Are you stuck in the 'dabbling zone'?

Are you stuck in the 'dabbling zone'?

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Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — In searching for life-shifting solutions, have you found yourself caught in the dabbling zone?

This means bouncing from conference to workshop to program, only to find yourself back at the same "got to do it differently" place you started.

We've all been there, but we don't have to stay there. Here are a few tried-and-true tips to start, get traction, and experience the uplevel results of making it happen.

Get clarity

The first step is the most important step. Clearly envision the shift you want to make — and not just a vague “I should,” “I want to,” or “I'll try to.” Define your personal purpose at this season of your life. What is it you feel you want to become? What is it you see yourself doing?

Create a purpose statement and start with three keywords that define it: “I am … (add three words).” If you're not sure how to create a purpose statement, use this free mini-course and workbook to define who you are and what you want to do.

Once you have a rough purpose statement, flesh it out. Make it vivid. Add feelings, details and specifics so that it becomes more real to you. I do meditation movies — what I call detailed “mind movies” of what that experience will look like. Whether it's writing my books, speaking on stage, or coaching a client, I have mini-movies that help me know what I ideally want to experience. Try doing these right before bedtime or first thing when you awake, and then note the outcome.

This works! On my recent keynote I spoke to a large audience about a core purpose topic and had an engaging connection that I had vividly rehearsed in my meditations. If you're more of a writer, do what Marie Forleo did. The founder of the B-School, she wanted to become a New York Times bestselling author. So, she wrote that affirmation down 15 times a day. Of course, she didn't just write it then go eat a cupcake; she worked it. But writing down or envisioning in your mind's eye your purpose truly works.

Get honest

Be real about what keeps you stuck. Is it apathy, lack of a plan, fear, needing support and accountability? Identify the biggest obstacle to your moving forward. Then choose one significant step to shift the gear (i.e. contact a person, register for a program, ask that accountability partner). Make what's called an “accountability appointment” with a seasoned or experienced person — a regular time and place to discuss your specific changes. This one choice can increase your chances of success by up to 95%, according to a study by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD).

That's what happened when I coached a woman named Becky in my professional program (where I teach how to be an influential writer, speaker and media personality). She had dabbled in writing a few chapters of a book, wanted to speak and get her message out through media, but didn't know how to do it. Becky asked for help. I taught her how to create a writing plan, define her audience, and prepare for media. She finished her book — it's now in professional editing — and went on a lifestyle TV show to promote her platform. This all took place within months.

Knowing what stops you and asking for help creates new opportunities and skillsets, and gets you out of the dabbling zone.

Get traction

In order to start seeing results, you've got to create traction. Stop hopping from conference to class to workshop. Gino Wickman, author of “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business,” said, "Most people are sitting on their own diamond mines. The surest ways to lose your diamond mine are to get bored, become overambitious, or start thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. Find your core focus, stick to it, and devote your time and resources to excelling at it.”

Choose your next step then be all in and create traction for that compound effect. Use your clarity, create a schedule, and plan for success. One woman I coached in that same program wanted to write a book. But with a special-needs child, she didn't see a way to make it happen. I taught her organization tools and she prepared for a 30-day writing sprint. She talked with her family, prepared freezer meals, and set times and places for her to write. And she wrote that book in 30 days.

Make this your year to exit the dabbling zone and enter the traction zone. You can! For more, watch my TV segment on "Studio 5 with Brooke Walker."


Connie Sokol

About the Author: Connie Sokol

Connie Sokol is a national speaker, bestselling author, media personality and mother of seven. She is a regular contributor on KSL’s lifestyle show "Studio 5 with Brooke Walker." Connie is a sought-after speaker on purpose-driven leadership and women in leadership. She is a bestselling author who has written 18 books and is also the founder of the Balance reDefined programs, which teach people to define their purpose and create effective systems to fulfill it. Connie marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats. For her TV segments, blog, podcasts and more visit

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