What Massive Action is and Why It’s Magic!
I learned about Massive Action from my teacher and mentor Brooke Castillo (who I recorded a whole episode about last year).
When I went back to double check how she described massive action and the examples that she used for it, I realized,it is possible, for the past few years, I have been misremembering what massive action actually refers to.
I was thinking that massive action is like a certain repetition of things, and it certainly can include that, but really, Brooke’s main definition is you take action until you get the result you want. Even though I must have heard and believed that, and somehow incorporated it into my own internal definition, I don’t think I have repeated it or referred to it or explained it that way to a friend, myself, a client or you on this podcast. So that’s why today’s episode is actually called the Magic of Massive Action.
Making it a Known Quality
Referring to it as magic is more of a play on the “unknown or unexplainable quality”, although I’m trying to make it a known quality and explain it to you now, but it’s like a spark. How do you get something, create something, have something – when it wasn’t there before? That’s magic, right? But, it’s actually not! You get what you want through massive action. I want to tell you why I think massive action works so well. And why I really do think it is magical.
Brooke talks about massive action as taking action until you get the result that you want – that is another way of saying, just keep going and don’t quit. My explanation of the magic of massive action has evolved from when I first heard Brooke talking about it.
I really think the magic of massive action includes having a specific plan of action. Usually, for me, it includes a number of repetitions or a set amount of time. I’ve got a few examples of when massive action has worked really well for me and what was so magical about it.
Examples of Massive Action
First, let’s talk about some examples of when massive action has worked for me. Maybe one of these examples will apply to you or be close enough that you can use it as a metaphor for something in your life.
Paying off Debt
The first example is when I had, what I would consider, a huge amount of debt. This debt was purposeful and intentional and good debt, but still debt. I didn’t want to be in debt. So I decided, even though I didn’t know this at the time, I didn’t know the name of it, I decided to take massive action to fully pay off the debt and I did it. This massive action meant that I made a plan (on a spreadsheet) where I figured out the most amount of money I could possibly pay towards the debt each month. Then, I went ahead and sent in that high amount – every month. And, for me, the fun part was seeing the balance drop each month, and seeing the number of months remaining drop every time that I checked my spreadsheet. And suddenly (really, it took a few years) – the balance was zero and there were zero months remaining! Amazing!
I also had a second debt, not quite as big, but still a pretty big amount that I owed. I just decided to continue rolling over that massive action and those huge payments from my first success now that it was paid off, into the second one. And, magically, I did it again. The second debt was completely wiped out.
Some people might hear this story and think, “okay, Bex, that’s not a big deal. You just paid off your debt.” But it was massive action for me because I did not stop paying. I made what some people would consider a massive plan to pay off these two huge debts. I structured my budget and my spending and my lifestyle so I could throw thousands of dollars at that debt, many months in a row. And, I did it. And I loved it! And now I’m enjoying the benefit of financial independence because of the magic of that massive action I took all those years ago.
200 Tarot Readings
The second example is basically the complete opposite, on the complete other end of the scale from paying off debt debt with thousands of dollars.
This one is much more woo and maybe not as well respected in some circles. But, I think I might be equally as proud of this one.
And now I’m realizing, I also did this one twice. This example happened when I was learning a new skill: Tarot Reading. I was learning how to read tarot cards. I wanted to improve my skill and have a diversity of experience and get a lot of practice so that I could deliver tarot readings with confidence and with flow and familiarity. So, I decided one way to get that experience and familiarity and confidence was by doing 100 readings. It was like a self-created practicum. I think I gave myself about two months, maybe a little bit longer.
This self-created practicum with a goal, which I stated publicly, and a deadline really got me out of my comfort zone. It got me excited. It got me motivated. It gave me something to talk about because it felt like a huge goal. It gave me a reason to get creative and talk to people who I would’ve never talked to. It gave me a reason to ask people to refer their friends and family to me. And it just really encouraged me to push myself a little bit further because I was so intent on doing those 100 readings.
And it was so magical, because I got what I wanted. I felt confident. I had experience. I got that diversity of giving readings to all kinds of people in all kinds of environments. And I had so much fun and met so many people. So, the next year, around the same time, I decided to do it again. And since I did the first practicum in the months of October and November, The second year, I called it the 10/11 project. And, I made it even more challenging for myself because it was the 2nd year and I had more experience. So while in the first practicum I included recordings in my count towards 100 readings, in the second year I only included face-to-face readings so I could get real time reactions and feedback.
