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  • Writer's pictureJayne McQuillan

It Only Takes 5 Seconds!

It only takes 5 seconds for your brain to kick in and kill your urge to act! Basically, your mind tricks you into thinking things through. And the moment you get tricked into doing this, you’ll get trapped by your thoughts. Your brain is afraid of things that feel uncertain, scary, or new, so it will do whatever it can to talk you out of doing those things. (Robbins, 2017, p. 57)

I recently heard Mel Robbins speak at a global summit for Entrepreneur’s Organization about “The 5 Second Rule.” It was eye opening to me that often the difference between those who achieve their vision, passion, and purpose and those who do not isn’t about being smarter, better looking, or just lucky. The difference is they had the courage to act. And, with the courage to act, they gained increased self-confidence. With self-confidence, you only need to trust yourself to achieve what you were meant to be.

One of the most limiting factors we all have is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of failure. What will happen if we walk up to someone we want to meet and introduce ourselves? What will happen if we really share how we’re feeling? What will happen if we take action? When we let fear and the “what ifs” control our actions, we miss out on valuable opportunities, personally and professionally.

Let’s face it, our brains can be our worst enemy. We know what we should do, but within 5 seconds our brain starts working to create doubt, fear, and reasons why we shouldn’t. By using the 5 Second Rule, we can take control and act. The 5 Second Rule simply says when you want to act, start counting down from 5-4-3-2...and MOVE before you hit zero. It only takes 5 seconds for your brain to talk you out of it, so you have 5 seconds to act before it does.

You’ve all had that situation where you know you need to make a difficult phone call to a customer or have a challenging conversation with an employee, but you talk yourself out of it because you overanalyze or let fear take over. So, what if, as soon as a thought comes to mind that you want and should act on, you started counting 5-4-3-2-1 before your brain talked you out of it, then picked up the phone and made the call, or walked over to that employee and started talking about a concern you had or to share appreciation for a job well done?

Every day there are conversations I need to have, phone calls I need to make, and self-talk that causes me not to act. Every day we have reasons why not to move.

So, what if, as a business owner, leader, or employee, you engaged in the 5 Second Rule? How could this change your business, your leadership, your personal situation?

The biggest reason why strategic plans don’t get implemented, New Year’s resolutions fall to the wayside, and we end up in the same rut that we’ve been in for years is not because our strategies stink or our goals are unachievable. It’s because we don’t Act!

Good implementation of even a poor strategy can lead to the discovery of better ones. Or, objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Either way, both require action and/or movement. Staying the same doesn’t move the needle. And once you have positive momentum, it gets easier to keep moving forward.

As you look at your business, professional life, and personal life, what actions should you be taking in the next 5 seconds to move you toward your purpose, passion, and improved relationships.

The key to the 5 Second Rule is that it works. The difficulty with the 5 Second Rule is it’s hard. It takes practice, it takes focus, and it takes commitment to yourself, your business, and your relationships. The small steps lead to big steps and the action leads to results.

What is holding you back? 5-4-3-2-1 Act!

“Pushing yourself to take simple actions creates a chain reaction in your confidence and your productivity.” ― Mel Robbins

Robbins, M. (2017). The 5 Second Rule: Transform your life, work, and confidence with everyday courage. US: Savio Republic.


Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) is the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC

Our firm is focused on providing business owners and their businesses with strategic planning, exit planning, financial expertise, and organizational improvement. We use a holistic approach within all of our services by aligning leadership with business strategy and outcomes.

Schedule your free consultation call today!


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