Take The One Action

a work in progress. I'll call it "Salutation"

a work in progress. I’ll call it “Salutation”

It is true that, at the end of the day, we are our own best obstacle. Nothing is better at blocking meaningful action toward a dream than our personal story of doubt and fear. It comes in many forms, like, “Who am I to think that…,” or “If I only had some time I’d…,” or “If I only knew how to start, I’d….”

Lately, I’m fascinated with a specific form of the best-personal-obstacle canon: why do we take any action EXCEPT the one action that matters. For instance, I hear often statements like this: “I want to be a writer, but….” Anything following the statement of desire is a self-generated obstacle. There’s not enough time. No one will like what I write. Fill in the blank. The single action that matters is to write. Sit down and write. That is how one becomes a writer. And, if the writing happens everyday, one will become a better and better writer. Anything else is a well-placed, self-generated obstacle.

The question is, “Why do we need our obstacles?” What does placing a boulder in the road do for us? There is an obvious answer: it keeps us from the scary prospect of fulfilling our dreams. Fulfilling a dream requires showing up and expressing a personal truth. Personal truth is, well, personal, and will always meet resistance because there are billions of personal truths walking around out there.

The refusal to take the single-action-that-matters applies to the everyday. How many times have you swam in a pool of overwhelm rather than pick up the phone and make the call that you know you need to make? Once, when I ran a theatre company, I knew I needed to fire an employee but I didn’t want to do it. She was a nice person. She wasn’t doing her job. We had countless meetings discussing why she wasn’t taking the one single action that mattered (doing her job). And, so, I didn’t take the one single action that mattered (letting her go). When I finally mustered the courage to fire her, she thanked me. She wanted to do something else with her life but didn’t have the courage. When I fired her, I pushed her out of the nest. I became the circumstance that pushed her into the one action that mattered.

I think that’s the point of not taking the one action that will actually matter. We allow circumstance to decide for us. We delay until the bill collector comes or until the boss fires us or until we are sitting in a rocking chair telling the story of why we never had time to write. If only….

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

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