we learn by taking action

“We learn by taking action and seeing whether it works or not.”

—Patrick Lencioni, Author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Image from Unsplash by Rawpixel

In the book BOLD – How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World, authors Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler point out key strategies to achieve breakthrough results.

It seems that most innovative and pioneering organizations and people use a form of rapid experimentation and iterations to come up with amazing products and services. Those products and services eventually come into our lives just like a delivery from Amazon.

One example is the process Google X (or just “X”) uses to support their prolific product development. Their “Never Fail to Fail” innovation principles use this rapid iteration process to fail frequently, fail fast, and most importantly, fail forward.

EXERCISE:

How can you increase your level of action and experimentation to create far more innovative solutions to better your world?

Pick up a copy of BOLD to examine many other ideas to make a far bigger dent in your own universe.

“Opportunities are seldom labeled.”

“Opportunities are seldom labeled.”

—John A. Shedd, 19th Century American author and professor

For most of my life, I have been fascinated by the subject of personal and professional success.

I’ve read hundreds of books, attended dozens of seminars and conferences, and can hardly count the number of blog posts, podcasts, and TED talks I’ve explored.

In his book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker digs into the science of success, to mess a bit with the conventional and unconventional wisdom on this subject.

One seemingly universal tenet of success does, however, point to the idea of taking massive action and trying many things along the way to stir up far more possibilities and opportunities to pursue.

EXERCISE:

To what degree are you waiting or being too passive, hoping for an opportunity to reveal itself?

Where would taking far more action and trying many more things help you bark up and climb the right trees for you?

Don’t just go with the flow

“Don’t just go with the flow, take some dares through the rapids.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a person standing on a rickety wood bridge over rapids

Image from Unsplash by Benjamin Davies

If your life were a movie or TV show, how likely is it that it would be a blockbuster everyone talks about?

Mine would probably not be a big hit with most people. When I ask people who know me best to describe me, some words that pop up often include: dependable, disciplined, reliable, steady, cooperative, honest, loyal, and friendly.

Being a “Steady Eddie” has served me well, and I consider myself very happy with my reasonable, predictable life.

On the other hand, there are many displays in my office of my favorite quote: “When patterns are broken, new worlds will emerge.” This thought constantly reminds me to keep checking in to see where I am committed to something bigger, better, or just different from “going with the flow.” It’s at these times I periodically jump into the fast-moving or riskier waters of life, and go for it. It’s interesting to note that a high percentage of these times are associated with some of my most memorable and significant accomplishments.

EXERCISE:

What is one important area of your life in which it is time to jump into the rapids and be a bit more daring?

Even though the future seems far away it is actually beginning right now

“Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.”

—Mattie J.T. Stepanek, late American child poet & agent of peace

image of Mattie Stepanek with Oprah Winfrey

Image of Mattie Stepanek from oprah.com

What is the best time to plant a tree? If you’ve heard this question before, you know the answer is something on the order of, “25 years ago.”

The typical follow-up question to this riddle is, “What is the next best time to plant a tree?” The answer is, of course, “Today!”

Those of us who desire a more fruitful future continually look for and take the next step that will begin or continue the journey. In this way, we can realize the future that may initially seem far away.

EXERCISE:

What specific seeds will you plant within your community efforts today? Better yet, what will you do right now to make this possible future a reality?

Intent reveals desire

“Intent reveals desire. Action reveals commitment.”

—Steve Marboli, American Behavioral Scientist

Image of Intention + Action = Achievement meme

Intention plus action: they are a formidable pair. Together, they have been associated with extraordinary achievements that have moved the world. Take a look around at past, current, and some of the upcoming quantum leaps we are capable of, and try not to be amazed.

On the other hand, when these two qualities stand alone or are completely missing, progress seems to limp along, stop, or even regress.

EXERCISE:

Where would summoning your most desired intentions and most committed actions help you realize even more of what you wish to achieve in your personal and professional life?

In the arena of human life the honors

“In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.”

—Aristotle, ancient Greek philosopher and scientist

Image of Aristotle

Image from classicalwisdom.com

Take out a piece of paper and list your very best qualities. Ask yourself what others in your personal and professional worlds would add to this list given your modest and humble nature.

Create a second list of qualities you most admire in those around you that may not have made it onto your first list.

Rate yourself on the level of action you demonstrate regarding those qualities, on a 1-10 scale.

EXERCISE:

What would be the value and benefit to you and those around you if you upgraded or shared even more of your best qualities with your various communities?

What action will you take today to realize the difference you intend to make?

Do the Best You Can

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

—Maya Angelou, late American poet, author, and civil rights activist

The process of coaching kicks many areas of life into a higher gear, given its experiential and interactive nature. Regardless of whether we are a senior citizen or infants, we all interact with the world, receive feedback, and then determine how to proceed in the future.

Through its emphasis on self-awareness, constructive feedback, and experiential learning, coaching expedites this process. It allows individuals and organizations to know more and do better at a more robust rate.

EXERCISE:

How and where can you do your best in a more intentional learning environment? How would the assistance of a teacher, mentor, or coach help you do and be better every day?

Rise above the little things

“Rise above the little things.”

—John Burroughs, 19th Century American essayist

Have you heard of the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff?

There is a companion workbook to help you put many of the techniques and strategies from the book into practice.

I suggest a three-step process to help you rise above the little things that often bring us all down:

EXERCISE:

Step One: Conduct a 5-10 minute inventory of the “little things” that hold you back, personally or professionally. A list of 3-5 in each category is a good start.

Step Two: Clarify the specific benefits or desired future possible if these pesky or intolerable issues were handled.

Step Three: Summon the courage, fortitude, and grit to become a bigger, more capable version of yourself. Take the necessary action and/or shift your perspective to have many of these “little things” fade away.

Feel free to reply to this post and let me know how things go.

Something that will inch you closer

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.”

—Doug Firebaugh, home-based business consultant

Image of a one-inch ruler

If you are reading this post in the morning, I hope it inspires you to take a particular action or two to improve yourself and your world.

Select a single area of focus in which the effort and hopeful outcome will bring a big smile to your face when you rest your head on your pillow tonight.

Inching closer to your personal and professional goals reminds me of what some people call the “One Percent Rule.” This rule encourages us to strive for a one percent improvement on some worthy task or objective.

EXERCISE:

In what area can and will you provide that extra one percent to inch you closer to a better tomorrow?

It is easy to sit up and take notice

“It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action.”

—Al Batt (humorist)

image from Unsplash by William Iven

How active are you on social media? How many hours do you spend observing and interacting with the folks in your personal and professional communities?

What percent of your time is spent on content consumption, where you sit up and log into other people’s efforts?

What percent of the time are you getting up and taking action to create content and move the needles in your worlds?

EXERCISE:

Where would shifting the percentages from consumption to production cause others to sit up and notice, perhaps even taking greater action in their own lives?