Zumba Every Day
And to continue in our full circle mode and going in the complete opposite direction again, since we just went from talking about paying down thousands of dollars in debt over years to a hundred tarot readings in a span of a few months, now we’re going much, much smaller.
This massive action took place over five days. I told this story before in the Lessons Learned from Zumba post, but the short version is: A few years ago, I noticed when I was looking at my gyms calendar, that based on my schedule and the gym calendar, I would be able to, if I wanted to, go to a Zumba class every day, over a five day period.
And so I decided to do that and I didn’t miss a day. I made sure that my schedule was able to accommodate those five classes. And I went to Zumba every day for five days. And that reignited my workout habit, it gave me a sense of accomplishment. It made me feel so good. And then eventually I started going to Zumba every day, nonstop seven days a week. I coordinated my gyms and my work schedule and everything in my life.
And became a member of three different gyms because I had a preference for going to Zumba at the same time each morning. Even though some gyms have classes every day, they’re at different times of the day. I didn’t want that. I wanted the same time every day. So, that’s why I ended up joining three gyms. The point is: I was able to set that intention for myself, and tell myself that I wanted to do the action of going to a class every day. And I did it for five days. I did not stop until I had gotten that result of those five days. And, in the meantime, I got so many other really great results that I didn’t even know about and that I wasn’t even planning on. All those benefits came because I was taking that massive action of going to those classes, those five days in a row
Episodes Every Friday
In 2019, I decided that I would post a podcast every episode, every Friday for the entire year of 2020, starting with the first Friday in January.
And then I did launch this podcast on January 3rd, 2020, and every single Friday thereafter. I posted an episode no matter what. Even if we had a global pandemic, even if I was moving and renovating a house, even if I had some difficulties in life, even if I was having so much fun and things were going great. No matter what. Every Friday of 2020, I posted a podcast episode. And I’m so glad that I did. I learned so much and I got so much confidence. I made connections with so many people during a year that many people were feeling isolated and alone. I grew my business. I improved my own writing and thinking skills. So that’s another example, the fourth example, of how massive action that has really been magical for me in my life.
The fifth example that I want to share with you is my current massive action. I am currently in the messy middle of it. It’s the most recent thing that I’ve gotten super excited about and super vocal about. You’ve probably heard me talking about it, or maybe you’ve seen pictures of it. If you’ve listened to any recent episodes, or follow me on social media, or if you know me in person, I’ve probably given you one or talked about my journals and notebooks. The massive action I’m currently taking is to create 200 journals and notebooks. That’s 200 diverse, various, different topics, different covers, different purposes – 200 total journals and notebooks. It feels a little overwhelming, especially when I tell people when they asked me what I’m up to, what I’m working on. And I talk about how I’m researching and I’m coming up with ideas and designs and color schemes and thinking of who I could create journals for and who, and what they might want in their journals and what notebooks.
I’m in the middle of working on this massive action and I’m not going to quit until I have 200. It is challenging. But it’s also fun and creative. And the result I’m getting is an expanded imagination. I’m improving my design skills. I’m getting curious about other people and their preferences and habits and tastes. And, at the end, I’ll have an inventory of 200 new things that didn’t exist before!
2022 UPDATE: Massive action complete – see some of the 200 notebooks and journals in the Journal + Notebook shop
So those were some of the examples of massive action that has worked for me that has given me so many benefits to help me create so many amazing results in my life.
Common Themes in My Examples
If you want to create some of these magic results for yourself by taking massive action, you might be wondering how. You might be thinking “this sounds good, but what am I supposed to do now?”
As I was making a list of my examples and thinking about them, I realized that there were some common themes and reasons why those examples of massive action were so magical for me in my life. I’ll tell you the common themes so you can think about how to apply them in your own examples if you want to.
The first common theme between all the examples that I just gave you is that I was 100% invested in the completion of the action.
My definition of massive action is a little different from the definition that I originally learned and started following. But I really like to think of my massive action in terms of iterations, repetitions, or doing something over and over again. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same thing over and over again, but a specific, a number of things that I’ll do, or a specific amount of times that I’ll do something or a specific length of time.
