your child, or any loved one when they are doubting themselves that they have everything to Get It Done!
Second, I am a huge fan of “Micro Living” and what I mean by that is taking things and breaking them into chunks and micro goals, so they become doable and attainable.
Most of the time, our goals, our desires, and our destinations feel too overwhelming, too much, too complicated, too, and add whatever words fit for you and then we get scared and allow our fear to take over. We can both be fearful and do it anyway.
So, when I was training – I focused on what I needed to do that day, and even on the runs, sometimes I would run telephone pole to telephone pole, or block to block – I created small increments that I could focus on and broke it down.
Once you have an empowered state, chunk out and break down the steps into tiny bite-sized pieces. This is microchunking.
And lastly, when you train for the Boston Marathon, you train for about 16 weeks from Thanksgiving through April. And living in New England, you are training in the cold, snowy, and wet weather. I would get up at 5 am and run anywhere from 5 – 20 miles on any given day and let me tell you – there was nothing in my body that was motivated to get up in the pitch dark cold wintery months and go out and run.
Here is what I did. I operationalized my training. And what did that mean exactly? I would just create physical steps that I took to get out there. So, I set my running clothes out the night before, I went to bed early, I set my alarm and when it went off, I got up, went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, had a cup of coffee (I really needed that) and then walked out the door and started to run. I was a machine – I just operated in a robotic fashion. I did not let my brain say anything that would stop my body from moving and getting out that door.
Some of us wait for this explosion of inspiration. I will do X when I am inspired and motivated. I will say this loudly and clearly. I am not a fan of motivation. Why? Because you can be waiting to ignite your motivation for a long time. Here is the trick. DO IT and then the motivation will come. I repeat, DO IT and then the motivation will come.
So, I would go through my operational steps and once I was outside – not immediately but at some point, during my run, my motivation and inspiration would come.
So, step 3 - DO IT and Motivation will Come. Motion and Action Create Emotion!!
There you have it – now please reflect on the goal you were thinking of – use these three steps to collapse the gap between Idea and Execution and see just what you are made of!
· Anchor an Empowering State
· Chunk it Out, create Micro Steps and
· Do not wait to be inspired. Do It and Motivation will Come.