3 tips for when you know what to do but can’t perform

You’ve read what the experts say. You’ve collected the necessary tools. You are committed. You are trying. Yet nothing changes. And you feel stagnant.

When I was a divorced single mother of four children under seven-year’s old on welfare, food stamps, and medical assistance, homeless and without an automobile I didn’t have time to go back to school to learn a new profession. I had four hungry mouths hanging open in front of me like baby birds.

Follow Ladders on Flipboard!

Follow Ladders’ magazines on Flipboard covering Happiness, Productivity, Job Satisfaction, Neuroscience, and more!

Failure wasn’t an option. I decided to cease seeking what was “fair”, stop throwing money away on lawyers and accept that it was a far better use of my energy to focus on succeeding as the sole provider for my children than to expect family court to give anyone a conscience.

I had to put a plan together to hold my family together. I felt anxious, dejected and exhausted. I can’t tell you that I thought much about planning. There wasn’t time for ideal, only real. There wasn’t room for perfect, only good enough. I knew what I was good at and I knew my weaknesses. I decided to play to my strengths, not be embarrassed to ask for help and I took risks. I was completely vulnerable to failure. But, I was intensely focused on the vision of success.

Often, we want change but are stuck on a story we’ve been repeating to ourselves on how we aren’t good enough – smart enough, educated enough, experienced enough, cute enough, thin enough, likable enough, connected enough or worthy. We adopt these assumptions as facts and play to them. Dreadful.

Sure, I could have perseverated on how I wasn’t good enough for any of the CEO positions I’ve held. That was measurably so if you looked at my background versus the job descriptions on paper. So, I didn’t focus on that. I focused on my measurable results. Nobody cared that I didn’t have an MBA when I could close a million-dollar deal, increase trade show attendance 150%, and raise $10.4 million on the heels of the largest hospital bankruptcy in US history.

I became known for turning around organizations that were troubled. I learned that skill through the turnaround of my own financial situation.

With more work, I was able to let go of my stuck-story of not being loveable enough. That’s where I found love and where happily ever after happened.

The philosophical view is not enough. If theory were enough to sustain desired results we would execute every wise piece of advice we’ve learned in trainings, self-help books and college for great achievement.

Intellectually, we know what we need to do to succeed. If knowledge delivered change we would all be thin, gorgeous, have great careers and relationships and be abundantly happy. We’d easily be able to stop eating sweets and carbs, successfully take job risks that get noticed, stick to a disciplined exercise routine and exhibit compassion for ourselves and others.

Action with a Sense of Urgency

Action is imperative. Period. A sense of urgency is the impetus to action. How will you tie the two together? Research shows that confidence builds by taking risks. An intention to change is not change. Intention is a start but not a finish. Yet we wait for things to be perfect. We strive for excellence. Procrastination takes hold.  We justify failure to launch with excuses that keep us safe. “It’s not the right time.” “I will get to it next quarter.” Find your driver. Is it the memory of someone who waited too long? Is it for your health? Relationship?

Anticipation with No Fear of Rejection

The best leaders know how to anticipate, act and retool. They analyze and anticipate market trends. They intuitively read people’s reactions and adjust their executive presence. They instinctively know where to be and how to behave. It’s risky to position one’s self, product or service before the need is obvious. It is also far better to be prepared and out ahead of the pack than behind the curve. Yes, sometimes when you anticipate you will be wrong. Invite the feedback and agree on the need to re-evaluate. Nothing makes you stuck in negativity forever but your own ego and stubbornness. Anticipate and adjust in real time – not when it is too late.

Letting Go without Judgment

Release the need you cling to that keeps you safe. Of course, change is difficult. It’s also faster than the slow decay of dreams, health, relationships, careers, and fulfillment that draws us into hopelessness. Don’t be a passive participant in your own destiny. Discard guilt, and blame. They don’t advance anything but the stuck-story. Draw on the strengths that got you through previous challenges and let go of expectations. You are capable. You are effective. You’ve achieved before and you will now. Accept yourself with all your imperfections. It makes it easier to accept others.

The glass isn’t half full or half empty. It’s there for a purpose to put it to use. Drink the water, wash the glass and put it away. You can pull it out when you’re thirsty from having all the new fun you’ll be having.

Have the executive presence of high performing leaders with unflappable grace without the stress by getting Mary Lee’s FREE eBook ‘Be the New SMART Leader.” Click here.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be calmer and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at www.MaryLeeGannon.com. 

You might also enjoy…