“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”

Walt Disney

I read this quote today as I was preparing a hand out for a leadership course I am running. I want to use the quote to introduce the action-planning document the participants are going to use so they can record their commitments and capture their learning.

No doubt you will have had the experience of attending a course and making promises about the things you are going to do differently. Then, when you get back to work, the 1001 emails that came in whilst you were on the course take priority and all your good intentions fall by the wayside. It is time to do something differently. Quit talking, start doing.

Doing is such a powerful verb. We can talk, we can discuss, we can think, plan and consider but doing implies action and getting things done.

From a personal perspective, I have been procrastinating when it comes to projects in my house and garden, much to my wife’s consternation. But then, last Wednesday, I picked up the phone and started doing. This resulted in 6 tons of gravel being delivered at 08.30 on Saturday morning, 15 barrow loads of concrete being mixed by me armed with a shovel and just 1 weekend later I have a bigger driveway in the form of a new parking area on a previously weed-filled nettle patch that I’d promised I was going to sort for the last year but never seemed to get around to. I stopped talking and started doing.

Similarly at work, I recently had a series of courses to plan, which I had put off for far too long; clients were emailing asking about progress and I was feeling overwhelmed. Then on Monday I started doing. Handouts are now written, programs designed, venues are booked and joining instructions for participants are sent out. The simple act of sitting down and doing means so much of my to do list is eliminated. I suppose that’s why it’s called a ‘to do’ list and not a ‘to think’ list.

Now, it makes sense that we should carefully consider what needs to be done. We should take time to think and reflect and most work projects require a certain amount of planning but the power of action, of doing, cannot be underestimated. I have recently found myself saying “in the absence of knowing what to do … just do something” and it has proven to be very productive; it has generated energy and motivation and I have begun moving in the right direction. Each job done is like a spring-board for the next one to follow. The dopamine rush of satisfaction feeds the energy to tackle the next item on the list and so bit by bit, step by step, I am achieving more.

So, as a call to action for you dear reader;

  • What have you been putting off?
  • What have you been procrastinating about?
  • What could you do right now that would start you moving in the right direction?

Take one small job, task or phone call and quit talking and begin doing!

You might just be amazed at your results.