In all those examples that I just gave, I was 100% invested in taking that number of actions or taking those actions for that length of time. And I wasn’t really highly invested or concerned with the results 100% of the time. I was invested in the actions. Maybe what we would more traditionally think of as the purpose or the reason why or the outcome at the end. That wasn’t as big of a factor, or in some cases wasn’t a factor at all.
So the short form of what I just said is I had 100% belief that I would do it and I had zero doubt. So that goes along with the second thing in common among all of these examples that I just shared: the decision to do it. My belief about doing it was 100%. I was decided. I was all in, there was zero doubt that I would do it no matter what.
To illustrate how this looked for me, back in 2019, as I was getting closer to launching the podcast. I recognized that there were some technical aspects that maybe that wouldn’t be completed in time. For example, I was going to launch my podcast on Apple Podcasts. You have to submit and then wait for them to approve your new podcast before you can start uploading episodes.
I wasn’t in charge of their timeline. So it was potentially possible that even though I submitted in plenty of time, there was a possibility that I wouldn’t get to launch on Apple Podcasts on the date that I intended to in order to meet my massive action decision of posting an episode every single Friday of 2020. But because I had 100% decided to do it, I knew I didn’t care if Apple approved me or not. I was pretty sure they were going to, but even if they didn’t, I knew I could just post in a Google drive and email everyone the link to the audio recording. That would count as posting an episode. That is why I’m saying there was zero doubt. I was prepared to overcome any obstacle.
I knew I was taking that action noo matter if technology did not agree with me, no matter if something went wrong or unexpected, I knew I was doing it no matter what
A Big Enough Number
The third thing that all my examples of massive action seem to have in common when I was thinking back over them as a collective group is that I made the number of iterations or the number of actions big enough so that no single event really mattered on its own.
When you think about doing 100 tarot readings, or when you think about paying down thousands of dollars in debt, or creating 200 journals, that number is big enough that the individual pieces of action don’t really stand out on their own. So none of the individual actions are “make or break.”
This happened multiple times over the years that I was paying off the debt. Sometimes, unexpected things would happen. Sometimes unexpected expenses would come up. That happens in life. So some months I was not able to pay the full amount that I had budgeted on my spreadsheet. That’s totally fine. It wasn’t a problem. I paid what I could and kept on going. And in the whole scheme of things, I still paid consistently every month until the debt was paid off. And those months that I wasn’t able to pay the full amount that I wanted to or had budgeted for, they didn’t take away from the overall action that I was taking.
As I’m making notebooks and journals. I can tell some are better than others. I see that my eyes are drawn to some designs more than others. And because I know that I’m ending up with 200, no one specific design is going to disappoint me or hold me back or cause me to question what I’m doing. I’ve got 199 more to look at!
Another thing that I found in common for the magic of massive action is being able to see progress.
I like to see progress. I like to track things. I like to mark things on a calendar and check boxes. So for the tarot reading example, I made myself, I made a list with 100 blank spaces. Every time I did a tarot reading, I would write down the person’s name in a space. Eventually I could see that list growing from 1 person all the way up to 100 people. And in fact, sometimes I didn’t even know their names because in the interest of giving 100 tarot readings, I didn’t turn anyone down. I had gone to dinner with some friends and one of the friend’s sons met us at the restaurant with his girlfriend. So I thought, “great! people who haven’t had a reading from me yet!”
So the son and the girlfriend both let me do a reading for them. And while we were sitting there in the restaurant, the waitress came and saw the tarot cards. And was like, “Ooh, what’s this? do you think I could get a reading?” And I was like, of course. So she came back to the table when things slowed down.It was just a quick little three card spread. and I told her, I’m trying to give 100 readings by this date.
If any of your coworkers want to reading and have time, send them to our table. So, another waitress came over and got a reading too. And I probably didn’t know the waitresses names. So maybe I just wrote down on my list of 100 readings, waitress 1 and waitress 2. I loved seeing that progress of the names (or titles) filling up the list!
Another thing that all of these examples of massive action had in common was that they were goal-oriented. I had a specific number of things to do by a specific time. But these goals were all completely arbitrarily made up by me.
