The 5-Second Rule: Simple But Powerful

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A very confident looking woman marched up to me, looked me right in the eye, stuck her hand out to shake mine, and said “Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Hi! My name is Trish and I wanted to meet you.”

Have you ever felt an urge to do something that was uncomfortable?

Like walking up to a complete stranger at an event to introduce yourself. Picking up the phone to call a prospective client. Pushing record on your first Facebook Live video. (Yeah… that last one gives me butterflies…)

Those things are uncomfortable because we’re showing up and putting ourselves out there.

There is a chance this person won’t want to meet you and you’ll make a complete fool of yourself. There is a chance you’ll hear the word ‘no’ and a phone slamming in your ear. And there is a chance you’ll flub up your words and all your followers will think you’re dumb.

On the other hand...

There is also a chance that you’ll make a connection and create an amazing opportunity. There is a chance you’ll hear the word ‘yes’ and close the sale of your career. There is also a chance your brilliance will kick in and the message you share will change people’s lives. 

In the meantime...

You’re idling in a space of time where you’re not moving forward, suspended by the fear of not being valued, the fear of failure, the fear of very public humiliation.  We are reluctant to step outside our comfort zone and as a result, we let fear stop us dead in our tracks.

But this post isn’t about fear. It’s about shifting into gear, committing to action in that nanosecond of time, and moving forward despite what we think or how we feel.

“Wow, Trish! It’s so great to meet you too! Thank you for introducing yourself to me!” 

I had just come off stage at a women's leadership event where I shared Mel Robbins’ 5-Second Rule, a tool that increases our confidence, changes our behaviors, and demands we take action. Trish was in the audience, took my message to heart, and applied the 5-second tool before she even left the room! 

Simple But Powerful

Following the 5-Second Rule is a simple but powerful process. First, you have a thought… “I need to speak up in this meeting.”

“I want to apply for the Director’s position.”

“I need to talk with Doug about his behavior.”

Next, you have five seconds to act on it. Begin counting down 5-4-3-2 and when you get to one, you do the thing you just thought about.

By counting backwards, you’re focusing more on the action instead of overthinking the outcome and wallowing in whatever you're feeling at the time (anxiousness, nervousness, fear, self-doubt). You’re momentarily distracted from what would normally hold you back.

All too often we feel ourselves out of moving forward when we should be acting ourselves in to moving forward.

Mel says in her book, The 5-Second Rule, “The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must count 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.” The 5-Second Rule is empowering because it turns you into a person who takes action instead of simply thinking about it.

Trying Out The 5-Second Rule 

I’ve been wrenching with this 5-second tool these last few weeks and it has helped me:

  • GSD (get sh*t done)If there is something simple I’ve been putting off, like writing a thank you note, setting up a coffee date, or sending a follow-up email, I’ll 5-4-3-2-1 it. I’ve made it a bit of a game where I dare myself to start counting, knowing that the rule is to ‘do the thing’. So I count, ‘do the thing’, and GSD!
  • Banish self-doubt – From a logical standpoint, there are things I know I must do to build my business. The problem is that my ‘self-doubt shadow’ often shows up when execution is critical. Unfortunately, she has been allowed to make decisions and because of her influence, I neglect to act on what was logically planned ahead of time. The 5-second rule brings me back to the logical, I've-already-decided-to part of my brain and simply reminds me that I agreed to do certain things before self-doubt was even in the picture. Hence, self-doubt has been banished from all decision-making meetings. 
  • Build confidence – Confidence is belief in yourself that you have the gifts and abilities to succeed.  It’s a mindset that is bolstered by proof of success. So as you act on something… you accomplish something… which is proof of your success… which increases your confidence… which means you're more likely to act on something again. See how that goes? Confidence is an amazing momentum maker that creates a cycle of empowerment and it all starts with action.  
  • Create discipline – The two things that I hate more than anything else are getting up in the morning and going to the gym. Because I am not motivated to do either of these things, I need to be disciplined. The 5-4-3-2-1 works here because when the snooze button goes off, I 5-4-3-2-1 and get my butt out of bed. When it’s time to hit the gym, I 5-4-3-2-1 and start putting on my workout clothes. Sometimes I even have to 5-4-3-2-1 to get in the car to drive to the gym. It may take several 5-4-3-2-1’s to make it through my workout but one class at a time… one snooze at a time… I’m creating a discipline. 

What 5-Seconds Can Do For You

The 5-Second Rule is a game-changer! It can empower you to kick your career, your business, your marriage, your health, your mindset, your life into high gear!

Imagine if you used 5-4-3-2-1 to maneuver through negative self-talk and become a person of action. Imagine what you could accomplish when you banish your self-doubt, dispel your fears, and tune into the logical part of your brain centered on crushing your goals.

Imagine what you’ll miss if you don’t 5-4-3-2-1.

Creating an amazing opportunity.

Closing the sale of your career. 

Changing someone’s life. 

As Trish so elegantly and courageously modeled… it is a simple yet powerful tool.

How will you use it?