Doing something when you are scared is not comfortable. It’s not easy. And it’s not natural.
1) People respect doers.
How true is this? Taking action, doing something consistently, day in and day out is respectable. And also personally, you increase your level of productivity when doing something, mostly something you love.
2) Actions leads to competency, which leads to confidence, which leads to more competency. Rinse and repeat.
This is the Confidence-Competence Loop, a feed-forward cycle where your ability to take action gives you the confidence to continue to take more. The fastest way to jump into the loop is to do anything.
3) You can objectively investigate to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Taking action is essentially troubleshooting. If you take the emotion out of trying, then the outcomes you attain can be assessed clinically and usefully. Think about it — it’s the labels we put on the outcomes that have us scared: “This happened and that means I suck,” or “What if this happens, and it seals my fate as a failure?” Um, aren’t these labels our choices? Don’t we have a say in how we perceive a mess-up, obstacle or struggle? Just because we experience a failure doesn’t mean we are a failure. In fact, most successful people have failed 10 times more than they’ve succeeded. It’s so cliche.
“Just make more decisions. They don’t have to be the right ones, but make more of them and you’ll learn.” ~Seth Godin
4) You get super comfy with failure, and it builds your resiliency.
Once you fail once or twice, you get used to it and see it as an opportunity to broaden your horizon.
5) MORE action happens … and it compounds.
When you start taking action, everything else happens. All the next steps happen. But you can’t get to those next steps without going through step #1. Which is really hard. It takes a lot of effort and you’re not making much visible progress, which of course makes persistence even harder. But at some point, little by little, you reach the top, and roll the boulder over the peak. Then, everything else starts happening. The effort you put in way back starts working for you. There’s momentum and all the good will and work you put in earlier begins compiling. It’s the “compound effect” via Darren Hardy (incredible book BTW, ‘The Compound Effect’). So take solace in the fact that at some point, your efforts pay off and they actually exponentiate.
6) You get over procrastination and perfectionism.
Like Jeff Walker says, “Perfectionism is an excuse to justify procrastinating.” When you start taking action, you get really good at not giving a shit if it’s perfect. You see the greater value in just acting, because you know that you can always figuring out the pieces on the fly. You can always put out fires as you go. This practice also lends itself well toward building your self-trust. You may not be able to predict outcomes, but you can always rely on yourself to work through whatever happens as a result of those actions.
7) You give others permission to try, too.
This comes down to relatability. Have you ever seen someone you know have a success? Maybe do something that you have always wanted to do? And since you “knew them way back when,” it’s easier to picture their trajectory being yours too? Because you are the same. We all are. We all have the same opportunity to choose what we do next, beginning from our current spot. Every single person who is successful at something started off not being successful at it. And when you act, and make moves, others can see themselves doing it too. And furthermore, you’ll likely have the opportunity to mentor someone who comes along and wants to take action the way you did — which is an incredibly fulfilling thing for both you and them!
8) It gives you an opportunity to own your values and take a stand in a bigger way.
Action commits you, doesn’t it? Which on one hand can be scary because it usually means more responsibility and accountability — one reason we may actually fear success. But on the other hand, what an opportunity to show others, but more importantly affirm to yourself the things that you stand for? When you act, you’re drawing a line in the sand. You’re putting your chips down. This is incredibly empowering! Remember, the first decision is always the hardest. Once you make that first decision, after that it’s just a series of decisions because you’ve committed to a specific path. Follow it, own it, honor it.
9) It teaches you to be proactive, instead of reactive in your life.
There’s immense power in just deciding. There is power in making simple decision, ANY decision. It sets your intentions, and it puts you in the driver’s seat of your life — being proactive, and creating, rather than playing the victim and letting things “happen to you.”
This is a possibility mindset (as opposed to a preventative mindset). And you consciously choose your perspective every day, every moment. Only one of them serves you.
10) You train yourself to stay open to outcomes, and not attached to them.
The key here is that we can never predict outcomes, but we can always, ALWAYS control how we perceive the outcome. Think about it. Has there ever been a time in your life when things didn’t go as planned and you struggled? You can probably look back on that time now and say, “Geez, that was tough, but it was for the best. I’m grateful for that experience.” We all have instances of that. This is a good thing. It reminds us that all struggles are transient and like Byron Katie says, “We never get more than we can handle.” Whoa, how hard is this to practice?? But in my experience, it’s true. You are enough. You can figure it out. You are powerful. You can adjust. You can learn and improve. You can endure. And when you stay open to outcomes, and not attached to them, you can see all the amazing opportunities and insights you might not have experienced without the tough stuff.