The Importance of Taking Action

painting colorsIt’s not enough to have a dream or vision for your work, creativity or life and just visualize the intended outcome. You have to take action; and it’s easier to get started and keep going if you take a series of baby steps. Just one small step toward the life you really want will get you there.

My favorite story about the power of taking small daily actions comes from David Whyte, in his book Crossing the Unknown Sea. He tells of working for a nonprofit while holding the vision of making a living from his poetry. Since he wasn’t doing anything to turn the idea into reality, he began to feel exhausted. He asked his friend, Brother David Steindl-Rast to tell him about exhaustion and Brother David responded “the solution to exhaustion is not rest, it is wholeheartedness.

At that point David Whyte began taking one small step a day towards his vision of making a living as a poet. Some days he memorized a poem, other days he made phone calls and he let people know about his dream. By day 273 he got a call from a consciousness raising conference at Asilomar, California, where one of the speakers had canceled and they wanted to know if David could take his place. That launched David Whyte on a career where he uses poetry to talk about the life of the soul. This eventually lead to his being invited to do this work in corporate America and he makes a six figure annual income from his poetry.

Whether you have a creative project in mind or you want to make major changes in your life, break your goals down into small action steps and take one each day. Then with every step congratulate yourself for moving closer toward your dream. If you try to make big leaps toward your goals you usually meet with too much resistance and fear that stops you. Small daily actions allow you to sneak under the radar of your resistance to change and stretch your comfort zone in a manageable way.

The best kind of action is inspired action where you listen to your heart or the still small voice within. You take action not out of the sense that you’ve got to make something happen but out of an inner knowing that this is the right step to take. You may have the intuition to go to a place for coffee that you don’t usually go to but while ordering your latte, you run into someone you haven’t seen in years who has a contact that will help you on your way.

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