There was no external authority telling me I needed to do exercise a certain number of days in a week, or there was no business coach telling me that I needed to have a certain consistency with my podcast episodes.There was no financial authority telling me that I needed my debt paid off by a certain time. This was all just me deciding I wanted to do it and then doing it.
If you’re considering massive action for yourself, can you find a way to be 100% invested in the completion of the actions? To believe you will do the actions no matter what? And to choose an arbitrary goal for yourself, not because anyone’s making you, that’s massive enough that no individual part matters on its own but that you can still track and see your progress?
If you can see yourself doing this, you can enjoy the benefits of massive action.
Benefits of Massive Action
I’ve gotten so many benefits from taking massive action and I’m going to just present this as if you are getting these benefits too, because I’m sure you will get these benefits or something like them. I’m pretty sure because I’ve seen it happen for me so frequently.
The first benefit of taking massive action is you either win or you learn, and maybe, you do both.
Winning and Learning
You win or you learn! And maybe both. So you will win, meaning you will get the result that you want. Whatever that result is that the massive action is resulting in. And if you don’t get that result, well, first of all, based on the original definition, you don’t quit.
You don’t stop taking massive action until you do get the results. That’s why I’m so confident in saying you’re definitely getting the result.
But, also, you learn. You learn so much, you learn why you weren’t able to do something in some time period, or you learn about yourself. You learn about your own resistance. You learn what are the sentences you’re telling yourself that might be keeping you from wanting to take that action that you thought you were going to take? You will learn so much about the process, whatever the action is that you’re taking, yourself, and of course, you’ll learn about resistance.
Another benefit of taking massive action is momentum. Momentum creates habits and maybe also new neural pathways about what you believe is possible.
By promising yourself you’re going to take an action every day or every whatever increment of time, you create momentum and momentum creates habits. And that habit is a new neural pathway in your brain.
Before this, your resistance might have promised you something was impossible or possible for other people, but not for you. The more you take massive action, the more you create that momentum, the more that habit is developed, the more new neural pathways are created in your brain -the more you believe that anything and everything is possible for you, that’s creating more abundance in your life.
That’s you telling yourself, you have so many options. There’s so much available to you. I mean, that’s, we could stop the podcast right here. That benefit is amazing. Developing neural pathways and habits of possibility and options and abundance just pays for itself right there!
Doing Something Instead of Not
The next benefit of massive action is that you’re doing something instead of just thinking or talking about it. It seems like there’s more integrity in it.
This is something that I run into a lot, maybe with myself too, but definitely with people I talk to.
A lot of us like to think about doing things and talk about doing things and plan to do things. There is a lot of thinking and talking and planning happening, and that feels good. And it is a necessary first step, but it is not the same thing as taking massive action. So as you’re thinking about it and planning it and talking to other people about it and researching and deciding all of these, yes, important first step, but certainly not all of the steps.
As soon as you start actually doing something and taking that massive action, that’s when you know, you are actually in integrity.
Let’s face it. Let’s be honest. If you talk about something and plan for something and think about something past the point that you need to think about it, or plan it or talk about it. You’re not really being in integrity with yourself.
You’re kind of being disingenuous. Maybe even a little bit dishonest, with yourself. And that does not feel great. So by going ahead and taking the action, no more talking, no more thinking, no more planning. Now it’s time for doing, you get to claim that integrity, claim it and enjoy it and be in it. And that feels so good. It feels magical. And it creates more magic in your life!
What do you think? Would taking massive action work for you? Can you imagine yourself setting a massive goal for yourself and then focusing on doing the things, and not really worrying about the outcome?
What do you think might hold you back? What resistance might show up for you?
This post is already pretty long, but as I was thinking about all of this, I did come up with a few examples of when I thought I was taking massive action, but I wasn’t really. I wasn’t following my own magical formula to get what I wanted for myself. At times, I wasn’t 100% invested in taking the actions. Or, maybe I was too focused on the result and didn’t appreciate the incremental progress (and maybe I told myself the progress wasn’t happening fast enough). Can you imagine that happening for you?
Do you want to hear the examples of when I thought massive action didn’t work for me (but it wasn’t really massive action?
Or do you have any questions you want answered in a future episode about massive action? Or want to work through any of this in a one-on-one conversation?
Let me know what, if any, resistance or questions come up for you!