In Action, Change, Leaders

“We generate fears while we sit.  We overcome them by action.” – Dr. Henry Link

Here we are again.  It’s the first week of January, and I feel like I should write something about it being an opportunity for a fresh start, or a time to begin anew, or a time to be re-energized.  About how this is the time to try new things and find new ways to take advantage of our opportunities.

Unfortunately, that’s not really how it feels for most people.  For most people it feels like the movie Groundhog Day.  You go to bed at night, wake up, and it’s the same thing all over again, just like the day before.  People are tired and stressed, and when we’re tired and stressed, it’s virtually impossible for us to be at our best.

There’s no magic bullet for that.  Certainly our self-talk has an impact, what kinds of things we choose to think about have an impact, which people we spend our time with has an impact, etc.  I’m sure everybody reading this is aware of all that and trying to manage all of those things in a positive way.

The problem is that too often, we’re not really doing anything to manage those things.  We get tired and stressed and overwhelmed and our response is to freeze.  We end up in a state of not doing anything because we can’t decide what to do and we’re too tired to do it anyway.

The best way to overcome that state is to start moving, and the best way to start moving is with baby steps.  Don’t think about the 400 things you could do, or the giant mountains that you have to climb.  Think about the actions that are relatively easy and don’t take much time, and start there.  What very simple thing could you do today before you go home for the night?  Do that one simple thing and be happy about it.  Tomorrow, pick one more thing and do that.  And so on.

Don’t let the sheer volume of choices and options and opportunities and challenges lock you up.  Pick something small and get started.  After you’ve done a few things, you’ll start to feel momentum (Isaac Newton wasn’t an idiot).  You’ll gain confidence, and you’ll set the example for others in your organization.  That momentum will build until eventually you’re really getting some serious stuff done.

I’m not suggesting all your problems will be instantly solved.  What I am suggesting is that maybe as you start a new year, following the two of the craziest years in our lifetimes with more to come, that your goal isn’t a specific accomplishment or metric.  It’s that you, and your organization, are moving.  It’s at least a place to start.

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