taking action

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

“After I get my ducks in a row, then I’ll be able to…”

Not true. Not because you aren’t capable of taking care of the niggling little details that seem to keep you from doing the hard stuff, but because you know you can handle those details, you only want to handle those details. Your ducks, I suppose.

You don’t dive in an do the hard stuff because you aren’t sure that you can. You don’t know what might happen. That’s why you focus on the ducks, as if the ducks actually make a difference to anything.

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How you feel about it is beside the point.

Early in my career, I was in a room, training new franchise owners about sales and marketing. I had owned my own franchise and did quite well, but I liked to bring in other successful franchisees to talk about their experiences for added insight and perspective. This time, it was Kathy’s turn. One of the most experienced and successful franchisees in the system, I could always count on Kathy to speak her mind, and often teach me something in the process.

Deep into our little “fireside chat,” a new franchisee broached the topic of feeling uncomfortable with getting out there and marketing one’s business. So I asked Kathy, “There must be things you don’t like about running your business. How do you deal with that?”

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What is “inevitable?”

Dreaming is nice. Planning is better. But in the end, action is the only thing that counts.

The most effective people are the ones who understand that and routinely, without fail, take action. They don’t waste energy on what they should  do or what they can’t do– they focus on what’s necessary and make it certain to happen; unavoidable. 

This is not to say that for the enlightened few, “success” is inevitable. Perhaps better than anyone, they know it’s not. Elon Musk did not even believe Tesla would be successful. What he did know is that he would take action on it. Whether his electric car company would compete in the marketplace was far too big an outcome to determine with any kind of certainty. As an engineer, quite rationally, he didn’t think it had a good chance. And yet, he started.

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