Step 3a – Brainstorm Actions

Goals are great and a definite focus is helpful too but without ACTION, nothing will be achieved.

Too many people have watched the movie, The Secret, and decided that just thinking about something will make it happen.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Nothing happens until you take action.

Cranes_made_by_Origami_paperThere is a Japanese legend which says that if someone folds a thousand origami cranes then their wish will be granted.  Whether this is true or not, the act of folding 1000 cranes is an excellent way to keep your focus on your wish (Step 2) and if each crane is paired with an action toward the realization of your goal or wish, then there is a very good chance that the legend will come true and you will get your wish.

How do I start?

First, get some supplies.

You will need enough paper to create more than 1000 action notes which you will fold into origami cranes.   There will be some action ideas that you will write down and then decide not to use or there may be some that get damaged in the process so be sure to get more than 1000.  (1200-1500 should be fine.)

The pieces of paper must be square and can be any size you want.  Most people use 3″x 3″, 4″ x 4″ up to 6″ x 6″ and you may want to experiment to see which will work best for you.  Smaller sizes may be easier to keep organized but the larger ones could be easier to fold.  On the other hand, if the squares are too big, it may slow down the folding process.  Decide what size you want and then get at least 1000 squares.

Ideally, you should have a wall where you can post the notes that are waiting to be done.  Most rooms have a wall hanging, painting or poster that, when removed, can free up enough wall space to hang your notes.

You will find that there may be groups or categories within your action steps and it will be helpful to organize them that way on the wall.

Can I do it without displaying the Action Papers on a wall or bulletin board?

Sure.  You can use any system you like as long as you 1) have you a clearly defined goal, 2) you can generate actions and keep the papers organized and 3) you are committed to achieving your goal.

 Next, begin Brainstorming Actions.

Think of all the actions that you can take (or have someone else take for you) that will move you closer to the fulfillment of your goal or wish.  You will probably find that 10 actions come quickly to mind but it is hard to get beyond 100 actions.

Do you need to write down all 1000 actions at once?  No, the brainstorming will be an ongoing process and as you make progress with your initial actions, you will discover other actions that you can take after that.

“A ship’s captain cannot see the final destination when he leaves port but with a map, a compass and a strong crew it is a given that they will make it to the desired end of their journey.” – dMark Wheeler

Actions vs. Plan

Keep in mind that you are brainstorming small steps or actions, not necessarily creating a single path or plan that will take you to your goal.  A path may emerge from all the actions, but don’t limit yourself during the brainstorming stage.  Besides, at this point, you may not know what obstacles you will encounter on the way to your goal.

Also, not all actions are created equal.  Some actions may seem to take you AWAY from your goal… but write them down anyway.  These “bad ideas” may generate other ideas that will allow you to “leap frog” closer to your goal.  In brainstorming, there are no bad ideas, just seeds for future ideas.

Journal vs. Action Papers

You may find it easier to brainstorm with a journal or notebook and transfer the action steps to origami papers later.  This has the added benefit of capturing your action steps in a journal or notebook so you can review them later.

Or, you can just write the actions on the origami papers and post them all to your wall, sort of like law enforcement does when they create an “evidence wall”.  The benefit of having all your upcoming action steps on the wall is that it reinforces your focus and you may make connections that you could miss if it was all in a journal.

Brainstorming tools

Here is the first page of Brainstorming Tips… and there are more coming soon !  Leave a comment below to let us know what you might like to see or what has worked well for you as you brainstorm your action steps.