As a smart, hard-working accountant and mom, you’re probably no stranger to getting things done. You most likely have more on your to-do list than most of your male colleagues, and have done your best to balance your professional ambitions with your personal goals as well.
Maybe you have some big dreams about going out on your own, working with your own clients, hiring other accountant moms. and supporting your family financially. Or perhaps you would like to train to run a 5k, learn to crochet a baby blanket or get over a fear of heights.
Stop for a second and answer this question – what would be an amazing outcome for you in a year? You’ve probably had certain dreams for a number of years but haven’t been able to achieve them because you haven’t known how or are afraid of failing.
The concept I’m going to share with you is one of the most amazing tools to guarantee your success at whatever you want to achieve. Whether the outcome you want is to have your own accounting practice, or to learn the piano, you can be, do or have whatever you want when you understand this tool.
The secret to achieving what you want is taking massive action, which means taking action consistently, UNTIL you get the results you want versus taking passive action by consuming more information. It’s not about dipping your toe in the water, taking a little action, getting confused or overwhelmed and then giving up; it’s about taking action, no matter what.
It’s important to know that your accountant brain is very comfortable with learning more and taking more CPE credits and classes, but passively consuming information will not get you the results you want, unless what you want is to be an expert in a subject. Even then, being an expert in a subject doesn’t help anyone unless you do something with your expertise and are willing to put yourself out there.
Just know that if there is an outcome that you would like to have, whether it’s in a week, a year or more, massive action is what will get you that outcome. It’s the difference between “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” and “This will happen”.
Massive action is how you learn to change your relationship with fear, doubt and failure. It’s how to take action in spite of all the obstacles that come up; in spite of the fear of failure and the self-doubt that often derails taking any action at all towards a dream.
It’s what makes the seemingly impossible possible. It’s the navigation tool that sees the big picture and will take you from point A to point Z, helping you to overcome the desire to stop and quit when obstacle after obstacle shows up on the trip.
This week I’m going to discuss the difference between passive and massive action, and how you can use massive action to change your relationship with failure as well as eliminate doubt and fear so you can have what you want.
The difference between passive and massive action
Knowing the difference between taking passive and massive action and where you fall on the spectrum, is paramount when you have certain goals and dreams you would like to have come to fruition. If you gravitate more towards passive action, you need to know why so that taking massive action is made easier.
Basically passive action is all the things you do in preparation for taking action. Some examples of passive action would be:
- Reading books
- Listening to podcasts
- Doing research
- Taking classes or webinars
- Talking with others
As we are all currently living in the Information Age, there’s nothing wrong with taking passive action, but what often happens is that you fool yourself into believing that passive action will get you the results you want, or that it’s enough. Like most people, you may believe that if you know enough, you’ll be guaranteed success in whatever you are trying to achieve.
This is especially true in the knowledge-based world of accounting where the more you know, the more valuable and confident you feel. But when it comes to achieving a dream or reaching a goal, the truth is that failure IS an option when you hide behind passive action.
The reason is because with passive action, you’re allowed to give up on a dream or a goal when it seems like it might be too difficult or confusing. The sneaky thing about passive action is that it feels like you’re doing something towards the end result you want, but passive action is actually consumption, as opposed to creation.
The confusing thing is that passive action takes some time and effort which is why it can seem like the right action to focus on. However, it doesn’t require you to risk failure, be vulnerable or risk rejection, which is why it’s totally understandable that most of us would lean towards passive action.
On the other hand, massive action is actually taking action and utilizing everything that you learned while taking passive action. It’s the actions you take, no matter what, to get the result you want without giving up, giving in or quitting.
Let me assure you though, that massive action isn’t one giant leap off a cliff; it’s more like the small, actionable steps you would take as you made your way up the cliff. For example, in this cliff analogy, massive action would look like:
- Deciding which cliff to leap off
- Buying cliff-climbing shoes
- Buying other cliff-climbing and leaping equipment
- Driving to the cliff
- Starting to climb the cliff
- Continuing to climb no matter what obstacles you encounter
- Not stopping until you reach the summit
- Leaping off the cliff with a parachute
On the other hand, passive action would look like deciding which cliff to leap off, talking to lots of other cliff-leaping people, trying to overcome your fear of heights, and discussing and researching other options, all from the comfort of your base camp. Massive action is making a decision and then doing whatever it takes until you’ve reached the summit.
Massive action doesn’t allow for giving up just because you hit an obstacle or a roadblock on the journey. It removes the angst you feel trying to figure out the “right” actions, the right steps or the right business plan, because you will keep taking action UNTIL you achieve your goal.
With massive action there is no “right” or “wrong” action to take; there’s just the “next” action to take in order to get to achieve the goal. It’s actually pretty simple – if you don’t have the result you want, you’re not done taking action.
Most people don’t take massive action because they believe it will be too much effort or overwhelming. But massive action doesn’t need to be overwhelming because it’s just taking the next action step that you can take, and then not making the possible negative outcome mean anything about you, your goal or your ability to reach your goal.
The powerful thing about massive action is that you actually take failure off the table when you commit to just trying one thing after another until you get what you want. There will be things that don’t work out on your way to your destination, but they’re just part of the journey, not reasons to stop the journey altogether.
