21 Small Actions to Take (Right Now) When Progress Feels Impossible

Written by Scott July 30, 2015

My 8-Year Lesson…

Last Sunday was Live Your Legend’s fourth birthday (that’s me up there celebrating in the Sahara Desert a couple weeks ago).

Well, at least that’s our official age. There were another four years before that when I was working on it with seemingly zero growth and no one paying attention, but we won’t get into that right now.

In the past eight years I’ve screwed a lot of things up, gotten a few right and learned plenty.

But there’s one lesson that stands out above all others.

Ready for it?

You can always do something.

Sometimes it might be a lot less than you’d like, and other times more than you thought possible.

But there’s always, everyday, something you can do to get you closer to making the difference you want to make and doing the work you’re meant to do.

And that’s always my goal with everything I create for all of you at Live Your Legend – to provide you with directly actionable guidance and tools that you can immediately put to use to make some type of progress, no matter how small (or big) it might seem when you’re applying it.

So, for those of you who feel stuck right now, like it’s impossible to take the next step, and for the rest of you who will no doubt feel paralyzed sometime in the future (me included), here’s a short list to get you started, with links to articles I’ve written with specific guidance.

I challenge you to pick one and move forward…

21 Things You Can Do – Right Now

1. Take a few minutes to draw your line in the sand.

2. Pick one thing from The 3 C’s (consume, create, connect) to cultivate and pursue the spark.

3. Craft your everyday elevator pitch. Then casually test it out in a few conversations this week.

4. Show up. To something interesting in town this week. Or to a lunch or workout with someone inspiring. Decide to manufacture you’re own luck and create serendipity.

5. Write down something you’re excited about. Then share it with one person. Start building the habit of writing and sharing your ideas with the world.

6. Identify and reach out to someone you want to learn from. Take the first step to finding the perfect mentor.

7. Go hang out with someone who inspires you, and maybe even fire some toxic friends (they could literally be killing you).

8. Find one person you respect who’s doing the things you want to be doing, who can serve as your model for doing your own impossible (you don’t need to know them personally).

9. Find a group of people near you in whatever field or skill you’re working on, and leverage the art of social facilitation to immediately magnify your results.

10. Join one of our free LYL Local meetup groups, or become the leader by applying to be a LYL Local host in your home town (applications opening again soon).

11. Do one thing to finally take the first step. You could pick from these 11 quick actions to start doing work you love (or anything).

12. Take one of the 10 small immediate actions to avoid giving up.

13. Send an email to someone asking for help and leverage the 5-minute hack to finding your life’s work.

14. Work up the courage to ask for what you actually want. It’s the only way to have a chance at getting it.

15. Avoid the “passion trap” and make your first sale.

16. Make it a game by going out and intentionally trying to get rejected. It’s usually not as bad as you think, and sometimes leads to results you couldn’t imagine.

17. Watch one of The 14 Most Powerful TED Talks for Disruptive Career Change & Making a Difference. Then watch one more each morning until you’ve seen them all.

18. Show yourself what’s possible by reading a story or watching a video about someone who’s created incredible change. Take note of how their path can serve as a guide for your own.

19. Visit the Live Your Legend Transformation Tree and read our list of your 14 biggest career challenges and solutions, and pick one to read and apply.

20. Send an email to someone offering help. Keep it simple. Just a few sentences letting them know you’re thinking of them and whatever they’re struggling with, and include a link to a TED Talk, article or book you think could help and why you specifically chose it. This allows you to…

21. Be the leader by helping someone else.

This is where the magic starts. No matter how dire your situation feels, there’s always someone worse off whom you could help. Find the other person who’s miserable in your office and take them to lunch to chat about ideas and possibility. Give them a space to share what they’ve possibly never felt comfortable sharing. Offer up a talent of yours to help them move forward.

Your offer to help will give them hope and you confidence. And when others witness your generosity, it will spread the same to them. Serotonin and kindness are contagious. That’s what makes them so damn powerful. This is the focus of my Leaders Eat Last interview with Simon Sinek. You’ll start proving to yourself that you’re capable of more than you thought you were. And over time this confidence compounds to allow you to take action on more of the above.

And if you’re at a loss for how you could help someone else, send them this article. 😉

Progress is in our control.

That’s always been a very empowering thing for me to remember. Especially on those dark days where moving forward seems impossible – those days I’ve seen plenty of in the past eight years and that I know will cross my path plenty more.

You get to decide if you’ll take action on one of the above, or the endless other possible options for moving forward. Everyday we get that choice.

No one can take that from you. And that is an amazing thing. 

Sometimes progress feels really small – so small that on any given day you might not even notice a difference. But if you’re doing the work, it’s there. You can’t always measure it, but it’s happening. Tiny things add up, and in a few years they can turn into something you couldn’t have dreamed up when you started.

I think those first four years deserve a lot more credit than I’ve given them.

If you don’t stop, it becomes a lot harder to fail.

Do something.

Thanks for supporting LYL over the past 4 (or 8!) years. It means more than you know, and there is a lot more fun to come.

Ciao from San Sebastián,

–Scott

P.S. If you need more help with specific actions every step of the way, two things…

1. Join Live Off Your Passion-Guided Discovery for our full process to find and do work you love.

2. Or, for the more advanced, take our Make Your First $1,000 from Your Passions & Talents Workshop.

 

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