Of the many ways in which we hold ourselves back from achieving our true potential, failure to actually apply what we already know is probably the most common.

If you were to place a percentage on the total amount of REAL action you’ve taken on information you’ve learned in seminars or workshops, on courses, or through reading books – what would that percentage be?

The truth is, most of us only ever action a small percentage of what we learn.

I’ve got a $3000 DVD box set on my bookshelf that’s never even made it out of its plastic wrapper. I bought it 2 years ago.

Failure to implement has two serious consequences for Experts: 

1. We inhibit our own personal and professional growth

As Experts we are on a constant path of learning – but if we never act on that learning, we can’t truly grow ourselves as Experts, our Practice and our profits. It’s easy to stay in the safe trap of constant learning, never allowing our new knowledge to see the light of day.

We tell ourselves, “I’ll take action when I’m ready”.

2. Our customers don’t get results

Our customers also suffer from TFI, and this is a problem for us because unless they implement what we teach them, they won’t get the results they want, and they won’t come back.

They tell themselves, “this doesn’t work”.

How to overcome The Implementation Vacuum

1. Understand the causes

The possible reasons behind our failure to implement are many. Spending too much time analysing what yours might be is another way to avoid taking action, so I don’t want us to dwell too long on this. However it is important to understand some of what could be going on in the dark recesses of our sub-conscious, preventing us from moving forward:

  • fear of failure: what if I act and it doesn’t work?
  • fear of success: what if it DOES work!?
  • limiting beliefs: I’m not good enough/smart enough
  • procrastination: I have all this other trivial stuff to do first
  • perfectionism: I will only act when I know it will work perfectly
  • analysis paralysis: I need to know all the possible outcomes
  • self-sabotage: I need to prove my limiting beliefs right
  • lack of self-discipline: oooh look! Shiny thing!

2. Play to your strengths

Experts have a tendency to try to do everything themselves. The inner perfectionist or control freak takes over. This doesn’t work – it slows you down.

You are great at some things, average at others, downright hopeless at a few.

Know what your strengths are and leverage out everything else. This is absolutely crucial to the growth and success of your Expert Practice:

  • be clear on what the best uses of your time are
  • know what you’re good at
  • know what you’re not good at
  • don’t be a control freak
  • learn to delegate
  • outsource effectively to other Experts

3. Be Structured and Systematic

Clever and creative people often find it hard to relate to, or work within, traditional concepts of time management and productivity. We are not all the same: we have different drivers, different attention spans – different environments inspire us.

We still need a structure and systems to ensure we get stuff done:

  • find the time management system that works for you
  • have a clear reason why you’re doing what you’re doing
  • know your best learning and working styles
  • apply the 48 hour rule
  • ringfence learning time in your schedule

Just Do It

Stop waiting for the time to be ‘right’ for taking action: that time is now.

Apply the 48 hour rule after attending an event or a course: ensure you have ringfenced time after the course to apply what you’ve learned while it’s still fresh.

Leverage out your weaknesses to other Experts (that’s what we’re here for).

Be willing to make mistakes as this is a rapid way to learn: there is no failure, only feedback that you need to do something differently.

If you’re truly stuck, acknowledge this rapidly and engage a coach or mentor to help you move forward. A common definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. (That’s also what we’re here for).

I Don’t Mean To Scare You But

We’re nearly at the end of 2013.

Do you want to start a new year with a long list of unfinished work, unrealised ideas, unsigned clients? Or do you want to finish this year strong and start next year already ahead of the game?

Now’s the time. Just do it.