In regular conversations with people, when I ask them what they are working towards, most of them say they are in some form of transition in the life right now.
It could be starting a new job or career, being affected by business downsizing, coming out of a relationship, starting a new business, or simply taking time out to access where they are in life right now. Oftentimes, a simple breakthrough in one area can make all the difference as we transition to the next level in our lives.
The truth is we can all have a big breakthrough if we know how to prepare, plan and execute the right things. Once we know what to do, how to do it and the right order to do what needs to be done, then having a big breakthrough should not be something that we only achieve once in a while, but on a consistent basis.
- We’ll accelerate our progress not just in the area we’ve had the breakthrough, but also in other areas of our lives.
- We’ll feel better about ourselves and where we are heading in life.
- We’ll know what to give our focus and energy to instead of being scattered, stressed and overwhelmed.
- We’ll be able to assist others in also achieving their breakthroughs.
- We’ll find a lot of things that we have been giving attention to fades away and is no longer important or a priority.
While I’ve had many failures in life including financial, business and health challenges , some of the big breakthroughs I’ve had in recent years include:
- Leaving a “secure” corporate job to pursue my passions and live my purpose.
- Writing and publishing my first book after leaving my corporate career then publishing three more books after that.
- Starting my own training, speaking and coaching business.
- Becoming a #1 best-selling author.
- Getting back to the fitness level I had when I was in my 20s.
A good thing about having a big breakthrough is that it makes any success we achieve even more satisfying especially when we’ve had many struggles and failures along the way.
5 Common Mistakes To Be Aware Of When Going For Your Next Big Breakthrough
- Focusing on too many things at once. If you’re like me, you more than likely have many areas in which you’d like to see improvement fast. While it is very tempting to try and change a lot of things in a short period of time, that can often lead to scattered focus and not enough attention being give to the one thing that can be a catalyst for a lot of improvements.
- Not giving enough attention to what is going on for you right now. Before we can achieve the breakthrough we want, it is important that we know what our starting point is. It is no different to using any navigation system — we need to know where we want to go and where we are currently. So many people gloss over this part because it can be quite uncomfortable looking at how things are in our lives currently.
- Not being emotionally connected to the breakthrough you want. When we decide what breakthrough we want to have, it is usually an intellectual or rational decision. That is only good for a short period of time. It is the emotional connection to the breakthrough we want that will keep us going. If we’re not emotionally involved with what we want, it is almost certain that we will slow down or even give up when we face challenges along the way.
- Not having a plan or system to follow. Deciding the breakthrough we want to have is only part of the process. In order to actually achieve it, we must know what to do, when to do and how to do it. In other words, we must have a plan. If we don’t have a plan, we will easily get distracted, which will only delay or prevent the breakthrough we want to have.
- Failing to set up the right environments around you. Life will continue as we strive to have our big breakthrough. If we don’t have supportive environments, then we can find ourselves getting discouraged, feeling unmotivated and not being willing to do what’s necessary to continue to move forward.
How Can You Have Your Next Big Breakthrough?
Knowing what breakthrough we want to have will require us to spend time on our own to reflect and contemplate on what’s important to us. However, before we do that, there is one thing we can do that is extremely valuable, and will put us in a better frame of mind to be in a more receptive and open state.
A simple example of why this is important is, say a mum with two young children, wants to start thinking about a breakthrough she wants to have, but is currently dealing with a sick child and has to figure out when she can go to the chemist to buy some medicine plus a hundred other things running through her mind. Before she can even give thought to something of greater significance and importance to her life, she has to first address what’s front of mind for her.
Before we can look at things from a 30,000-feet perspective, we have to first acknowledge what is happening at ground level. The good news is that there is a simple and relatively quick exercise we can do to get ourselves ready to look at the bigger, more valuable things in life. I’ve used this exercise at the start of coaching sessions, training programs and workshops and it is intended to help participants become more present and centred.
I’ve included that exercise, which you can download for free right away, and it is one I would highly recommend you do before continuing with any of the steps towards having your next big breakthrough. It is the initial step before we start going through the breakthrough process. The exercise is called Clearing Your Mental Desk and will take between 15 – 20 minutes to complete. So take action now and click here or on the image below to download the exercise.
Now that you have cleared your mental desk, we’ll get into the specifics of what steps we need to follow in order to have our next big breakthrough. These steps will work regardless of which area we want to have our breakthrough. If we’re willing to put in the work that is required, sure enough, we will get to that next level we desire to be at.
These steps require us to consider a big picture question, which then leads to the opportunity to evaluate in greater detail through a series of follow-up questions. The more time we are willing to spend on each step, the better our chances of having the breakthrough we want.
1. Where do I want to be? This is about first being committed to having a breakthrough and then gaining clarity on what we want. One of the first things we must be clear on is why having a breakthrough at this point in our lives is important to us. We also should be clear on what having a breakthrough means to us.
A few years ago, I found myself doing less and less exercise each week because I kept making up the excuse that I was so busy, which meant my health and fitness did not have a high priority. Initially, it was not noticeable. A 2- to 3-kilogram (4.5 to 6.5 pounds) weight gain was not a big issue initially. However, as a few years went by, those small weight gains added to be quite a lot. In fact it added up to be 20 kilograms (44 pounds.)
