Non-Baby-Step-Itis: How to Diagnose and Cure This Debilitating Business-Owner Disease

Think back to your last 3 business initiatives. Did you complete them to your full satisfaction?  Or did you find yourself days, weeks or months later feeling the heaviness of having disappointed yourself.  Again.

Meanwhile your initiatives sit on the shelf, gathering dust … while your passion, confidence and bank account balance slip relentlessly through your fingers.

If you’re feeling a little depressed right now, you’ve got Non-Baby-Step-Itis!

The good news is, there’s a cure.  In this article I outline 3 practical strategies for creating manageable baby steps.

Not only will your next project get completed on schedule, but you’ll avoid feeling that terrible sense of disappointment ever again.

Have you ever wanted to start something new in your business?

Maybe you wanted to keep better track of your expenses, or blog more consistently, or manage your time better.

Whatever it was, you knew it would require you to do new behaviors.  So to ease yourself into it, you planned a series of baby steps.

And then much to your dismay, you found yourself a week, a month, maybe even a day later having completely abandoned your plan …

… you didn’t do the baby steps you said you were going to do, and as a result your new venture is dead in the water: your expenses are still untracked, your blog posts are still unpublished, your time is still un-managed.

And worst of all, you now feel disappointed in yourself. You’ve added a layer of heaviness to your business and your life, that sounds something like, “I failed again. This is never going to work. I can’t do it.”

Pretty awful feeling, isn’t it?

If this has happened to you, you’re not alone.  I see this pattern all the time in business owners I work with.

The reason is that us achiever-type business owners often say we’re going to start by taking baby steps – but the plan that we outline for ourselves is filled with medium, large and even giant steps.  It’s like we’re constitutionally incapable of taking steps – even thinking of steps! – that are actually small.

To help you break the fever of your Non-Baby-Step-Itis, and start creating action plans you can actually complete, here are 3 strategies:

Cut Your Goal In Half

Over-achievers tend to over-estimate what we can accomplish.  We know what we’re ultimately capable of, so we aren’t afraid of setting the bar high.  While that’s an admirable quality, we usually forget how much time it might take to reach our ultimate goal.

The other factor is that we usually set our goals on a good day – when we’re feeling empowered to conquer the world.  But then tomorrow or next week, we crash into a bad day – one in which we barely have the passion to take a shower.  On those dark days, the sky-high standards we set when we were feeling invincible are now (temporarily) totally unattainable.

These are some great ways of cutting a goal in half:

·      If you said you would send out 2 marketing pieces a week, cut it back to 1.

·      If you said you would focus intently for 4 hours a day, cut it back to 2.

·      If you said you would write a proposal, or close a sale, every single week, cut it back to twice a month.

Remove the Risk or Exposure

Many of us high-achiever types tend to be fearless (or think that we are).  We’ll go for it, take a risk, be unafraid to fail.  Blah blah blah.

Unfortunately, we often under-estimate how much worse it is when we fail in public than it is when we fail in the privacy of our own homes and heads.

While you can use this same principle your advantage – you know, announcing to the whole world that you’re going to climb Mt Everest by this time next year – for most people, this strategy backfires.

How to remove the risk or exposure in your business ventures:

  • If you want to start a blog, try writing some articles and just “publishing” them to your hard drive for a while.

  • If you want to launch a new product out to the world, try telling just your most loyal customers about it first.

Create a Container For Your Work

Sometimes the real work is simply getting started.  In this case, it can be helpful to have a “container” for your work.

  • If your goal is to track your expenses every day, set up a spreadsheet, or carry around a special notebook.  Then you can get started with the baby step of just opening up your notebook or spreadsheet.

  • If your goal is to exercise every morning, try putting your workout clothes on the floor, someplace that you’ll trip over them when you get out of bed.  Your baby step is then to just put on the gear.

  • If your goal is to write for 2 hours every day, block it out on your calendar! Use a colored highlighter to fill in the time, as an added mental cue.

Leave a comment and let me know if any of these strategies were useful for you!

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