The Right Kind of Action

  • Someday Lesson: Curing Someday Syndrome requires not only action, but the correct set of actions.

.Bala on Flickr.comIn one of my many past work-lives (yes, I’m a typical artist with a million different jobs on my resume) I was a website usability specialist. I would review and design sites based on how they looked, how well people could find information and how readable that information was.

When I was a Professional Organizer, I would periodically go through the websites of my fellow Canadian Organizers and rate them, giving them grades from A through F. The majority of these sites received a D or lower.

In other words the businesses probably would have done better not having a website at all.

Now that I’ve moved my business to coaching, I regularly do the same with other coaching blogs that sell coaching services and products. And guess what? Many of the sites I visit get the same failing grade.

Why? Because the design is shoddy or too cookie-cutter like, because finding what they do, how they do it and what they charge is like a scavenger hunt without clues, and because their blogs jump all over the place, covering a million topics, many of which would be of no interest to potential clients.

So what does this have to do with Someday Syndrome?

By having bad blogs and websites, these coaches are wasting valuable time working on something that actually damages their ability to bust their Somedays of becoming good income generating coaches with many loyal clients.

And that can apply to anyone looking to bust their Somedays.

The Wrong Kind of Action

I often talk about how action is king when it comes to busting Somedays, but it has to be the right types of action. For example, in my own case, getting my fiction published, I could spend a lot of time reading writer and agent blogs and publishing bits and pieces of my writing online to share with the world and build up a following. While these are both possible ways of achieving my goal, they’re not the most effective.

Given the limited time I have to write fiction, I do much better focusing on actually writing novels and short stories, then polishing the writing until it’s ready to submit and then actually submitting the writing to agents and magazines.

Because I want to follow a traditional path to publishing, the final task of submitting is the most important step in the process. By self-publishing bits and pieces of things and by reading instead of doing, I would be putting a lot of effort into something that won’t get me anywhere and might actually damage my chances of getting published in a traditional manner.

Just like the Professional Organizers and Coaches who may be damaging their chances of building up clients by not having professional blogs and websites, you may be damaging your chances of realizing your dreams by focusing on a misdirected task or by doing something in a way that might feel like it’s helping but actually hinders your progress.

The Right Kind of Action

So, how can you be sure you’re helping and not hindering yourself?

Return on Investment – yes that’s right ROI. Just like in a business, if you want to achieve profits (ie, progress on your dreams), you need to invest your time, effort and money in actions that will provide benefits.

Let’s take the example of a fictional failing blog. The coach behind the blog took the time to develop the blog, come up with articles and to promote the blog to others. But when people come back to visit they see a site that’s not distinguished from other blogs in any way, the paragraphs are too long to be easily readable online, they don’t see any call to action anywhere on the blog and finding out how to hire the coach requires the skills of a master maze-solver.

All that time, effort and money the coach has invested in the blog therefore is not only not producing clients, it’s actually sending them away.

Much better for the coach to focus on an area of marketing that he or she totally rocks at, like maybe face-to-face networking and forget about the world of blogging. Or if the coach is really dedicated to the idea of blogging, he or she could delegate the design and learn how writing for the web is different from any other sort of writing. By doing so, the coach will get the return on the effort invested in an online presence.

Knowing the Difference

If you want to know if you’re getting a good return on investment for your efforts here are a few simple things you can do:

1. Ask someone else: While many of us hate asking for help, getting a different perspective on our actions helps guide us in the right direction. I do this all the time and the recent changes in the blog navigation here at Someday Syndrome are the direct result of asking (paying) someone else.

2. Measure progress: Decide on your starting point, what you’ll use as a measurement, choose a period of time, and then at the end of that period look back at your progress. For example, I recently started the Accountability Clinic email course. I had a goal for subscriptions and having not just reached that goal, but having doubled it, I know that my efforts are worth continuing.

3. Review what others are doing: In business, checking out the competition often provides clues on how to improve customer service and product offerings. In my writing, but belonging to a writing group and checking out what other writers are doing in their efforts to get published, I learn tricks and techniques to move my own goals forward.

So, are the actions you’re taking to bust your Somedays moving you forward or are they in reality hindering your progress? And if so, what will you do to change it?

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7 thoughts on “The Right Kind of Action

  1. This is an absolutely WONDERFUL lesson. It’s so important to take action, but it’s even more important to take the RIGHT action. Sometimes it’s not always easy to know what that action is and you’ve given some great advice for how to deal with that issue. Thanks for writing this…it’s been a life-saver for me today!
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..3 simple steps for conquering unhappiness =-.

  2. Andy Hayes says:

    Great post and very timely – just had a difficult discussion today about a change in the web portfolio for my business that is very necessary but will require a pretty big chunk of time and some (not a lot) of money. It was difficult to hear the feedback I’d knew was coming for awhile now, but for my business and for me it was the right kind of action.
    .-= Andy Hayes´s last blog ..Sharing (Location Independent) Experiences =-.

  3. Srinivas Rao says:

    We live in such an action oriented society that it can get really easy to take the wrong kind of action just for the sake of taking action. Great points in this post.
    .-= Srinivas Rao´s last blog ..10 Pieces of music that will elevate your mood =-.

  4. Kelly says:


    This is super advice! I especially love #2. Knowing the difference between action and the right kind of action is so often a matter of measuring how things used to go and seeing if the needle is moving in a positive direction after changes.

    Just being in motion is not enough. Thanks for saying it so memorably!


    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Ask Me What It’s Like When You’re Not Looking =-.

  5. Very useful post, Alex. Knowing what to do and what not to do are key to success. Wrong action keeps you away from your goals just as no action does …and sometimes it takes you farther away.
    .-= Laurie | Express Yourself to Success´s last blog ..Leadership Communication During Uncertain Times =-.

  6. Alex Fayle says:

    @Positively Present
    The right action is always very different to determine, but once we do find it, zoom! how things start to flow…

    Good for you for being open to the conversation and to actually hearing what the other person was saying.

    Sometimes it feels like action – any action, even the wrong action – is better than taking time to think things through. Of course the balance is always difficult to achieve.

    Of course some things take such a long time, the measuring is really difficult to see how well the action bears fruit, but at least we can measure the steps along the way – for example, if an apple doesn’t blossom, you’re not going to get apples out it, no matter how long you wait.

    The farther away is the scary part – and the most frustrating!

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