A Jazzy Goal Achievement Tip!

"Gordon Bryan" "The Great Gordino"I was talking with a friend the other day about the launch of an online product. Something he said was the prompt for this article about a jazzy goal achievement tip, so here goes…

I’ll be honest, the connection with jazz hands, is a loose one to say the least. Long time readers will know though, that I’m the kind of chap to enjoy a good jazz hands moment – throw in some sequins and you’ll always get my attention!
Also I was at a performance workshop course recently where a girl threw in some jazz hands ’for the fun of it’ so I couldn’t resist using a jazz hands pic!

Back to the product launch – it was his own product we were talking about. It’s a learning course sold via another site, and I was wondering with him about doing it on his own site.

He replied with various reasons why he wasn‘t doing that, but here’s the kicker – he said there was a ‘certain degree of improvisation’ about it all. That’s what hit my goal achievement writing trigger…

I quite like the phrase ‘certain degree of improvisation’. It’s a more positive way of saying ‘trial and error’, or how about ‘don’t really know what I’m doing (yet)’.

If you don’t know how to do something, you have different options – one obvious option is to use that lack of knowledge as a reason to not try. It’s a reason used by many to leave their goals stewing on the back burner, unfulfilled, not even attempted. I know, because I’ve been there myself before.

Of course another way to deal with the problem of not knowing how, is to get on and find out – you can gather as much information as you can, but then you need to put that to good use by taking action, to see how it goes.

My friend Peter used the word improvisation, and to many that brings an image of jazz music, so let’s go into that arena to see how it relates to the idea of taking action towards your goal…

Improvisation in jazz certainly involves trying new things. It involves going in new directions, yes, but that improvisation is normally based on a set of rules about jazz, with a basic structure as the foundation, plus a feel and connection between the players.

This can be the model for your goal achievement trials – pushing outwards from a familiar base, with people and structures in place to support you.

There is another model of improvisation though, and it’s the one with no familiarity, no support, no established structure to lean on. Real ‘into the unknown stuff’.

Sounds scary, right?

Yep, it sounds scary, and it *is* scary, that’s why so many people shy away even from the idea, let alone actually doing it! That’s a shame though, because going into the unknown is sometimes a required element to get to your goal, particularly if you are pushing against the norms of your family or peer groups.

Something I can say about this type of improvisation, and I know this because I’ve done it too, is that not only is it often not as bad as you thought it might be, that support structure you didn’t have can come into view pretty quickly once you enter the new area, because it’s provided by people *in* that new area.

In other words, the help and knowledge is there in abundance waiting to be tapped into, but it relies on you taking the first step, it relies on you moving from thought to real world action, which is why I have called ‘action’ one of the 4 magic words beginning with ‘A’.

So to sum up, give yourself a jazz hands moment if you fancy it, but more importantly think of improvisation. Take the concept away from the world of jazz music, and see how it applies to your own goal in terms of being prepared to try something new.

Ok, that’s it for today – do let me know what you think!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. If you want to see the online course I was discussing, here’s the link to Peter Cook’s course
P.P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for email updates of new posts via the box at top right of any page.

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  • Not a big fan of improvising myself…. However, I have found (at times) taking a less informed approach can be fresh and not lead to self-doubt that hinders taking a chance. Of course I don’t have any huge success to back this up!

    • Hi Alessa,
      I would put ‘a less informed approach’ as one form of improvisation. You make a good point about trying to get away from self doubt – anything that helps with that is a good thing! Personally I’ve found that trying more unknown things reduces the fear of other unknown things!
      Thanks for stopping by,

  • This resonates (had to continue the motif) with me- deeply.
    I have always encouraged my kids, my mentees, my students, my staff to push the envelope. To try things (to have a planned action, with potential scenarios…admittedly many fail to follow that route) to expand one’s horizons.
    Yes, there is fear of the unknown. There is fear of failure. But, the only guarantee is the failure of never starting.
    Thanks for the wake-up call.

    • Thanks Roy,
      It’s a key point I make over and over again. I’ve had plent of experience of it myself. I guess we have *all* had experience of entering the unknown, but most of us do it when it’s thrown at us, rather than choosing to do it. Action and scenarios sum it up nicely, and I felt the resonance!

    • Hi Audrey,
      your kids are lucky to have someone encouraging that attitude – so many children don’t get it, and then it’s down to educating themsleves as adults – not impossible, but harder!
      Thanks for the comment,

  • GreatGord,
    I love that phrase “certain degree of improvisation” and plan to use it, by the way, myself. I have found in my own life that if I write down my goals on a daily basis, I often have to push myself to use a “certain degree of improvisation” (see? I’m using it already!) to get it all done. It improves my focus to just really want to check off the tasks, one by one, and that focus drives me to do things different ways, sometimes. I’m not very good at problem-solving, but this helps me problem-solve, too. Anyway. Great post, lots of food for thought and a new phrase to use, too. Win-win!

    • Hi Amy,
      Yes, that phrase struck a chord with me too (hmm, another jazz reference!), and it’s a good one that I’ll also be using!
      So many people are just plain too scared to even try it, which is why I bang on a lot about it in my writing.
      Thanks as ever,

  • Hi Gord,

    Another great post. I love your style of writing and how you take examples from your everyday life and then turn that into a thought that applies to any aspect of life.

    I believe that many people improvise even without knowing it. In a way you have to or else you will just remain somewhere in the corner life passing you by.

    Thanks for sharing your thought. Take care.


    • Hi Dita,
      Thanks! I do really enjoy spotting things I can hang goal achievement points on – it allows me to drive the same points home over and over.
      You make a good point about people improvising without realising – sometimes it only takes an understanding of this to persuade people to activly try it rather than doing it without knowing.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  • Hello all,

    Improvisation is the key to doing new things in business and in life. Although I casually say that ‘its just making things up’, people that know me often point out that it’s certainly not random and that ‘making things up’ is built on a lot of experience and a few hard knocks. Some go so far as to say that I’m not making things up at all and I know exactly what I’m doing. I don’t particularly agree with this, but I must admit that most of my improvisation has been thought through in the back of my mind for some time before I launch into action.

    They do say that chance favours the prepared mind and I can cite several examples of ‘prepared spontaneity’ that other people say were not just lucky. I wanted an endorsement for a book a while ago and managed to get an invite to an event where Harvey Goldsmith was present. My ‘preparation’ was to (a) decide that my goal for the evening was to meet him and (b) take a copy of a previous book with me in case an opportunity arose. It did. It was only the day after that the ‘goal’ struck me – to ask Harvey for the endorsement I had been seeking from a rock star. I then set about ways to ensure he would get my letter etc. In just a couple of days I had an e-mail back asking me to send the manuscript in. Bingo!

    So, for me, improvisation rests on solid preparation. The words also rhyme, which helps! 🙂

    • Great point – I’ve often written about ‘creating your own luck’, which more often than not comes about as a result of taking action – while non action takers wonder why they don’t get the same ‘luck’. Your Harvey Goldsmith example is a great one, and your action in putting your course up on the udemy website is action taking at its’ finest!
      Best wishes with it, I still think you are giving a great amount of value at that price.