“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you least expect it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”

“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you least expect it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”

—Charles F. Kettering, 20th Century American inventor and engineer

Image from Unsplash by Jose Aljovin

The average inventor produces about three patents in their lifetime. A prolific inventor produces around 15. Charles Kettering, who founded Delco and worked for General Motors from 1920 to 1947, was the holder of 186 patents.

He was clearly a person of action, not one to sit things out on the sidelines.

Another one of my favorite quotes from Kettering is:

“My Interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.”

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently stopped in your life?

Where are you sitting it out, hoping that things will miraculously improve on their own?

Where is it time to stand up and get going again so that you can stumble on something that will add greater meaning and satisfaction to your life?

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

—Vincent Van Gogh, 19th Century Dutch Painter

Image from vangoghmuseul.nl

During his lifetime Van Gogh created 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. Doing the math, you can see that during that period he averaged over two paintings per day. Imagine how many small brush strokes he used to create masterpieces such as Sunflowers- 1888, Café Terrace at Night- 1888, The Bedroom- 1888, Starry Night- 1889, and Irises- 1889.

EXERCISE:

Where and how are you placing your own series of small daily brush strokes on the canvas of your life to achieve and contribute your own greatness to your world?

“We often avoid taking action because we think, I need to learn more, but the best way to learn is often by taking action.”

“We often avoid taking action because we think, I need to learn more, but the best way to learn is often by taking action.”

—James Clear, author, entrepreneur, and photographer

Image from Unsplash by Ethan Elisara

Following a two-year career as a middle school science teacher in Philadelphia, I secured a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative with the Upjohn Company.

That’s right — in the early 80s I was a legal drug dealer, promoting Motrin for pain and arthritic conditions to physicians, over other meds available at the time.

My training was rigorous, with an initial one-month stint in chilly Kalamazoo, Michigan in January. The company — which is now part of Pfizer — was about a century old at the time and took great pride in preparing over 1,000 sales reps to be among the best in the industry.

Once our book learning was complete, we were sent out to work with our district managers, to get field experience meeting with real doctors, intending to influence them to prescribe our magic orange tablets.

In the beginning, my manager did most of the work, describing features and benefits of our medications over those of our competitors. Following a few such interactions, my manager, Stan Ershler, informed me that he had to leave. I indicated that I would head right home to continue my studies. He said, Absolutely not! Go out and find some more physicians to talk to — see what happens! I definitely could have used a pill for panic attacks at that time!

With great patience and a bit of tough love, I was out the door, diving in the deep end in my new career.

EXERCISE:

Where are you hesitating or procrastinating on taking action because you feel you need to learn more?

In what situation is taking action and getting in the game likely to be your best teacher?

“Do something about it!”

“Do something about it!”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Clark Van Der Beken

How often do you experience the feeling of being upset? Examine your world and note things that are not where they should be, based on your beliefs and expectations. How often do you point your finger and blame others for the situations and events that are not proceeding as you wish?

The act of observing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, can be troubling. Practicing our capacity for equanimity and accepting things as they are rarely satisfies us for long. We simply revert to seeing far too many things out of place.

Consider a recent day in which everything seemed right in your world. Think back to your levels of intentionality and efforts to move things forward. How many T’s did you cross? How many I’s did you dot?

EXERCISE:

Where is your world showing you a puzzle with some pieces missing? Where is it time to do something about it, bringing a better picture of your world into view?

 

“Action Precedes Passion.”

“Action Precedes Passion.”

—Bill Burnett & Dave Evans, Designing Your Life

Image from Unsplash by Ian Schneider

What are the things in life you love the most? What inspires you? What are you passionate about?

Asking these questions of anyone will likely lead to a highly engaging discussion with eyes wide open and perhaps some energetic and animated gestures.

How does one person find passion in fly fishing, while another finds it in preparing sushi?

Where and when did you first notice an initial interest in your passions?

How did this spark lead to the raging fires of engagement over time?

EXERCISE:

Take note of the early actions you and others took to get hooked on your current passions. Where might future actions and trying new activities generate a few more passionate pursuits in the years ahead?

“Go beyond the expected.”

“Go beyond the expected.”

—Author Unknown

Image from EmpireOnLIne

 

One of our family’s most beloved film series is Toy Story. We have seen most of the films multiple times. Now with our two-and-a-half-year-old grandson Weston we have many more exposures, including action figures and his Woody and Buzz Lightyear pajamas.

When asked to describe Buzz, virtually everyone can repeat his famous “To infinity and beyond” phrase with bold enthusiasm. It uplifts and motivates all of us to channel our own superpowers, do great things, and exceed our own current potential.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can you go well beyond the expectations others have for you in your personal or professional communities? What bold and significant actions can and will you take today to reach beyond your own perceived limits and exceed your own expectations?

What is your body of work? Focus on Cumulative Output

“What is your body of work? Focus on Cumulative Output.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Anupam Mahapatra

Do you or someone close to you use a FitBit or similar device to measure your daily steps? For many, getting 10,000 steps in each day can be an obsession.

In the past few years the standing desk and even the treadmill desk that rolls along at a slow pace have been introduced to help people increase their daily activity.

Beyond your daily physical activity, where and on what do you spend your days? What small, modest, daily efforts have you been accumulating to create your personal and professional body of work or life resumé?

EXERCISE:

Please reply to this post with a few of the worthy efforts that represent your body of work.

How have these actions become the foundation of the legacy you wish to offer the world?

I hope others in your various communities appreciate your efforts and that you fully enjoy the process and cumulative output.

“Take a massive baby step.”

“Take a massive baby step.”

—Liz Wiseman, Author Of Multipliers

Image from Unsplash by David Straight

There is something about oxymorons – such as the one presented in today’s quote – that appeals to me. A few that always get me thinking are:

  • Awful Good
  • Bittersweet
  • Crash Landing
  • Original Copy
  • Student Teacher
  • Working Vacation

And of course, my favorite: JUMBO SHRIMP.

Placing these contrary terms next to one another causes me to ponder life’s inherent conflicts and incongruities.

As a coach, I often encourage my clients to take the first steps toward their goals and objectives. Once they overcome inertia, the momentum of the first baby steps often lead to the next and then the next.

EXERCISE:

What area of your personal or professional life might call for a massive baby step?

What might life look like from where you stand once you do?

Consider seeking the help of a close friend, family member, mentor, or coach for added support.

Friday Review: Action

FRIDAY REVIEW: ACTION

What prompts you to take action? Here are a few action-related posts you may have missed.

 

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

 

 

 

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.”

 

 

 

“The problem with doing nothing is not knowing when you are finished.”

 

 

 

“Your fierce spirit and efforts will, in time, transform those boulders in your path into pebbles in the sand.”

“Your fierce spirit and efforts will, in time, transform those boulders in your path into pebbles in the sand.”

—Peg Streep, American author

Image from Unsplash by John Salzarulo

A respected fellow blogger, Rohan Ravi, who writes A Learning a Day, recently wrote a short commentary on the subject of values and virtues. His perspective was that although many of us espouse our values and heartfelt beliefs, quite often our actions do not fulfill these standards and become actual virtues.

EXERCISE:

Where is it most important for you to combine your fierce spirit with courageous actions in order to transform the boulders in your path into pebbles?

Who are the friends, colleagues, mentors, family members, or coaches that can support you in these efforts?