Do you think too much before you act?
Hugh Jackman vs Chewbacca
It’s always interesting to me when people email me wanting to know more tactics for selling and marketing. It often makes me wonder if they’ve already put into practice the advice they’d already been given.
In fact, it’s kind of rare that I get a question asking for clarification on a piece of advice for someone who is already in the midst of taking action. For example:
I just got done reading your most recent post, 5+ Ways to Brand Yourself on A Budget and I decided to upgrade my web presence. I already bought the new URL and the template, but am confused about what platform to use. I really don’t understand Wordpress and feel stuck. Any ideas?
Now clearly Hugh emails me all the time. He’s a really devoted reader and super committed to upping his online presence game. ;)
Most of the emails I receive from readers, in fact, sound more like this:
I just signed up for your free tutorial on getting your first client and it was super helpful, thanks! I hope to one day start a business and use this information! My kids are in pre-school and once they graduate college, I’m considering going into it full time.
As you may have noticed, my blog is quite popular with the Hollywood hunks. And I bet you didn’t know Chewbacca had children? What can I say!
What’s the main difference between Hugh’s response and Chewbacca? Both are badass warriors. Both are animals at heart and both are into business and upping their game (they follow my blog so there’s clearly some interest in business).
They key difference is that Hugh takes action and tries out my advice.
Chewbacca just dreams about it.
Yes, Chewbacca devours all the information he can get while working his day job saving the galaxy, but doesn’t try any of it himself. He actually feels a little torn, because while he realizes his work is really important (i.e. saving the galaxy), he also realizes that he doesn’t want to fight anymore. He wants to teach people the power of non-resistance, but that seems cray cray given he’s a top notch fighter.
So he puts it off. Reads and reads and fights, even though what he really wants to do is teach others how to never have to fight in the first place.
Dreams are like frequent flyer miles, as Chris Guillebeau may tell you. They are pointless if you don’t use them. They’re meant to be accumulated only so that you can make use of them in the near future!
Dreams are not like McDonalds french fries folks. They are not resistant to the impact of time. They do in fact have a shelf life. They wither away if not given the proper attention and you begin to hate yourself for not doing what you really want to in life. Trust me, I’ve been there.
So, why aren’t you taking action?
There are 100 reasons why we put off taking action. We as a people are really good at finding incredibly legitimate reasons to not do work, which makes it all the harder to realize when we’re simply in denial of what we really want.
Here are the top three reasons most people don’t take action. Can you relate to any of these?
“I’m too busy”
“I don’t have the money”
“I don’t know what I want to do”
The “I’m too busy”
This is a logical reason, isn’t it? You go to school, have a full-time job, maybe are married with kids and barely have time to work out.
It’s your responsibility to take care of your family and it would be reckless to avoid those responsibilities to pursue something that has a only a shot in hell of succeeding!
Ah! You sold me! Except that you don’t really believe that.
Yes, the anger and frustration is real. Let it out girl!
But, behind that anger and defensive response that hints of a, “How could you possibly expect me to do one more thing when I already do everything!”
Behind that is sadness.
Because not only do you not make time for your dreams, you don’t make time to connect with yourself. To figure out what you really want.
Sad that you haven’t taken the time to develop your own hobbies and interests. That you haven’t started your Etsy shop or really given your blog the attention it deserves, because you really do have great ideas.
Busy is a socially acceptable wall we hide behind. When we’re busy, we don’t have to make decisions. We allow other peoples’ needs and wants make the calls for us. We call that honor. We call that being responsible.
I call it being irresponsible.
We will forever be busy until we choose not to be. Until we set boundaries and ask ourselves what we really want.
I don’t have the money.
And? You don’t need a ton of money to start a business, not into today’s age. Chris Guillebeau wrote an entire NYT best-seller on how to start a business with $100 or less.
Finding a few hundred dollars here or there to start your business is totally possible.
But this once again requires us to make a decision of where we want to focus our time.
And the fear of failing being so real, we tell ourselves it’s pointless. I could spend that $200 on a new shirt to wow my date. She could be around for the rest of my life, but this business? I must be out of my mind! I have a great job with great benefits. Who am I kidding?
