Ten years ago I sent a broadcast inviting those who had read The Jackrabbit Factor (and who had seen amazing things happen as a result) share their success story with Oprah. Most of the responses I received were enthusiastic and supportive. However, a few (who admitted they hadn’t read the book) responded with a question:
“If you practice what you preach, shouldn’t you just put the intention ‘out to the Universe’ and let it deliver what you’re asking for, without asking your readers to help you?”
Fair question. But remember, the key to putting the principles to work is that once you know what you want, you must see it in your mind as though you already have it, FEEL the victory now, and then when an idea comes to do something, you must ACT.
So that’s why I sent out the invitation. Not because being on Oprah was the goal, but rather because I thought that being on Oprah might take me a step closer to the goal. Being on Oprah was never “the goal.” It was not a destination. The ultimate goal was the vision I had for my family, and the positive difference I hoped to make for other families across the globe. Naturally, I knew that being on her show wasn’t the only way for me to achieve my goal, but I acted on the thought anyway, because that was the idea that showed up.
Taking action can be scary
By suggesting that my readers contact Oprah.com to share their stories and recommend my book for her show, I risked ridicule, judgement, and a possible flurry of unsubscribes. Taking action is scary, and yet I’ve discovered that action it’s necessary, and the fear is normal.
(I’ve also learned that having people unsubscribe is not a bad thing. I prefer to surround myself with like-minded people, so if I ever say something that turns someone off, I wish them well and know that they will find what they are looking for elsewhere.)
So to reiterate: When you set a goal, you must act.
Act where you are
I’ve also learned that no matter where I’m at now, or where I’m trying to go, I can only act on my present surroundings, like the acorn in the ground. The acorn does not need to act on the nutrients that are still three feet away; it must act on the nutrients in the ground that are already in contact with it. In time, as it grows roots, it will be able to connect with other needed elements a few inches away, and then a few feet away, and beyond; but it all begins with simply taking action right where it is.
As Wallace Wattles taught in Chapter 11 of The Science of Getting Rich:
“Whatever your action is to be, it is evident that you must act NOW. You cannot act in the past, and it is essential to the clearness of your mental vision that you dismiss the past from your mind. You cannot act in the future, for the future is not here yet. And you cannot tell how you will want to act in any future contingency until that contingency has arrived.
“Because you are not in the right business, or the right environment now, do not think that you must postpone action until you get into the right business or environment. And do not spend time in the present taking thought as to the best course in possible future emergencies; have faith in your ability to meet any emergency when it arrives.
“If you act in the present with your mind on the future, your present action will be with a divided mind, and will not be effective.
“Put your whole mind into present action.
“…Act now. There is never any time but now, and there never will be any time but now. If you are ever to begin to make ready for the reception of what you want, you must begin now. And your action, whatever it is, must most likely be in your present business or employment, and must be upon the persons and things in your present environment. You cannot act where you are not; you cannot act where you have been, and you cannot act where you are going to be; you can act only where you are.
“…Do not wait for a change of environment, before you act; get a change of environment by action. You can so act upon the environment in which you are now, as to cause yourself to be transferred to a better environment. Hold with faith and purpose the vision of yourself in the better environment, but act upon your present environment with all your heart, and with all your strength, and with all your mind.
“…Do not feel discouraged, or sit down and lament because you are misplaced. No man was ever so misplaced but that he could not find the right place, and no man ever became so involved in the wrong business but that he could get into the right business.
“Hold the vision of yourself in the right business, with the purpose to get into it, and the faith that you will get into it, and are getting into it; but ACT in your present business. Use your present business as the means of getting a better one, and use your present environment as the means of getting into a better one. Your vision of the right business, if held with faith and purpose, will cause the Supreme to move the right business toward you; and your action, if performed in the Certain Way, will cause you to move toward the business.”
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My invitation to my readers that day was just one of those ideas that showed up, and sending the invitation out was simply acting on my present surroundings.
You don’t have to act on EVERY idea
While some of my readers did contact her company, other readers offered additional ideas:
One suggested I send her producers a book. Another suggested I go to New York and meet with a bunch of media representatives.
Although these suggestions may be something I will do at some point, at the time it didn’t feel right. And frankly, ten years later, being on Oprah no longer carries the appeal to me that it once did, and I’ve found that I can achieve my ultimate goals in so many other ways by simply acting right where I am.
So what was the outcome of my acting on that thought? Who knows! Maybe someone on her staff learned about the book and maybe it helped them. I never got a phone call, and that’s okay. At the very least it gave me an opportunity to experiment with, and write about, the principle of acting where you are.
I knew that if it was truly in harmony with my ultimate goals, it would come together at the right time. That it did not happen when I wanted it to did not prevent me from making progress in other ways. Even now, I continue to maintain a clear mental picture of how I am building my life to be, and will continue acting on the suitable ideas that come to me as they come.
God knows best how to bring your vision about, but He still expects you to move your feet.
After all, you can’t steer a parked car.
So what about you? What are your goals? Are you at least rolling, even if you’re not sure you’re headed in the right direction?
Do your best to act where you are to achieve your worthy objectives, and keep the thought: “Please nudge me in another direction if I’m wrong!” in the back of your mind. So long as you are at least rolling, God can steer you.
And if you go one way and discover that you need to turn a corner or make a U-turn, it’s not the end of the world. We will all make mistakes along the way, but remaining frozen is probably the worst mistake of all.
To get the unique, inspired, genius idea you need for your next step, join us for Genius Bootcamp June 22-24. At the time of this post there were still 4 openings left! Originally posted Feb 15, 2007