When Is it Time to Take Action? In Favor of Flying by the Seat of Your Pants

The process of “making moves” or pursuing change in your life often involves a lot of planning (and sometimes, planning to plan). Next, you refine those plans, reflect on the refined plans, and ultimately, start back at square one with more planning. Now, I’m an advocate for setting goals and intentions, visualizing success, and putting in the leg work. But what happens when you get stuck in the planning phase? What happens when planning becomes stalling? 

Sometimes, usually after you’ve done a lot of preparation, it’s time to put an end to planning and fly by the seat of your pants for once. You may not have things 100% figured out, but honestly, the most effective refinement can emerge out of just doing the dang thing. 

4 Tips for Taking Action Even When You’re Unsure

I have a few tips for those of you who know in your gut that the time for stalling is over. These are things to remember in the midst of action that can help you get the most out of a pivotal time in your life that may feel chaotic or overwhelming. 

  1. Surround yourself with the right people: No matter what happens when you take that leap, it’s important to have a circle of trust around you. These are the folks who will give you honest feedback or unconditional support. Usually one or the other, and that’s OK. They will remind you that you’re not alone, even if all that chaos of taking action makes you feel isolated. 
  2. Collect good data along the way: always be asking questions. Flying by the seat of your pants doesn’t have to be reckless. But it can be a daring, exciting experiment. Use it as an opportunity to learn and adjust moment by moment.
  3. Celebrate the wins and build upon them: even the smallest successes deserve to be celebrated. Treat yourself to a coffee break, take-out dinner, or an afternoon with your feet up. Incentivize yourself with bigger rewards, too. Like a weekend away or a purchase you’ve been eyeing up.
  4. When something doesn’t work, don’t beat yourself up: my advice for failure is similar to my advice for success: Acknowledge it, then move on. However, instead of celebrating the losses, address what went wrong. Do a post-mortem evaluation. Take notes so you don’t repeat the same mistakes. Then, get back to work. 

Time to Fly!

Overplanning can become like a trap. We convince ourselves there’s always one more thing to do; our fear holds us back! Eventually, a time comes when if we don’t act, we may never! I urge you to breathe deeply and take a plunge. Maybe you want to switch careers, start a project, share a project, end an unhealthy relationship, or move to a new city. Whatever it is… you can only plan so much. Go do it!