Knowing is not enough: 5 Strategies to Start Taking Action, Right Now!

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I love this quote. But it’s easier said that done, right? If you want to stop thinking about it and snap into action, you’re in the right place. Read on as I share my proactive productivity tips to empower you to start taking action today.

Am I practicing what I preach?

I caught myself in this trap at the end of last year and I felt like a complete fraud. I teach entrepreneurs to balance their energies and live in tune with their natural rhythms. I know all of this stuff about the ebb and flow of our energy and how our hormonal cycles impact our productivity and creativity. I believe passionately in these concepts. I have practiced them and yet I had got to a stage where many of these practices had lapsed and I caught myself no longer doing needs to happen for me to be focused, inspired, and putting my best work into the world.

I knew, I was willing, but I had stopped applying and I definitely wasn’t doing.

Unsurprisingly, things weren’t working out for me. I know this! I know that when I don’t set myself structure, when I don’t follow my daily rituals, when I don’t create space for rest and reflection or fun and joy, I lose my brilliance — in all senses of the word.

I was reminded that this is a lifetime’s work. That every moment is a choice whether to practice what I believe or to take the easy road of old patterns that are no longer serving me. I have to keep showing up and doing the work to create the change and the life I want. It’s not enough to know what to do; it’s not enough to understand something on an intellectual level. I need to feel it in every fibre of my being.

do more

Why is taking action important?

Put simply, action changes things.

Most of the challenges we face cannot be thought through...they have to be worked through. That is not to deny the power of planning - as Stephen Covey says, “all things are created twice...There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things”. As important as planning is, all the thinking in the world is for nothing if you don’t move into action.

Most of the people I speak know what they need to do.

Sure, I’ve usually got a few little tricks or tips that they haven’t come across but let’s get real - what I teach isn’t groundbreaking. It’s a collection of practices and tools that I have curated from my own teachers - in-person and from books and lectures - that at best I can claim to have an interesting perspective on. Not many people can apply military planning techniques and yogic philosophy to the same challenge.

My point is that, for most people, it’s not about doing more. It’s about understanding where the resistance to action is coming from and to work on that. It’s about taking generalised theories and applying them to your own life. It’s about experimenting and finding out what works for you. It’s about showing up every day and doing the work it takes to become the person you need to be for your business to succeed.

We know, but we do not apply that knowledge. We say we are willing, but we do not actually do what is necessary.

Without action, without actually applying our knowledge and doing what must be done, we have nothing.

And it’s hard. Oh, I know how hard it is. It means taking risks. It means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. All while your ego is screaming at you that it’s not safe, that you aren’t enough.

If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done or be someone you haven’t yet been. Or as The Universe told me today as I was writing this, “To be loved like you've never been loved, Vix, you must love like you've never loved.”

It’s hard for everyone - even the people who look like they’re making it easy. That’s why it’s so important to not do it alone. Find other people doing the same work. Find a coach or a mentor. Come and join my Energised Entrepreneur Programme! Find whatever help you need to start taking action and keep taking action.

Because that’s how you achieve the impossible.

achieving impossible goals

Proactive productivity tips you can apply today

Now we’ve explored why action is important, let’s unearth five proactive productivity tips that you can implement today. Here goes:

1) Adopt the ‘MVP’ attitude to everything

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a concept from Lean Startup - it’s a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.

An MVP attitude is one that treats everything as an experiment. This is another take on done being better than perfect — don’t wait for everything to be aligned before you take any action — and goes one step further to see everything as a learning opportunity.

Your immediate goal isn’t to produce something brilliant — it’s to take one small step in what you think is the direction of brilliance then test and adjust. In the words of one of my old RAF instructors: do, review, apply.

2) Don’t just take someone’s word for it

Yes, the world is full of inspiration and articles and knowledge. That’s great. I love learning and think we should all make more time for it. But when you read one of these brilliant articles, don’t stop with reading. Try things for yourself. Live that wisdom. Do the exercises. How does it feel for you?

3) Choose one thing and actually do it

I see a lot of people stuck in a quagmire of half-started projects, drowning in a sea of productivity tools and hacks, overwhelmed by all the information out there. You do not need to be doing everything. Pick one thing. Do it. Once you’ve integrated that, then you go add in another thing. Or not. Your focus is your most important asset - use it wisely.

4) Break things into smallest steps possible

This is the best way to get yourself into action and building momentum. It’s physics - inertia is a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force. So start small, like a little snowball, and be amazed as you pick up speed and mass!

5) Turn ideas into 10% projects

This is an idea I’ve borrowed my wonderful friends at Escape the City. Rather than trying to make one huge change in one go which, quite frankly, is terrifying and likely to send you running back into the safety of the cave, break projects down into smaller versions. Thinking about being a doctor but aren’t sure? Great, then try volunteering with St John’s Ambulance and see if you actually like helping people or can stand the sight of blood.

So, in the spirit of moving you into action, here is a big fat invitation to action. Book a free consultation with me to help you understand what’s holding you back from doing what you know you need to.