When it comes to getting things done, I’ve observed two distinct patterns we fall into. You may consistently stick to one, or you float between the two depending on the context. But knowing where you start, and where your patterns lie, gives you an edge when it comes to skillfully moving forward.
Pattern One: Quick Start.
This is for those of you who tend to leap before looking. You get an idea and immediately begin to implement said idea.
The GREAT thing about this pattern is that it keeps you from overthinking. You are ready to just begin and will figure it all out on the fly.
Now here’s the shadow side: You tend to leave projects unfinished. They get done to a point, but then a new (and you think BETTER) idea comes along and you switch gears. This can become overwhelming after some time.
If this is you, generally you need a commitment matrix (fancy word for how you decide what projects to begin) and a follow-through strategy or system that works for you and also allows you some leeway for those new, better ideas. If this doesn’t sound like you, you may be pattern number two.
Pattern Two: Follow Through
This tendency is all about – you guessed it – the follow through. Once a project is started, this type is tenacious in pursuit. They will not be deterred! The great thing about this is, we can be superstars at completion and pretty resilient.
Speaking from experience, though, the dark side to this pattern is overthinking on the front end. It’s hard to decide to start, because, let me tell you…once the commitment and plan is made, it’s a challenge to change course, adapt, or *gasp*, even make a decision to stop. This is where, without awareness or a plan, you can start to feel enslaved to your commitments.
This not only leads to overwhelm and overthinking at the start, but also it leads eventually to a fear of commitment. An avoidance of even making the choice to begin in the first place. What this pattern needs is a decision-making strategy and a flexible plan.
Now, because we as humans don’t fit in nice little boxes of classification, you might notice you can be a bit of a mix between these two patterns. That’s fine – me, too.
Both patterns need a plan on how to evaluate ideas and how to make a choice. Both patterns need a strategy for how to follow through and how to adapt. I help my clients create their game plans for success, sure, but let me give you at least a place to start creating your own.
1. Know yourself: Figure out what your main tendency is (at least in the area you’re currently working on).
2. Ask yourself: “Now that I know my tendency, what do I need to be able to make a clear choice?” Then, WRITE IT DOWN.
3. Next: “What plan can support steady, forward motion – without overwhelm or complications?”
4. What will I do with new great ideas? When will I know my project is complete?
5. And HOW WILL I evaluate when and how to adapt?
If you can answer these five questions, you are golden to get back to action! Remember, we all can struggle with overwhelm, perfectionism and overthinking – so do what’s needed to stay grounded, stay calm and stay in flow.
Just because you have a pattern tendency doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to choose something different… it just gives you an idea of where to start.
Know yourself. Develop a plan. Stop thinking and start doing. GET TO IT!