Inspiration is all around. Good ideas are everywhere. World-class courses and learning more accessible than ever before. If you are able to access the internet and have the privilege of a little extra time to spend studying, you’re likely in a better position than the generations before you to easily access the knowledge you need to take your career to the next level. If you can spare a little cash then there are books available on every imaginable aspect of personal and professional development; if you are in a workplace with good development, courses and workshops abound. We are in the golden age of accessible education.

So then why are there so many people talking about feeling trapped, stagnant, or stuck in a rut?

For over 13 years now, I have had the honour of working with people from all walks of life as a Professional Coach. From school-leavers to CEOs and everyone in between, I have walked alongside magnificent clients in helping them discover what their best future might be, uncovering deep inner resources and strengths, healing old wounds and taking courageous and quiet steps towards a newly-created tomorrow. For even longer, 23 years, I have worked with groups in workplaces as a Trainer and Facilitator. I’ve trained nervous first-day employees, Regional General Managers and C-Suite Executives, and tens of thousands of everyday people around the world in their workplace roles, helping them gain new skills and approaches to help left their results and careers. It is humbling, beautiful and challenging work; my true work of a lifetime.

And what I have noticed is this – some Clients get far more out of their learning than others. Some people have success as a result of their Coaching or Training experience – and some don’t. Some make massive change and accelerate beyond their wildest dreams, and some pretty much stay where they were when we met.

What’s the difference?


The people who truly make change as a result of a new piece of information they have gained – through a workshop, course, online experience, Coaching session, speech, book or article – is that they DO SOMETHING with that knowledge.

They apply. They plan and take action. They change something – a thought pattern, a behaviour, a belief, a skillset – they DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.

Sometimes, they succeed. Often, they make mistakes on the first attempt. But the ones who succeed in the end KEEP GOING. And they don’t stop, until they have the result that they want.

The different between where you are now and where you want to be, is not learning a thing – it is DOING a thing. You can think all you want about the new ways you would like to communicate with your team or boss, the way you would like to handle stress better in the future, the confidence you wish you had in meetings – but unless you DO something, that is all it will ever be – an internal imagining, not an external result. One of my favourite sayings encapsulates this perfectly:

Nothing changes, if nothing changes.

When I was teaching long-haul courses on starting a new Coaching business, or taking your next major step in your career or Leadership journey – courses where I saw participants for months or years at a time, the evidence was undeniable. The people who went away after class and relentlessly IMPLEMENTED what they had learned, however imperfectly, were the ones who showed up the next week with some kind of RESULT. It may have been messy, off-base or even completely in the wrong direction. But it was feedback. It was a start – and with the feedback from that faltering first step, they could adjust course as necessary, and keep stepping forward. At the end of the course, the ones who had taken a million tiny steps were a million steps further forward, than the ones still standing on the starting line waiting to “know it all” and feel 100% confident before they took action.

Many years later, now in more Coaching and Consulting work, I still find the same to be true, for individuals, teams and whole organisations – the secret sauce is JUST DO STUFF WITH WHAT YOU LEARN, THE MOMENT THAT YOU LEARN IT. Otherwise old patterns win, the rising tide of other stuff to do will engulf you, and you will have missed your chance.

So if you want to know, what do people who are having success and moving forward doing? What’s their secret? They are obsessed with implementation.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. In a Coaching or Training session, keep a separate page of IMPLEMENTATION ideas in your notes – and transfer them into your calendar as specific actions at the end of the session. If you are learning online, or through reading a book, the same applies – keep notes about what you want to implement, what concrete actions you can take as a result of your learning.
  2. If there are specific actions that will require consulting with someone else before you can proceed, set the meeting / conversation with them before you leave the room. Make this a non-negotiable rule and commit to it. Once it is in the calendar, it is more likely to happen!
  3. When you get home (or even on the drive home or at a catch-up dinner), tell a friend, family member or loved one about something you want to do differently as a result of what you learned – and ask them to check up on your implementation the following week.
  4. Overwhelmed with too many actions to take? Pick the BIGGEST one, not the smallest – the bigger the win, the bigger the change – and the more inspiration you will have to keep going.
  5. Give up on giving up. Let’s be honest – anything worth doing, is worth screwing up until you get it right! Behaviour change takes time, effort, and applied, real-life learning, so allow yourself to fail forward and keep learning as you implement your way to success.

Image credit to WOKANDAPIX from Pixabay

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