The not-so-sexy key to success: taking action

As we turn to 2017 with our shiny new plans – it’s really important to remember that planning is not enough. Success comes through ACTION.

Wow, Patty. Action. That’s almost as insightful as “set goals.”

Yup. There’s nothing new in this post. You’ve heard it all before.

But the question is: are you doing it? (Evidently not, seems you’re here reading my blog post 😉 )

If you’re not into video, scroll down for my notes below.

When I think about taking action, I always think about Steven Covey and his book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. This was the first book I ever read on personal development and it changed my life.

His first 3 habits really get to the heart of the planning and action process.

1. Be Proactive: Choose to Make Your Business Successful

This dude is NOT being proactive. Don’t be this guy.

As entrepreneurs, we signed onto this gig because we wanted to be our own boss. To call the shots.

Well…there’s a downside to that too. As Jim Rohn says,

We’ve all heard the expression, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Well, I’ve got a good question for you: What if it’s true? Wouldn’t that be easy to do – to eat an apple a day?

Here’s the problem: It’s also easy not to do.

It’s just too easy to NOT take action in our businesses. (Ask me how I know.) A big part of our job is to get ourselves going. No one is going to do that for us.

I have a piece of paper on my desk that says:

Find out the price of success and agree to pay it.

The first step is to commit to doing what it takes.

2. Begin with the end in mind: Make a Plan

I see a lot of “random acts of marketing” out there. Scattershot actions that don’t necessarily go anywhere.

Oh look. Social media marketing is right next to Oak Island.

If you’re going to commit a big chunk of your life energy towards your business, ask yourself: “What do you want?”

Figure out where you want to be in 10 years, 3 years, the end of this year.

Then make a plan to get there. Don’t get too caught up in the details – but get a general sense of the direction you want to go in, the kind of business you’d like to have. Then make sure that your actions align with that plan.

And once you have that plan mapped out?

Focus on the immediate road ahead of you.

It can be overwhelming to look at everything you need to do all at once. And discouraging when you realize that you’re not there now – and it will be a while before you reach that destination.

I had that feeling myself in December as I looked at this year stretching out in front of me. It looked like pushing a boulder up a hill and the thought exhausted me.

Instead: focus on what you need to do today. Where you end up will depend on the actions you take now. Business success is built one brick at a time – one action after the next.

3. Put first things first: Eat that Frog!

Well…whaddaya know: phone calls are actually amphibians.

If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority! Choose your most important tasks and do them first.

We often avoid doing the things we really need to do because we’re overwhelmed or afraid or it just looks like too much work.

Brian Tracy wrote a whole book on this called Eat That Frog! He reasoned that if the most important thing you need to do all day was to eat a live toad – it wouldn’t get any more appetizing if you stared at it all day long!

On the other hand, if you do it first – you get it out of the way and feel a sense of accomplishment. Even if you get nothing else done for the day, you’ve done that. You’ve made progress on the right things.

Some tips for taking action

Beware of Perfectionism!

Some people are super speedy: they just throw stuff out there without giving it much thought. They may benefit by slowing down a bit, thinking things through and spending some time polishing.

Then there’s people like me who spend waaaay too long on things like email because we want to get the words exactly right. (I spent 8 hours writing my last blog post.) WE need to let things go earlier.

A good question to ask in terms of the worthiness of the extra attention: will it matter in 10 minutes? 10 hours? 10 months? 10 years?

This rules says YES to extra time on blog posts – and NO to extra time on (most) emails!

Remember the 80/20 Rule

You and your frogs – a great team!

Pareto’s Principle says that we’ll get roughly 80% of our results from 20% of our actions. If you keep track, you’ll see how this plays out in business: 20% of your clients will bring you 80% of your business, 20% of your marketing will bring you 80% of your clients.

There are some 20% actions on your list that will bring you 80% results.

Want to know how to spot them?

They’ll look like frogs. 🙂

Interrupt yourself and ask: Is this a good use of my time?

Check in with yourself from time to time during the day. (You can set a timer for this.)

Are you working on something that matters? Are you making your boat go faster?

In summary

  • You’re the boss. It’s up to you to initiate the right actions in your business.
  • Make a plan for where you want to go. Make sure your actions move you along the correct road.
  • Do your most important tasks first. Eat those frogs!
  • Success is built one step at at time, one action after the next. Start now.


  1. Dr. Rick Bradshaw on January 15, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Great summary of the basics regarding taking action while maintaining the focus on Priority #1! I’m off to eat a frog or two!

    Thanks Patty,


    • Patty K on January 17, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Excellent idea!

  2. Terri on February 14, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    “Making sure your actions align with the plan” truly a key to being successful. Some of my actions weren’t, but more are now. I’ve been practicing “eating that frog” since reading this and it’s working! I’m getting more done.

    • Patty K on February 15, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Yay for getting more done!