In my experience of working with people and reading books on success tips, the #1 secret to success has been “taking action.” Notice, I didn’t say talking about taking action. Let me be frank, when I have been sad or disappointed, I have not been in action. Sometimes, thinking and even reading (analysis paralysis) on a topic doesn’t help.
What helps is to DOING the work. The sooner you stop over-analyzing and take action – the better!
A simple example: talking about doing the dishes – depressing! for minutes, hours! Seeing the sink pile up…ugh
Doing the dishes?- never more than 15 minutes, and feeling accomplished.
Let’s talk about the admissions journey:
- Thinking about all the things you don’t know about Financial Aid? I feel the anxiety already!
- Actually asking all of the questions that weigh you down simply because you do not know the answers to? Uplifting! Now you can strategize! Wow.
Here are 3 tips on how to dive into action first:
1. Think ONLY about the next step.
We are not talking about writing a perfect college admissions essay in 1 sitting. I know you know that none of the winning essays are first drafts!
- First step is pulling a sheet of paper . Can you do that? YES!
- Second step is grabbing a pen or pencil. Hey, you are two steps in!
- Third step is to google “essay prompts for the Common Application”. Okay – here is where many people stop. “OMG – I have to choose,” “OMG – what if my dream school doesn’t use the common application essay prompts”. Let me just say – most schools ask you to write on the same topics and it doesn’t really matter right now. Stay focused. We didn’t say submit your essay to X school. We are starting….
- Fourth step is to read what you see in front of you. Easy enough!
- Fifth step is to write down some ideas on the topic which gets you most excited! Whoa…You are starting to brainstorm…in like 5 minutes…and you worried about this…for like 10 months? Seriously. It’s simple. Just focus on the next step, not the finish product.
2. Set realistic goals.
This tip goes together with the above tip. Here is another example: I love to write. If I sit down with the pressure of writing the perfect post or recording the perfect video, the moment I make a simple mistake – my product is no longer perfect, so I get discouraged and stop. Sounds familiar? Well, a realistic goal, to even start thinking about a college admissions essay is to know what question/prompt you will answer, and therefore looking up the prompts is one step you can easily accomplish! In under 1 minute!
I am not saying don’t dream of writing a perfect college essay which demonstrates your talent to be a writing virtuoso! Dream big, my friend. But today, if you can only take one step towards this, make achieving that step the goal. Because, even if you only take a piece of paper on day 1, and a pen on day 2, and look up the essay topics on day 3, you are still facing more fears FASTER than if you were waiting for inspiration to strike.
3. Um, TAKE ACTION!
As you read the steps above, you probably thought, wow – I can do this right now. I can get a piece of paper. Piece of cake! But over 80% of people will not take action! They will leave it for later. The forget about it. Until they are up in the middle of the night, worried sick over it. Don’t do that to yourself.
There are many quotes on the topic of taking action, but I personally love Nike’s logo “JUST DO IT.”
So, with the hope that this helped you, I welcome you to take action. Take one action and then, tell me about it! I’ll cheer you on. And you if you are paralyzed and don’t know your next action, ask me on Facebook and we can take action.