The Official Blog of Mike Rayburn

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How To Do or Change ANYTHING. Really.

done-is-doneIf you’re willing to do the work, here’s how to know what work to do.

When I get inspired (or convinced) to do or change something one of two things happens: Either I’m hit with an excited jumble of completely unorganized ideas that apply but have no order or process; or I have no ideas whatsoever.

As if from heaven a process hit me and I want to share it. This is for all of us who are willing to do what needs to be done, but not always sure what that is.

One last caveat. This process works for anyone and any task: From a skid row addict who wants to recover, to a multi-millionaire entrepreneur who needs to figure our what’s next… and all of us in between.

1. Decide what needs to happen or change. Well duh, right? Not so fast. You’d be surprised how many people – those with a serious weight problem, financial challenges, those who hate their job, those who feel like it’s all been done – never realize, “Hey, this could be better (or dangerous), I need to change.”

In my experience with my Virtuoso/What If? Day (click here) attendees and “What If…?” keynote audiences (click here), the two deterrents to knowing and acknowledging something needs to change are:

A. limiting beliefs, and/or…

B. willingness to settle.

Limiting beliefs… I’m amazed at how many people believe they don’t deserve better, that it’s normal to hate your job, be deep in debt, have a bad marriage, or to believe, as John Mellencamp said, “Oh yeah, life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone.” A close friend of mine once said, concerning his serious weight gain “Oh, that’s normal, it comes with age.” Well… no, it’s not normal. It’s common, but not normal.

Willingness to settle… On the other hand or in addition many people are just willing to settle (read: lazy). Change seems like too much work so they accept that the condition is more manageable to keep than change. Another friend  was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and told he would have to lose weight and change his diet, or take some pills and probably become diabetic. He chose the pills, and is now diabetic. Unbelievable! So we accept our situation as too much work to change, veg out, medicate and escape with our chosen distraction and hope for a healing. (For what it’s worth, not to sound proud, but I got the same diagnosis eight years ago and beat it by changing my diet with this process).


Now, the positive side! You may be inspired to invent something, learn a skill, start a business, hike the Appalachian Trail, start a charity, do something unequivocal. That’s awesome! It still starts with knowing you want something to happen. Just over a year ago I decided to create and perform an electric guitar duet of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with a hologram of myself. Crazy thought! But I decided it had to happen. That commitment is what saw me through to completion. (click here).

2. Choose to do it. Almost all unrealized dreams, poor retirements, preventable health crises, bad relationships, job dissatisfaction, and lives lived in vain are born in the chasm between “knowing something needs to be done,” and “choosing to do it.” Most of us know exactly what we need to do, we just don’t do it. So… freakin’ do it, or don’t complain.

My advice is to make it easy. When you make the choice don’t look at the mountain you have to climb to accomplish it. Just make the choice and take a simple first step. Sign up for the class, make the phone call, tell a friend, and allow yourself to feel good about it. We want a positive association with this project or change.

3. Choose how to do it. There are likely many ways to do what you want or need to do. There are many diets, workouts, classes, experts, programs, charities, professionals, plans and businesses. For addictions there are AA/NA/SA etc, Celebrate Recovery, in-patient and out-patient facilities, counseling centers. Your first step is to research and brainstorm possible solutions and just choose one. If it doesn’t work you can switch.

4. Do it. This is where all the great cliches apply: “Just do it.” “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” “Persevere.” “The race doesn’t always go to the swift but to those who just keep running.”

Also, please remember, 95% done is not done. Done is done. Finish what you start.

5. Review how well you did it. In my “What If…?” keynote I exhort people to become “Virtuosos,” or resolve to be the best. I explain that the opposite of virtuoso is not failure; the opposite of virtuoso is competent. Reviewing your performance, honest assessment of how well you did is one of the major differences in competent people and Virtuosos.

A good review of anything can be accomplished simply by asking yourself two questions:

A. What went right?

B. What would I do differently next time?

This allows you to identify the positives, and to frame the things that need improvement in a positive, solution-oriented light. In a longer, on-going process such as weight loss, addiction recovery, or following financial plan, do your review regularly – every month, or when there’s a problem.

6. What’s next? Yeah! You’ve been successful. Now, don’t just let that momentum die… ride it. Ask yourself what’s next? A new project? Expanding the current project? If you achieve your ideal weight, what’s next for your health? What’s your next skill? Whom else can you help? What’s your next financial goal? How else can you grow your business?


This is cyclical. The answer to #6, “What’s next?” becomes your new #1, “Decide what needs to happen or change,” and you’re rockin’ again!

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