How you can use massive action
As the creator and host of this podcast, it would be silly of me to tell you to stop taking passive action, like listening to this podcast, but it’s also important that you do something with the information you’ve gained from listening to this podcast. Consuming is fine, but it’s not going to create the accounting career, the business or the life you want.
The reason that so few people are committed to taking massive action is mainly because of the fear of what they’ll feel if they don’t succeed. Since massive action means taking action no matter what, the “no matter what” also means even when you feel confused, discouraged or frustrated.
So many people aren’t willing to feel negative emotion and take action anyway, which is why so many don’t have the life, career or business they truly want. They see obstacles as a “sign” or a reason for stopping, instead of just another action step to come up with; another possible strategy around the obstacle.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to make more money, create a business, find a life partner or buy that lakeside vacation home, massive action is the answer. It removes all the fear, doubt, confusion and procrastination because you’re just going to keep taking action until you have what you want.
For example, if you want to quit your job and become a mompreneur, not knowing how to get clients is just a simple obstacle that needs actionable steps towards achieving the goal of a predetermined number of clients. Massive action may look like taking a marketing seminar but then taking one action every day over the next 30 days to implement what you learned; if that doesn’t get you the result you want, then you can talk to someone who’s already successfully achieved your result and then take more action over the next 30 days, and so on.
Just because one route on your journey didn’t get you to your destination, doesn’t mean you give up on the journey. The analogy I was taught is that massive action is like driving to the grocery store; you’re going to hit some red lights on the way, but you don’t make them mean anything or stop and turn around; you don’t doubt your ability to get to the grocery store just because there are red lights on your way to the store.
If for example, you needed diapers and the grocery store 10 miles away is the only one that carries them, you wouldn’t care that there were red lights, road construction or a detour on the route to the grocery store. You’re a mom on a diaper buying mission and you would just keep taking action until you got those diapers; that is massive action.
Most people get frustrated when they encounter obstacles getting to the grocery store and turn around. They see challenges as a reason to quit, but when you commit to taking massive action, there is only one option – getting to the grocery store and buying those diapers, no matter what.
Most of us, including me, try something once and give up because we didn’t get the result we were looking for. We don’t get the instant gratification of success and we quit because it’s too uncomfortable to keep trying, failing and trying again.
Thankfully massive action is the antidote to the fear of failure and self-doubt because you know ahead of time that red lights, road construction and detours are supposed to be there and you’re not freaked out when you encounter them. Just as Thomas Edison is quoted saying “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” while attempting to invent the lightbulb, massive action is what it takes to keep trying different options without giving up.
Massive action is how I became a certified life coach while working as a CPA and balancing my accounting career with being a mom. It might be easy to look from the outside and think that everything probably went easily for me, but I assure you, it didn’t; there were a lot of obstacles along the way and times that it would have been much easier to quit but I didn’t stop – I just kept taking massive action.
It’s understandable why quitting is easier, especially when you take action after action and don’t get the result you want. But massive action is the answer to this dilemma because you ARE guaranteed to get the result you want, if you can manage your mind along the way.
Just make sure you’re not only taking “intellectual action” like reading about something, learning about it, writing about it and discussing it. As smart accountants, this can often be the go-to way to achieve something because it’s familiar and comfortable for us, however, it’s really just the preparation for taking action; it’s not the massive action needed.
If you are like me and like to passively consume information, then in order to take massive action when you are used to taking passive action, I suggest you do the following:
- Set an intention – whether you are listening to a podcast, reading a book or attending a webinar, set an intention beforehand that you will look for at least one nugget of wisdom and take action based on that nugget. Don’t just consume information; set an intention to learn in order to apply it. While consuming, stop periodically and look for ways to take action on what you’re learning.
- Ask yourself questions – your brain is like a Google search bar, so use it to your advantage. Thankfully, when you ask it a powerful question, it will give you an answer. Therefore, from the passive action you take, ask how you can synthesize the information and set yourself up to take action on it? If someone has already achieved what you want, what steps do you imagine they took? What’s the first logical thing to do? And then what? What action can you commit to taking?
- Know your “even if…” – whenever you get excited about the idea of achieving some result, decide ahead of time that you are committed to it “even if” various obstacles get in the way. For example, if you want to leave your job and become a mompreneur, decide ahead of time that you are going to have your own practice in one year even if it’s hard, frustrating, confusing or time consuming. Or if you want to find a love interest, decide beforehand that you are going to meet someone that lights you up, even if it takes more than 100 dates and you have to be vulnerable, face your fears and handle rejection.
- Join a challenge – one of the best ways that I’ve found to take massive action is to join a 30, 60 or 90 day challenge where you are agreeing to do one thing every day towards a particular goal. Whether it’s a “Create your business plan and marketing strategy in 60 days” or a “30 day confidence challenge”, consider joining something where other people are also agreeing to take massive action to achieve the same result. There’s lots of support out there, so use it.
The secret to getting anything you want in your life, is taking action until you get the result you want. You just have to commit to massive action and not stop, no matter what.
- The secret to achieving what you want is taking massive action, which means taking action consistently, UNTIL you get the results you want versus taking passive action by consuming more information.
- Massive action is how you learn to change your relationship with fear, doubt and failure.
- The sneaky thing about passive action is that it feels like you’re doing something towards the end result you want, but passive action is actually consumption, as opposed to creation.
- Just as Thomas Edison is quoted saying “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” while attempting to invent the lightbulb, massive action is what it takes to keep trying different options without giving up.