Every step we take doesn’t lead to a mountain top.
The world simply isn’t built that way.
I found this out the hard way.
I often find waiting extremely painful, yet I used to spend much of my time waiting. Sure, I would take a few actions, but then I would sit around waiting to see if the few actions I took would bear fruit. I would wait for this evidence of fruit before I took more actions. For example, ten years ago, I submitted a few of my poems to poetry journals with high hopes they would accept them and publish them. For these efforts, I got rejection letters from some journals and didn’t hear back at all from others. I took this lack of response as “evidence” I was on the wrong track and stuffed all my poems in a big green tub.
Have you ever waited for the perfection of getting a positive result before you moved forward with another action?
This habit seems rational enough. After all, we want to act in such a way that we obtain the results we want. If one set of actions aren’t gaining us the results we desire, it seems logical to move on to another set of actions.
The complication with this mindset is a single action or even several actions, in reality, often don’t produce the results we expect.
If we consistently quit taking actions when our initial results don’t appear promising, we will likely find ourselves jumping from one thing to another to another and getting very frustrated along the way.
To counter this habit of jumping ship, if we don’t get quick results, we have the opportunity to train ourselves to act consistently in the direction we want to go. This can be very challenging because, if you are anything like me, we often crave the satisfaction and confidence boost of those quick results.
Consistent actions are the cornerstone of our learning and growth.
Last week I took action and emailed a number of high school administrators about public speaking services I offer. The only problem was I spelled principal, “principle.” Luckily, one principal emailed back and told me of my mistake. Now I know. By taking action and evaluating the results, we learn to take better actions.
Our actions are some of our best teachers.
If we want to move forward in life,
It’s imperative that we act and act consistently.
Eight years ago, my Levity Life Coach, Katherine West, told me, “Jason, you should give a TED Talk,” I had no idea who this TED guy was, but I knew if Katherine was excited about me meeting him, then I was too! This coming Saturday, I finally get to “meet him”. I’m giving a TEDx Talk in Texas. In many ways, it’s a talk eight years in the making, on the importance of doing our imperfect best. I am thrilled by this opportunity and it seems like a natural next-step for me. I’m not sure that would have been the case were I handed the same opportunity eight years ago.
That dialogue with my coach was almost a DECADE ago. If I had quit my vision of becoming a professional speaker with the confidence to give a TED talk after only taking a handful of actions, I simply never would have been given this opportunity. Instead, I would still be a guy ashamed of his voice, who thought he received a bum deal because his umbilical cord became kinked at birth.
Train yourself to act consistently.
May your actions form a train taking your life to places more brilliant than you ever imagined.
UPDATE: The TEDx SugarLand (Texas) Talk, scheduled for this Sat. 8/26 has been postponed until September 30th because of a hurricane headed towards Houston. Our good thoughts go out to the people of Houston and surrounding areas as they cope with this most unexpected and imperfect development.