In the short term, weather is unpredictable. In the longer term, it’s going to rain. Someday. Change is actually more predictable. If you do nothing, nothing will happen. If you do something, something will happen.
[quote]The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.[/quote]
That’s not actually the real definition, but that’s another topic altogether (see below).
You hear people, if you listen, waiting for change every day:
- I’m going to lose weight.
- I’m quitting smoking as soon as …
- Business should pick up soon.
- Let me just clear out my inbox first.
- I need to hire someone.
- That’s on my list.
- Five more minutes.
- Yeah, I need to get on that.
If you’re waiting for it to rain, you’re in luck. It will rain someday. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next month even, but if you persevere, it will happen. Nice. You don’t have to actually do anything, just wait.
For something to happen that’s different from the way it has been happening, there needs to be an action that will cause a reaction. You want to lose some weight? You’ll need to exercise and/or eat less. You can’t expect to lose weight by not changing something along the continuum of actions that brought you to the present situation. Change is easy that way: it’s more predictable. If you keep walking in a straight line, you’ll get from Point A to Point B. If you detour, you may no longer get to Point B. Eat less? Lose weight. Eat less bread but eat more pasta, you’re detouring. Simple as that.
When are you going to take action?
My day job has been overwhelming me for years. Years. Plural. To prevent me bitching and moaning for 47 paragraphs, let me illustrate in bullets. It’ll be quicker and less painful for both of us that way. In fact, this is an excellent exercise in defining your goal (and lack of action towards it).
Write down all of your excuses for not taking action:
- I have too much work.
- Clients are banging down my door, I’m too busy.
- It’s OK, if I just work all night, I can catch up.
- If I just wake up earlier, I’ll get ahead.
- If I systematize my design procedures, I’ll be more efficient.
- I’m a smart, resourceful guy, I can handle it.
- If I spend the next month living in my inbox, I can get it to zero.
- Next year will be better.
- It’ll die down in the summer.
- I’ll die in the summer.
- I should just work at Trader Joe’s.
Ouch. When I put it into bullet points like that, it’s pretty obvious. But I’ve had people help with business. I’ve had good help, I’ve had experienced help, old, young, peppy, sleepy, not-really-helping help. I’ve been there, done that. But have I? I think I dance around the topic, but I’m scared to make a commitment. I’m scared to make the change in the path because I’m not sure I’ll get to Point B. I’m not even talking about a W2, a “real” employee, I’m talking about bringing someone on part-time or full-time but who works for me. Someone who could get to know me, get to know how I work, where I need help, how it’s going to be most efficient. Yep, that’s what I need to do. That’s the change, or at least a change, that would be the action that brings on change. I don’t know exactly what that change will be, but it will be one thing for certain: different than it is today.
Write down all of the potential positive effects this change might bring.
- More time with my family.
- More time (and energy) to work on the business instead of in the business.
- Less stress.
- Better client service and maintenance.
- New products and services (that have always been too low on the To Do list).
- Better products (as I have more time to focus on them).
- Who knows what else!
I missed that. When was the action starting? Today?
Oh right. Action. Real action. Do-something-now-that’s-not-like-before action. Let me take a quick check of my excuses bullet points above. Yeah, been through all those. Now let’s analyze the possible benefits of the action to cause this change. Could it be any more clear? Could today be the day? Let me check the calendar for “someday.” Yeah, it’s not there. Maybe I need a special calendar. Maybe I need to make my own calendar. Maybe I need to take action. Maybe I need to do it today.
What was that sound? A low rumble like a loud firework in the distance? That was the sound of change. Big change. After whining and thinking about it for the past at least three or four years, I just paid $395 to Virtual Staff Finder find me a virtual assistant. I did it. I actually did it.
What’s going to happen? How is this going to change? I have no idea. But I know one thing, it’s not going to be the same as the past. This is the definition of change: it’s not the same as before. It starts today. I just did it. I took the first step.
- Possible: expect reaction with no action
- Impossible: reaction with no action
- Repossible: act
The insanity “definition” is actually quite a puzzle to track down! It’s one of those quotes that gets attributed to lots of people and bits and pieces here and there. More on the trail to where it came from here.