“How did they do that?” we ask ourselves as we watch the Olympian finish the race, the teenager sell a multi-million dollar business, or the juggler throw sharp knives into the air, while balancing himself on a unicycle.

How does anyone do anything of significance? (Significance defined: important to you.)

“Misti,” my accountant said, “I’ve been trying to train for a 5K for years, but I can’t seem to stay with the training. Any suggestions?”

Whether you decide to get an MBA, change industries, develop meaningful relationships, or run a 5K, there are 3 key factors to keep in mind. Here they are:

  • Decide
  • Act
  • The first 30 minutes

There’s a distinct difference between saying, “I want to run a 5K,” and deciding to run a 5K. The first lacks an unwavering commitment, while the later forces us into action. Put your word to it—decide. Make the decision, and consider it done.

Without decision, you will not take action on the various stepping-stones thrown into your path to help you reach success. Interestingly, these stepping-stones don’t always look like they’re supposed to help you.

I certainly did not ask for 5 foot swells on the morning of my 5-mile swim around Gibson Island, after raising $5K. But, I did finish the swim, after only learning to swim 1 year before. Turns out, there were many more lessons to be learned in the pursuit of that goal. They weren’t fun, or easy, but so, so valuable.

Decide, and then act. Don’t think. Don’t even question. Just Act, and then get past the first 30 minutes.

The barrage of negative self-talk will hit you like a ton of bricks in those first 30 minutes, and you’ll want to give up—to quit. You’ll reason with yourself—

“I could die, or at the very least die of embarrassment.”

“What’s the point anyway?”

“Hey, at least you tried. Good enough, now you can quit.”

After thirty minutes—almost like magic—it quiets, and you find yourself well on your way to reaching success. I promise you it will quiet, but you’ve got to get through the first thirty minutes. You have to hunker down, stay focused, and ignore every word you’re telling yourself.

Notice the thoughts, sure. But don’t give them authority.

When you take these three steps, you will get so much more than your certificate of completion, gold metal, or new job title. The wisdom and depth of friendships that come as a result of your decision, relentless action, and staying power (first 30 minutes) are more valuable than… the Bentley I saw in the parking lot yesterday.

That car was fancy, and super cool looking. And I don’t even care about cars.

You get the point, right? Decide, act, and then stay, even when every part of you is telling you to quit. Even when quitting makes sense. Finish!

Nothing kills self-confidence more than quitting. Quit once, and you’ll unknowingly give yourself permission to keep quitting. A lifetime of quitting… well, just look around you at the people who have spent their lifetime quitting.

Decide, act, stay, and then finish.

Here’s to Your Greatness,

Misti Burmeister

NEW! You can now gain easy access to discovering your blind spots and the solutions to your greatest leadership challenges through a Gearing for Greatness session. Check it out:

P.S. For instant access to interviews, and to get your 3 Practical Tips for Building a Motivated Team, click here, type in your email address where it says “Subscribe”, and press “Submit.”