A while ago, I met with Jim, a friend of a friend who has been a speaker for like twenty years. I always love talking to others who’ve been successful in this field and hearing about their experiences, of listening to the interactions they’ve had with their audiences that have taught them a thing or two. It gives me inspiration. It also helps me understand what not to do when growing my own speaking business, learning from mistakes they’ve made without having to make them myself.
At this particular moment in my life, I was feeling extremely frustrated with how slow it felt like my business was going. It seemed like I was putting in a large amount of time, but wasn’t really getting anywhere. So, I confided in Jim, saying, “I’m working soooo hard at this, but I’m just not gaining any traction!” His response?
He said, “Red, stop working so hard and just do it.” Just do it? What? Then I thought for a minute and came to the conclusion that he was right. And was he ever. When I started “just doing it,” things started happening. I started getting more calls for speaking gigs. Decision-makers were noticing me and my business was growing because I was “doing it”.
Before this tiny epiphany created by Jim—what I refer to in my book, Live Your YOUlogy, as a “defining moment”—I wanted to perfect my system before ever engaging in step number one. I wanted everything to be just right, wanted to understand it all inside and out, before I jumped in. I was so focused on perfection, on doing things correctly from start to finish, that I wasn’t taking any action. I was always planning.
So often, we spin our ideas around in our head, covering all of our bases before doing anything concrete, that we wind up losing a lot of time and effort that would be better spent just doing whatever it is we need to do. Yet, we don’t have to do things right or be perfect before we can start. Besides, if we make mistakes, when we make mistakes, we can just do what every other thought leader, visionary, and entrepreneur does when doing things for the first time. We can fix things along the way.
Do you feel like you’re spinning your own wheels, like you’re not getting any traction in pursuit of your own personal or career-related goals? Are you so focused on creating the perfect process that all you do is plan and plan, never quite getting to the step that requires taking some action?
If you answered yes, then stop working so hard and just start doing the things you need to do. If you’re working on growing your business, start reaching out to your target market, experiment with ways to gain their attention…and their loyalty. If you’re working on personal goals like losing weight, instead of always planning the perfect diet and exercise program, start taking small steps like eating more salads or exercising more often.
Yes, some amount of planning is necessary, but at some point you have to start doing. And it’s when you start “doing” that the magic happens. That’s when you’ll start to see results and your dreams begin to come true.