Imagine attending a Broadway play. The curtain goes up and you are witnessing the middle of the second act. You have not been introduced to the characters, not sure where the play is taking place, and have no clue about the time period. You’ve missed the opening act—the foundation of the performance. During the opening act, the audience is provided with the information they need to follow, understand, and make sense of the rest of the performance. Without the opening act, most people would probably get up and leave the theater.
When you try to move forward or create change in your life without a solid foundation, you can find yourself confused, not quite sure where you are and lacking the clarity needed to progress. You may find yourself spinning and feeling overwhelmed. Ultimately, you might give up, settling into the belief that it was just not meant to be.
Creating a fitness plan is a great example. You decide it is time to get off the couch and get in shape. Great! So a plan is created to get off the couch and start jogging five days a week and be ready to run a 5K in a month. After two days, your muscles are so sore and overworked you can hardly move. This attempt to shift from zero to 100 is met with failure and frustration and lands you back on the couch beating yourself up over the “fact” that you will never get to your fitness goal and be able to run a 5K.
Instead, start slow; build a physical and mental foundation first. Perhaps walk three days a week, then four, then maybe move into a jog or speed walk. Firm your foundation: consider and write down why getting in shape is important to you, and how your life will be improved when you achieve this accomplishment.
Whether your goal is a fitness goal, a business goal, or something else, a foundation requires more than just a plan—it requires thinking through a plan of action that follows a sequence and builds on a well-thought-out foundation. To build a good foundation requires understanding your motivation: why the accomplishment is important in the first place. This makes your intentions, your reasons, and the necessary actions clear. Don’t worry that you’re only taking small steps toward success. One success leads to more success, and every step counts toward your goals.
When the curtain rises before the opening act, there is an empty stage. If the curtain opens midway through the performance, there is confusion. However, if the curtain opens at the start of the opening act and the audience is there with the performers, from that moment until the curtain closes—there will surely be the sound of applause at the final curtain call. When you build a strong and solid foundation from the beginning of your plan, you will likely come out in the end cheering for yourself!
- Examine. Consider the change you want to create, or the goal you are working to achieve. Have you built a solid foundation? Are the pieces there for you to build upon? Is there a basic structure? Are your intentions and motivations clear? For example, if you are looking to build a small business, is your financial foundation in order to support a business? Have you done your homework?
- Plan. Create a step-by-step action plan. Much like putting one foot in front of the other, an action plan provides you with a process for building with clarity and purpose. Don’t forget to have a timeline in place for each step of your plan!
- And action! The foundation is built. The plan of action is in place. It is time for the curtain to open—time to act; one step, one day at a time. Staying in action creates forward motion toward an intention. It may not look exactly like you want it to, the pace may feel slow, but remember, any action brings results. And action with a foundation and a clear plan is sure to result in positive and sustainable change.