Yourself. You’re kidding yourself.
Following your gut and your natural instinct is your path. Anything you do to stop yourself from that is a well-crafted, most times socially acceptable illusion.
I don’t know what I want to do
Ah, this one plagued me for years. Haunted me. Kept me awake at night and led to various panic attacks.
I was convinced I didn’t know what I wanted to do, when I had a solid, precise starting point.
What was that starting point?
Knowing what I didn’t want.
I knew what I DID NOT want in that exact moment and that was as good as any other life plan, but I was scared. I thought that until I knew exactly what I did want, it was foolish and irresponsible to quit my job or start something new.
But that’s not true. Saying no to one thing immediately invites other opportunities into your life.
Imagine you’re at a dating meet-up. Some guy is talking to you and you’re so not interested. You don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, but you KNOW this isn’t it. You can excuse yourself from talking to this guy and as your mind warns you, risk being alone the rest of the night.
Or you can continue talking to him.
You already know you don’t like him. If you stay with him, you will compromise for the rest of your time with him. Marriage, kids, the house. You began your relationship on a compromise of your values and desires, so what more can be expected?
But what you maybe don’t realize, is you’re the prettiest girl in the room…
That’s right. You are the pretty girl in the room. The second you pardon yourself from that man’s conversation, there will be 10 other people waiting to chat with you. They were, in fact, simply waiting for you to make yourself available.
The same goes with life and your business.
Knowing what you don’t want is just as good as knowing what you do want.
Top 3 tips smart people use to take action
So you know the most common reasons for not taking action (and we have all experience at least one, if not all three, of them). Maybe you realize there are areas in your life that you could spruce up. Now what?
Here are three ways to start taking action in your own life and business:
Find an accountability partner. This could be a mentor, a friend or a business partner. It can be in person or online. They need to be someone that is deeply interested in growing, is committed to positive change and facing the obstacles that come with entrepreneurship and has a positive outlook most days. Consider this the equivalent of a workout buddy for business. You should trust them, feel confident they have your best interests at heart and be willing to do a trial run to see if it’s a good fit. You don’t want to be stuck with someone for 6 months out of guilt when it’s not a good mix and not helping you in the way it should. Me and my friend Sophie have partnered to figure out how to help you take action and are putting together a free, in depth training for you folks! Click here to be notified of the free training and check out the testimonial from one of our beta-students below.
Agree to try ONE thing with that partner: Taking the attitude that this is just a test, agree to try ONE new thing with your accountability partner. Maybe it’s writing a blog post or telling a friend about your new idea. The goal is simply to try a piece of advice that you’ve been given (and trust) and hold each other accountable in making it happen.
Remember that we die. We are not immortal (at least I’m not). Steve Jobs said that death is one of the realest ways to get your ass in gear. And he died so young. What if he had said he was too busy, didn’t have the money and wasn’t sure about this whole computer thing? He may have died without ever creating Apple or Pixar. He could have been a “nobody”. But he was a somebody because of he didn’t sit back and let the world tell him who he should be and what he should do and what to put on his eggs for breakfast. Life is fragile folks. Get to to livin' or get to dyin'. It’s your choice.
What do you think? What do you think is the biggest obstacle to starting your business? Is it lack of time, lack of money or just not knowing what to do? Tell me in the comments below.
p.s. Next week there will be a chance to grab a FREE, 3-part series on growing your business. If you have had any fear around launching your business or promoting your work, you need to be there! Go here to sign up and be sure you’re notified! It won’t be around forever.
p.p.s. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can find a clear, direct, fun way to take action and create the life you want. Take a look at this experience from one of our students from our beta test:
“This course is the truth. It has fundamentally changed my life and how I approach not only the aspects of my business, but all aspects of my life. This is the stuff they don't teach you in B-school (not even in an M.B.A Program). Lauryn and Sophie teach what actually works. The ideas and strategies revealed will have an instant impact on how you and your business show up in the world. If you want the slight edge... you know, that somethin' you just can't put your finger on that makes you someone's gut choice to do business with, then take this course and join this community now. See you on the other side!” -- Theresa Campbell