- Thoughts for inspired living

November 10, 2008

The Next Step

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:52 am

“Where do we go from here?” and “What’s my next step?” are useful outcome questions to ask.

They set your focus on what needs to be accomplished in order for your overall strategy to be successful.

The mindset that many of us easily get caught up in is what I call the exuberance of “eating a whole cow at once.” In our zeal, we become impatient and want to move to the next step before the current one is finished. Reminds me of a story . . .

When I was a kid, they had “Paint by Numbers” kits. It consisted of a drawing on a canvas, a couple of paint brushes and 9 plastic containers of paint. The drawing had about a hundred or so different areas and each individual area was assigned a number from 1 to 9. The objective was to paint each area with the color that corresponded to its number. 1 may have been blue, 2 red, and 3 green, etc.

The recommendation was to paint all of one color first and to let it dry. Then you were to move on to the next number and paint all those areas with that corresponding color and let it dry. The plan was simple. The implementation was complex because of the twin rascals of poor execution – impatience and boredom.

I’d be painting all the number 1’s but get bored with that color and start painting with the color that corresponded to number 7, because it was my favorite color. Then I would get bored with that one too and move on to color 3. Of course, I wouldn’t let the other colors dry first and impatiently started painting on an adjacent area and the colors would comingle and become a different color than intended.

My finished product never looked as good as my sister’s because she followed the step-by-step instructions.

Once you have an overall plan and you’ve broken it down into manageable steps, your best chance for success is to pay attention to what you are doing now. The future is always a temptation that clouds your focus and will knock you off your game.

Once you have established a step to be taken, immersion in that step is the most efficient practice. Reminds me of another story . . .

During my Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) training in the 80’s, co-founder John Grinder was discussing immersion in a culture as the best way to learn a language. He suggested that you would learn more quickly if you lived in a foreign country with a family that spoke nothing but the native language. Would there be frustrations? Yes. Would you learn? Yes. Would you learn more quickly? Yes. Interestingly, Rosetta Stone has incorporated that very same immersion model in to their highly successful language software.

To get there more quickly requires patience and trust. It’s necessary to fully step in to the step you are on. This immersion will lead to completion and then, and only then, will you will be ready to say, “What’s my next step?”

All the best,


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