Friday, July 1, 2016

Please Don't Mistake Ideas For Action

I'm a documentary junkie.  I can watch a documentary on almost anything and enjoy it.  Last month, I watched a great series that documented major events in the 1960's and 1970's.  One episode chronicled the Civil Rights struggle in the 60's.  Most of it centered around Dr. Marin Luther King Jr and the incredible effectiveness he and his movement had in mobilizing people for their cause.  In more than a few cases, a march that began with 40 people in one city would end with 10,000 at its end, a couple cities down the line.  The amount of action taken to push that idea of civil rights to fruition was amazing. As I watched, I had two thoughts.  They were consecutive, but came so close, they almost felt simultaneous.

  • Thought #1: "If that movement was happening today, it would explode 10-fold due to the connectivity social media gives us." 
  • Thought #2: "No, it would probably get an explosion of chatter on social media that would have very little action attached to it.  In today's culture, it would be likely to fail."

And that's the problem.  In a culture where we can like and share and copy and paste ideas, even to the point that they go viral (whatever that means), we begin to believe we've actually done something.  But, in reality, we've done nothing.  Nolan Bushnell, found of both ATARI and Chuck E. Cheeses's, said it best when he said, "Everyone who's ever taken a shower has an idea.  It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference."

I'm a big fan of connectivity and social media.  It's extremely likely that you're reading this because you were lead here via social media. What I'm not a fan of is our tendency to mistake ideas for action.  On one hand, because of our high level of connectivity, it's never been easier for you to take your dream and make it a reality.  On the other hand, because of our high level of connectivity, it's never been easier for you to take your dream and feel like you're making it a reality . . . but all you're doing is talking about it.

I've been guilty of this.  For four years, I've been saying I'm going to write a book and start a coaching business.  Four years is a long time to think and talk about an idea with no real action.  Late last year, I got serious and set some goals. Six months later, my book manuscript is more than 50% written, my coaching website is more than 50% built, I've got a Life-Plan retreat for men scheduled and open for registration later this year, and I'm pursuing ongoing coaching-training down three distinct avenues.  What changed?  Ideas became plans.  Plans became action. It's a series of simple, step-by-step decisions.  

So, my hope for you is simple.  I hope you won't mistake ideas for action.  I do hope you have big ideas. But even more than that, I hope you take your ideas and make them a reality.  Think of it this way.  There are people in this world who need you to share who you are with them.  Maybe it's time to build some action plans for those ideas.  If you need someone to help you on that journey, send me a quick email and let me know. Nothing would make me happier than to help you find your future and help you make your dreams a reality.

By the way, Seth Godin wrote a brilliant little post about what he calls the "Saying/Doing Gap".  Take 60 seconds and read it.  It will be worth your time.

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