That had a major effect on my overall physical, emotional and mentally well-being, plus it also affected my self-confidence. It was obvious that I had to get back in shape by paying more attention to my health. That was going to be my breakthrough. But before I could do that, I had to get in touch with why was it important for me to get back to where I was in terms of my health and overall well-being.
That led to me contemplate on some additional questions like, “If I imagined I was at the end of my life, what must I have done, achieved or created to feel good about the life I lived?” This question also emphasises the importance of being clear on our “why.”
Once we have our big why, we can now identify the areas that are important to us in life. Unless we know where we could have a breakthrough, chances are it won’t happen for us. Most people will have between five and 12 areas they consider important to them. Examples of some of the areas of life can include:
- Health and Wellness
- Relationship or Love Life
- Family and Friends
- Career (or Business)
- Fun or Hobbies
- Personal Growth (also called Spiritual Development)
- Church or Faith (also called Relationship with God)
- Making a Difference (also called Community or Charity Work)
After we’ve identified the areas important to us, we must challenge ourselves to identify why those areas are important to us and what will be the consequences if we’re not doing the best we can in each area.
Then next as we continue to gain more clarity, we should describe what our ideal future would be for each area. This is about envisioning the future we desire, which will help clarify where we can have our next big breakthrough.
2. Where am I now in relation to where I want to be? This is about assessing our currently reality. This steps requires a respectable amount of courage and honesty. This is just like any process improvement methodology — before we can improve something, we must first establish a baseline of how things are at present.
For each area, based on what we described as our ideal future, there is a high probability that there will be a gap between where we are currently and where we want to be. This is not about being hard and getting ourselves down because we aren’t where we want to be. This is about developing the awareness that we do have an opportunity to have a big breakthrough very soon.
The next part of assessing where we are is facing the truth for why we are where we are. What stories or excuses have we been telling ourselves? What fears or beliefs are holding us back? Here we want to know why we are getting the results we are currently getting, which will lay the platform to make the necessary changes to have the breakthrough we want.
Another part of assessing where we are is knowing what we are currently giving attention and energy to. What takes us up our time each day, each week or each month? What are the things we are only giving a little focus when we know we should be paying more attention to them? What are the things we are putting up with or things we haven’t completed that is using up valuable mental energy and focus?
A comprehensive review of our current reality is what will set us up to have that next big breakthrough we really want.
3. What will get me there? This is about defining the big breakthrough we want to have. Now that we’ve assessed where we are in each of the areas we’ve identified as important to us, only we can decide what our most important breakthrough will be right now. The temptation will be to try and focus on many areas or things at once but that will only lead to scattered focus, distractions and slow progress. We want to have our next big breakthrough as quickly as we can.
The best way for that to happen is to decide what will give us the greatest benefit, in the shortest period of time, if we achieve it. We typically will have a hunch or an inkling for what that should be and it is important that we listen to it. Another thing that will be important is being emotionally connected to the breakthrough we decide on. If we’re not emotionally connected to it, then we won’t sustain any energy and enthusiasm for going all the way with it.
Once we’ve decided on our breakthrough, now it’s all about giving everything we have to make it happen. We can conduct an assessment of our current strengths and abilities that can assist us in achieving our breakthrough. This assessment will also help identify what additional strengths, skills or abilities we need to develop in order to achieve our breakthrough.
In order to get to a new destination, it will require us to do things we have not done before. In other words, we will need to draw out things from within that we may not have utilised before. This may include developing new beliefs about what is possible for us, and learning specific strategies and techniques for dealing with challenges or problems we may encounter. Our external results are almost always a reflection of what is going on internally for us, so the more inner work we do, the greater the chances of us achieving our breakthrough.
4. How will I get there? This is about creating our breakthrough plan. We must have a plan! Any worthwhile or project of importance always has a plan because it is the roadmap that will get us to where we want to go.
The plan should identify where our current weakness are and what are some strategies to overcome them. It should also include potential risks or challenges to be aware of and how to overcome them. An effective plan also addresses where we may trip ourselves up, whether it be through our own fears or beliefs, and describe how to deal with them.
The plan should also detail the next action steps we must take and how we can stay on track. Who could help us get to where we want to be? Then it’s about planning our week in relation to the breakthrough we want to achieve and how that translates into a daily plan. This is about knowing specific strategies, techniques and tactics to stay focused on what needs to be done each day.
5. What will keep me going? This is about building consistent momentum. There are additional things we can do to set ourselves us for success. It starts off with looking at our habits and routines and evaluating whether they will support us as we are working towards achieving our big breakthrough.
We also want to set up the environments around us to automatically support us in achieving the breakthrough we want. If we don’t have supportive environments, then we will constantly be relying on our willpower to do the things we’ve identified in our plan. Willpower will only get us so far. A more effective strategy is to set up support systems or environments around us, to help us get to where we want to be.
Another important aspect of generating momentum is checking in and reviewing our progress. As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets improved.” Conducting a daily and weekly review is going to be critical to our success. We must also be willing to ask for feedback and make any necessary adjustments as required.
Anyone can have their next big breakthrough if they know what steps to follow and the right order in which to follow them. The five steps outlined above will be your guide as you start taking the necessary steps to transition your life to the next level.
Action Step: Download the Clearing Your Mental Desk exercise and start taking the first step towards having your next big breakthrough.
Question: What are you committed to doing today to have your next big breakthrough?
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