The Power of “Doing”

Procrastination, Analysis Paralysis, lack of confidence, and other maladies of the same strain strike us all from time to time and stop us in our tracks. I, myself, chronically suffer from all the above. But I have learned a trick to get myself going again and, simple as it may sound, it works: Take Nike’s famous advice and “Just Do It.”

Just “Doing” is an incredibly powerful cure. “Well duh” you say, “if I knew what to do or how to go about it I wouldn’t just be sitting here paralyzed now would I?” Ah, but that’s the key—you don’t have to know what to do or how to go about it to start taking action. Paralysis often comes from the fear of failure, the fear of an uncertain outcome, or the fear of not making the “right” decision. But you don’t have to commit to an end result; only a beginning.

Inaction feeds on itself; the longer you stall, the harder it will be to get unstuck. Action, on the other hand, creates stimulation; any action at all is better than inaction. So just put pen to paper and start writing, or toss a coin to make a decision (your gut will likely tell you if the coin is right). One thing I recall learning in a college psychology class many years ago is that no matter how uncertain one is about making a decision, once made, you tend to form a very strong belief that the decision was the right one.

I attended a workshop several years ago about putting together effective presentations. I’d wanted some tips to help me prepare for a presentation I was going to be delivering at work. When the moderator directed us to begin writing down all of our ideas for our individual presentations, my immediate thought was “but wait a minute, I’m not ready to begin writing—I haven’t thought about it enough—I don’t have any solid ideas…” Before I could finish the thought, he admonished us not to think about it, just write! He responded to further bewildered stares from the audience by advising us not to worry about spelling, grammar, structure or anything else, just write! So I did. And though I started out slowly and grudgingly, I found that the words did begin to flow, especially because I was not worrying about spelling, grammar, or producing a finished product all at once.

I think about that day in the workshop whenever I do get stuck, whether its starting to write a résumé for a difficult client or deciding what to write for my first blog post. Speaking of which, here is what I actually wrote as the opening line to this very post:

So here goes, my very first blog post on my brand new website. Hmmm, what shall I write about? What is a blog anyway? What are other people blogging about and where are they getting their ideas? Maybe I’ll just put this off until later…

These were my exact thoughts as I sat down to write; thus, the topic for this blog came to me.

Mr. Presentation guru isn’t here to kick my butt into gear every day, so I have to do it myself. If you’re reading this blog right now, I’m living proof that it’s working!

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