“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Walt Disney
I recently met a very interesting individual at a family dinner. Over the course of our meal and nearly an hour of time after that, he told us his stories of adventure in Alaska and Canada. He has encountered grizzlies, rough seas, deadly weather conditions, and everything in-between. I had many questions and could have listened for another two hours had we had the time.
I love to hear stories of great accomplishments, survival, and overcoming obstacles, especially by those who lived them. I find myself considering the mindset held by the storyteller and wonder if I had been in their shoes would I have done the same. There’s just something very intriguing about those who do rather than those who do not. I suppose I simply enjoy learning from people of action.
There is a quote that reads “Dead last is greater than did not finish which trumps did not start.” To accomplish anything great or small, one must apply effort. Words alone do not create results, action must be applied. The Apostle John said, “Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18). James said, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22). And later on in his letter he said, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18). We have all heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” Guess what, actions speak much louder than words. I’m sure we’ve heard this one too, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” And how do they know you care? Because there is some accompanying action that shows you care.
I believe God gives inspiring ideas, innovative ideas to those who dare to dream. I’ve listened to people in my life share great ideas with me (and I’ve had my share of them as well) yet never did anything with them. I’ve been involved with various committees, volunteer groups, and work projects, and there are no shortage of good ideas. Yet what is lacking, are people with the internal fortitude to take these ideas, create a plan of action, and then ACT upon the plan. In my business, we refer to this action step as the “Do” step of the “Plan, Do, Check, Adjust” process.
Do you have a dream? Do you have something you want to do or accomplish? Perhaps you have an innovative idea? You can think about it, talk about it, even put together an elaborate plan to accomplish it (which is the beginning of taking action) but until you actually take the steps of implementing and doing the plan, nothing will ever be accomplished. It remains true, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step,” Lao Tzu.
So why don’t people get out and do? What is it that prevents people from being people of action? Perhaps the greatest hindrance is fear. One of the most inspiring men of action is Tim Marks. In his book Voyage Of A Viking, he writes, “…fear can be paralyzing if left unattended. It can hold you back from going after what you want in life. It can cause you to talk yourself out of some of the greatest rewards that life has to offer. And the only antidote to fear is action. Action erases fear.”
Nearly every wrestling match I ever competed in I had “butterflies.” There was always a sense of anxiety and perhaps even fear. I would be nervous especially if the other wrestler had really cool shoes (fear often makes no sense). Yet as soon as the whistle blew, the fear, anxiousness, and butterflies were gone. Action erased fear. One warm, summer day during my college years, some friends and I went to the local reservoir to jump off some cliffs. I remember standing on the edge of an 80 foot cliff scared to near paralysis. Oh the thoughts that ran through my head. But as soon as I made the decision to jump, the thoughts went away along with the feeling of fear. I’ve done a fair share of rock climbing in my days. The same thing applied. With every new step, every new handhold, and every next movement, fear was erased. Did fear try to return? Yes, and so I would apply more action to overcome each attack of fear.
The same principle applies to anything we do. Yes, put together a plan. Be smart about launching out on a new business venture. Be sure you learn from experts that know everything there is to know about sky diving. Prepare yourself for the inevitable obstacles and problems that arise with going against the status quo. But then DO. Attack the plan by being a doer. Truly, nothing great or small was ever accomplished without action. Any action towards a noble cause is still better than no action at all. A car in motion is much easier to steer than one sitting still.
So let me ask again, is there something you want to accomplish? Is there something you want to do? Have you put together a business plan that is collecting dust in some file cabinet somewhere? Do you want to leave a legacy? Start doing. Whatever it is you want to accomplish in life, just remember, action is required.