By Brian Chernett

I’m a strong believer in action. If you don’t act, nothing happens. And it is my firm contention that action will only happen if you have belief. Belief in yourself and in the actions you plan to take.

Can you know before you set out on a challenging path that you have the ability to complete it? As I discussed last week, when you make a decision, you usually take a risk. So what belief system will help you to take action in circumstances where the outcome is very much uncertain?

For me, it is the sort of self-belief that convinces you that you can cope with whatever that course of action will throw at you and that you will come through successfully. For if you don’t believe in your own course of action and decisions, who else will? The very first time you need to explain to, and maybe convince, someone of your direction and success, they will pick up on your uncertainty.

Self-belief is not arrogance or boastfulness. It is the knowledge that you have within you the resources and resilience to overcome obstacles and to keep the momentum going until you have completed the task or project.

Action and beliefs, beliefs and action are interdependent. Every time you need to convince another of your ability to achieve a goal — whether to sell the idea or a product or to have them join your team, the first and most important sale you make is to yourself. Salespeople, who don’t believe in their product, do make sales but not as well or as often as those who do believe.

So much of the leader’s role — especially the leader of a business — is to convince others that the course of action they are proposing is the right one. This is about going beyond decisions that are logical and goals that are SMART, to outcomes that fit with your internal belief system and will be consistent with the business approach. Emotion and ethics also play a part in making really excellent decisions.

In Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), the criteria for a ‘well formed outcome’ include what are known as ecology checks. They ensure that you have considered the emotional and ethical effects of what you are planning to do by asking what you want to retain about the present situation and how they can be included in the outcome, what you may have to give up to achieve the change and how those changes impact on you and on others who are affected. How all those affected will react to the changes will be an important consideration. You also need to understand how this outcome fits into the larger picture and you need to establish at the outset the balance between the elements that are important to you. If you do that, then you are less likely to find yourself working contrary to your beliefs and values and more likely to be able to sustain the actions needed to complete the change successfully.

Thought without action leads nowhere, action without thought can be disastrous. Take the time to think things through, develop a plan and then, crucially, act decisively.