I was interviewed on a radio show, and I was asked what one piece of advice would I give to people who were starting a new business, or who were looking to improve their performance and results.

As I thought about it, I wondered whether I should talk about increasing your self-belief, about being bold or don't worry about failure and just do it anyway.

I tried to remember some of the best advice I had received and thought that maybe I should just look to pass that on, but telling people just 'to do it,' while it's not bad advice is hardly likely to get people inspired and started on their journey to greatness.

Just do it, sounds like "stop asking me for advice and just dive in, get on with it, stop wasting your and my time by procrastinating.". Which isn't really advice at all, it's just a statement of frustration at someone's inaction.

When I look at some of the success that I have achieved, they have all followed a similar pattern.

They have involved aiming high and setting a big goal.

Why is that important?

Well because big goals can inspire us to take action. They can fit well with our aspirations and desires to achieve greatness. We all want to be recognized, and we get recognized for big achievements, not small ones.

When we set big goals, they can be daunting and they can be intimidating. In many cases, people can become overwhelmed with big goals but overwhelm just a product of not knowing where to start.

The answer to this? Start small.

Big goals are never achieved in a single day.

Remember when John F Kennedy talked about putting a man on the moon in 1961. He didn't talk about doing it by the end of the week or the end of the month; he talked about achieving it by the end of the decade. He knew that big goals take time.

When we start small, we can plan early successes that will inspire us and motivate us and encourage us to keep going.

If we try to achieve too much at the start and fail it can be demotivating.

When I decided to run my first marathon at 52, it didn't start by me going out and running 5 or 10 miles.

It started with a 15-minute run, which then I repeated every day for that first week and then culminated with a 20 minute run on Sunday.

These were small steps, but they were important steps because they encouraged me to start and motivated me to continue as I started to see the progress.

Then, just keep going.

We need to remember that not only is the journey long, but it will also be filled with potential setbacks. We need to know this and plan for it, because to achieve any great goal we need to be persistent and consistent, making progress daily even if it's only a small improvement.

Over time, small successes and improvements can accumulate into big successes.

This was how having started with a 15-minute run and increasing incrementally by 5 minutes per week, three years later I have now run ten marathons.

A feat I would never have thought possible, but I did it.

This is the approach that I have used to run projects, lead departments as well as achieve personal goals. It's simplicity has always helped to get the buy-in of the teams, helped to build their self belief and increase confidence which then helped us achieve our desired goal.

So what's the best advice I can give?

Aim high, start small, and keep going.

Published on: Oct 10, 2016