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Doing Something is nearly always better than doing nothing

By January 7, 2015Advice

action-man-figureI bang on a lot about reluctance to change, change management, taking control, having the courage to act. In the end to be successful at any endeavour, you need to DO something. When I was a kid, a popular toy for boys was Action Man, an English answer to the American G.I. Joe. I never quite got the idea of dressing up a doll to help me dream of a more exciting life, but he had lots of fans, and a whole host of stuff you could dress him up in, because this bloke was a “Man of Action”, and I certainly get that.

Doing SOMETHING is nearly always better than doing NOTHING. Even if the something turns out to be the wrong thing, the experience you gain will likely allow you to find the right thing to do. Doing nothing teaches us nothing. It was Thomas Edison who said ““I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” In most things in life and in business, we can’t know whether something will work until we try it, and if we don’t do the trying bit, the result is obvious.

For me there are only a few reasons why you can’t do something, and funnily enough, you CAN probably do something about all of them

1. You don’t know that something needs doing.

Put another way you don’t know you have a problem till you have a problem. A journey begins with a first step, and to take action you need to know that you need to take it. For me, action is only valuable if it is purposeful, rather than accidental; if we have committed to it, then done it; if it has happened because of us not to us.

2. You don’t know what to do

Not everybody knows everything about everything (funnily enough some people seem to think they do). Having identified that you need to do something, I guess the next question is what? Friends and family, colleagues and workmates, will all have suggestions, but the most difficult time for all of us is when we DO know what to do, we just don’t want to admit it, because we don’t like the thought of doing it.

3. You don’t know how to do it

You can nearly always ask even if it is only Dr Google. I have written elsewhere about the need to overcome fear of advice (link here), but it seems self evident that if you know you need to do something, you’ve worked out what it is that you need to do, but you don’t know how, you need to ask someone who does.

4. You don’t know when to do it.

For this last thing the answer is usually now. This really is the only answer when we know we need to do something, we know what to do, and we know how. Procrastination is a normal thing particularly when the action we need to take is difficult or uncomfortable.

As a father, an adviser, a husband, an employer, a professional, I am well acquainted with the need to take action. Like most people, I also have to struggle with the natural human tendency to remain in the comfort zone, to do nothing for the fear of consequences, to remain passive in order to avoid conflict. This is nearly always to my detriment.Action Man

In my work as an adviser I am consistently faced with the challenge of encouraging my clients to take the action that they need to take to get the results that they want, and to do it now. Very often people have overcome the four obstacles outlined above, and just need the nudge to get them going. If that’s your problem, give me a call, it really is time for you to act, or you can borrow someone’s Action Man doll and just pretend.

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