When it comes to goals and action plans, studies tell us that:
- Just 2% of leaders feel confident that they will achieve 80-100% of their objectives.
- More than 75% of SMB owners have yet to achieve their vision for their company.
- A whopping 98% of people die without fulfilling their dreams.
When a person, a team, or a company wants to accomplish something, whether it’s to launch a new product, hit a sales target, or to increase employee engagement, chances are they create an action plan around their goal. They segment the project into themes and buckets, list all the tasks that need to be accomplished, assign owners and due dates, and everyone gets to work! This is happening everywhere from the Fortune 100 tech company right down to the one-person creative shop. In order to accomplish something everyone KNOWS you need a plan.
And there is no shortage of action plan templates out there! I did a quick search for “how to create an action plan” and got over a BILLION results!
Our logical brains tell us that if we have a great plan, we should be able to accomplish the goal, no problem, right?
Well, not so fast.
What NO ONE is talking about, what’s missing completely, is what you must BELIEVE about yourself, your team, and your plan to get the results you want. No one is talking about your Belief Plan.
The goals we set are usually to create something that didn’t exist before, something new, something bigger and better. To create an action plan, we’ve been taught to go directly to the new actions we need to take to get there. The new process to be built, the new products to design, the new way you and your team will interact with your customers. But acting without new beliefs that support your actions and outcomes will only take you so far. (And lots of times won’t take you anywhere.)
Did you ever know someone who accomplished something they had "no business" accomplishing but did anyway simply because they believed in their mission and themselves to the core of their being? They seemed to clear hurdles (real and imagined) with ease, speed, and a lot of the time with joy.
This is because they had a Belief Plan that fully supported their action plan, and they were able to take action from a place of inspiration instead of fear, ease instead of grinding, and joy instead of stress. Now, I’m not saying that they didn’t do "hard work," they likely did, but the important distinction here is that they often didn’t realize it was hard or should have felt hard because of their thoughts. Their thoughts created the kind of feelings that allowed them to take action from a place of knowing they would get the outcome they wanted, and everything seemed to fall into place.
They chose to think thoughts that supported their belief in their outcome. They didn’t allow their brain to be lazy and accept the thoughts it gave to them every day in each moment.
- Are you sure you can do this?
- Maybe we need to re-evaluate.
- This is getting hard.
- Let’s scale back our expectations.
- I’m not sure we’re going to pull this off.
When you allow your brain to think thoughts like this while executing on even the best action plan, the action you’re taking is full of doubt, fear, and uneasiness. And the outcomes you’ll get from these actions will be a fraction of what you could create with unwavering and intense belief.
So how can you create and practice a Belief Plan that will help you achieve the results you want? It starts with deliberately thinking thoughts that help you become greater than your circumstances and feeling the feelings of those thoughts. This is the important part! You can’t simply think the thought without truly believing it and feeling what it feels like for it to be true.
Below are a few examples to help you get started in order to find the thoughts that work for you.
1. Ask yourself: "What do I need to believe about myself in order to create this outcome?"
Thought: I am a powerful creator.
Thought: I’ve accomplished amazing things in my career.
Thought: When I show up each day with positivity, I‘m creating momentum towards my goal.
Thought: I can have fun creating this!
2. Ask yourself: "What do I need to believe about other people in order to create this outcome?"
Thought: People want this _______ [insert your project here].
Thought: People and resources are going to show up to help me all along the way.
Thought: People are waiting for this ______ to be complete because of the incredible value it will bring them.
3. Set aside time each day to think these thoughts and feel the feelings.
Notice throughout the day when your brain starts serving you the other thoughts - “This is getting hard," or "I’m not sure I can do this.” When this happens, and it WILL happen, the great news is that you get to decide what you want to think and believe. And in order to create new results and outcomes, you need to think new thoughts, believe new beliefs, and feel new feelings.
This is the WORK.
We’ve all been taught to believe that the work is the action we take and if we just keep acting regardless of what we believe, think and feel, that we’ll execute our plans and accomplish our goals. I’m here to tell you that you're short-changing yourself. You will deliver on your action plan in a much bigger way when you commit to practicing the Belief Plan that powers it.
In the immortal words of Norman Vincent Peale, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
BONUS: Go back to an action plan that’s already in place, something that you’re currently working on. Ask yourself what your thoughts are about yourself, your circumstances, and your environment when it comes to this plan. What is your brain telling you and are those thoughts serving you? Based on the questions and thoughts above, what new thoughts can you choose that will allow you to feel the kind of feelings which will inspire you to act from the place of believing and knowing your outcome is guaranteed?
I’d love to connect with you and hear how you’ve used a Belief Plan to support your action plan and how it impacted the way you reach your goals. Creating and practicing Belief Plans has helped me create a business podcast for the USA TODAY NETWORK, a program that supports and educates business owners all over the country, and a thriving coaching practice.
You can find me on LinkedIn here, or drop me a note at email@example.com. And, you can catch me on The Growth Lab Show podcast – new episodes drop every Tuesday. We talk to business owners and leaders to get inspiration, insights, and actionable tips you can put into practice right away.