How To Harness The Power Of Momentum

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If you're stop-starting your way through your career-change, this one's for you. Simon Alexander Ong shares his practical tips on how to inject some momentum into your shift, and keep that ball rolling all the way to starting to do work that's right for you.

“The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.” - Richard M. Devos

You’ve spent time reflecting on your strengths and what you enjoy doing. You’ve been to workshops that have helped you explore what career is most suitable for you. And as a result, you’ve been able to identify your dream career.

What now?

Well, usually this is the point at which most people tend to stop at, with their dream career remaining exactly that ... a dream! They have wishes and hopes, which are made worse by the limiting beliefs that so many of us are quick to adopt and accept. How much of the following sounds familiar to you?

  •         I’m afraid that the switch won’t work out.
  •         It’s too late to be able to switch careers.
  •         No one will hire me; I’ve got no relevant experience.
  •         I’ve never started a business before so will be clueless.

The beliefs that we hold about ourselves and our environment are ridiculously powerful. And what you will discover if you haven’t already, is that to achieve anything of meaningful success in life, you must work hard at changing the beliefs you have about yourself and your possibilities. As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”

It’s about thinking differently. Because once you change your mindset and the thoughts that come with it, everything will change for you. Most people say “I’ll believe it when I see it,” but successful people turn this on its head and say “I’ll see it once I believe it.” When you believe you can achieve something of great value, your mind becomes focused on ‘how’ you can get there and ‘what’ resources you’ll need to accomplish your goals.

I still remember receiving the unfortunate news that I had failed my second year of university at the London School of Economics in the summer of 2005 and that I would be required to re-sit the year again (not the best news to tell a Chinese family who’ve invested £9,000 towards your education fees!).

I could have chosen to believe the notion that it would be near impossible for me to get a job after failing my year, and that I would need to settle for one with a company wasn‘t interested in working for.

Instead, I focused on ‘how’ I could land a job in one of the City’s top institutions regardless of my background, something I believed was possible. And within five months after hearing I had to resit my second year of university, I had secured multiple offers for a summer internship, which was then converted to a full-time offer.

You see, it’s only once you’ve truly decided what you want and when this is accompanied by an unshakeable belief that it’s possible to achieve, that massive action will occur. And when this occurs, it raises the probability of you experiencing some awesome results. The results achieved helps to reinforce your belief of what’s possible, which then leads to even greater action and more extraordinary results.

This is the phenomenal power of momentum!

Based on my personal experiences and also the clients I’ve worked with over the past eight years, I’ve provided a summary of how you can quickly begin to create some momentum, so that you can begin working towards the career of your dreams:

Create a clear vision of where you want to get to

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman.

By picturing and feeling what it will be like once you’re in a career you love, you’ll create an emotional connection with it. Immerse yourself in it as if you’ve already achieved that dream career. What is going on around you? What are you saying to yourself? What feelings are you having?

When there’s a strong connection to the vision of what you want, it will get you excited and act as a magnet, pulling you towards it.

Break things down in small chunks and take regular, purposeful action

Once you have a big vision of where you want to be in the next six months or one year, you need to break it down to all the different things that must be achieved for you to get there. Otherwise, the big vision will sound scary and unattainable.

So if you knew what your dream career was and you have a crystal clear vision of what it will be like once you’ve got it, some of the smaller things you could focus on include: speaking to people in the desired industry/area, working to get the relevant qualifications on the side, telling your friends about your ambitions (you never know who people can introduce you to when they know what you’re after!).

Carry out actions on a regular basis that will move you forwards in each of the different areas. I have a small whiteboard on my fridge and at the beginning of each week, I will write on it three action points that will be realistic for me to achieve over the course of the next week.

This could be something as simple as setting up a meeting with someone I had met at a networking event to getting my next blog post published. As each action gets completed, I will rub it off the board so I end up with a clear board, ready for the next week’s goals. By the end of the month, you’ll be saying “Look how much I’ve done in the last few weeks!”

If you don’t write down the actions you need to take, it’s highly unlikely you will follow through with them. They will line up and form a nice orderly queue on your ‘someday’ list of things to do. Will you look back on life and say “I wish I had” or will you do something today that your future self will thank you for?

Surround yourself with positive people and with those who have achieved what you’re looking to do

This is what I like to call environment optimisation and what you are doing here is minimising the time you spend with people that emit negative energy and maximising the time with people that are highly positive and motivated to better their lives. When you do this, you’ll be surprised at how inspired you’ll be.

Being around people who have achieved what you want to do will show you that it’s possible. They will lift your spirits and reinforce your vision of what it will feel like when you’re in a career you love. It’s often said that we are the average of the five people we hang out with the most. Are you hanging around those who show you how you can experience so much more than you do right now, or around those who complain and throw around wishes and hopes?

Ask “what” and “how” instead of “why” and “can’t.”

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.” - J. K. Rowling

We tend to find it easier to ask “why” and “can’t” questions, but the problem with these is they force us to explain what is sometimes unexplainable and keep us in our comfort zones. Instead of asking yourself why something can’t happen, ask yourself how it can and what it is you need exactly for it to start moving.

We are extremely resourceful individuals. If you don’t believe me, just look back at your past successes and remember how you got there. Because when you really wanted something, you explored how you could get it. When you didn’t want something however, well, you probably came up with excuses!

It’s also important to regularly remind yourself that you only have one life and that the only aspect for which you have control over is the ‘present.’ And when you fully appreciate this, you’ll begin to do things differently. When you accept the fact that you’re entirely responsible for where you are today and that your thinking will determine where you’ll go tomorrow, you will begin to have more control over your life’s destination.

How much longer will you wait to begin the career of your dreams? What simple actions could you take today to generate a newfound momentum towards a much better life?

Make today the day you begin an exciting new journey

You have a choice. Accept things as they are or accept the responsibility to change it. Life is short. The tragedy is that we wait so long to begin it.

I’d love to hear about how you’re creating momentum in your life, the actions you’ve taken and the results that you’ve been able to experience. Let me know in the comments below!

Simon Alexander Ong is a Life Designer, Success Strategist and Speaker at www.simonalexanderong.com. He works with people who have a burning desire for change and an ambition to accomplish some truly amazing things, helping them to unlock their unique talents and inner awesomeness. He is also featured in the forthcoming book by the legendary Steve Forbes, called “SuccessOnomics” that is due to be released in Spring 2014.