One Strong Predisposition of Successful People
“Do something. Do anything. You don’t need to know exactly what you want now. You will figure things out as you go along. It’s important to do something” answered Andy Nulman, founder of the Just For Laughs (world’s largest comedy festival). He was answering my question on how to figure out what I want to do with my career.
That advice stuck in my mind and has been a helpful guide for me so far. I even passed it on to many younger people I worked with.
I remembered this advice while working with a group of executives on a project.
I have been working with a lot of accomplished executives and entrepreneurs. They varied in age, cultural background, education, interests, personality types, religions, beliefs, industries, and in many other ways.
Despite all the differences, I noticed they all had one thing in common…
They all have a strong disposition to define and start the next step. They did that whether they had a plan or not. They have this fanatical obsession with moving on the next step.
As I thought about it, I realize that this is a great habit because it:
– Creates momentum: getting initial results gets people involved excited and gives a sense of progress, even if small. This builds physical and emotional momentum.
– Gets commitment: the more difficult and vague the project is, the more likely we (humans) are to procrastinate and avoid it. Taking the first step commits you and those around you to build on that momentum.
– Rallies people: when you get the ball rolling and start getting results from “first impact”, the people involved (team, customers, partners, etc) will start to rally around each other with a attitude of “we’re in this together”.
– Helps steering: you might experience initial success or early failure. Either way, these first results help you adapt and navigate closer to success. That is worth much more than endless hours of thinking and planning based on assumptions.
– Opens doors to new opportunities: sometimes beginning and showing early results exposes an opportunity that wasn’t there before. You might get customer feedback that gives you an edge. It might put you on the radar of someone interesting. For example, when I started ThinkDoBusiness a year ago, I started getting interest from people to work on projects that I never knew about. My blog got me on their radar, exposed what I know, and helped create these opportunities
– Starts the improvement: The great thing about knowing what problems you have is that… emm… you know what they are. This means you can start fixing them and improving right away. This goes well with the advice to fail early, fail fast, and fail often.
– Gives credibility: I remember my mother and aunt were visiting me at my new apartment years back. They were suggesting a better way for me to organize my furniture in my apartment. So when I got up and moved them around, my aunt commented with a pleasant surprise “wow, you dknt waste time! You get things done right away.” When people see you as someone who gets things done, you get credibility.
I used to spend too much time planning things before taking my first action. I learned to focus more on the next step and start on it while I develop the big plan.
So, if you don’t already do so I encourage you to ensure you identify the next step(s) for your next project and/or meeting. If you’re working in a team, make sure you have clear ownership of who will do what and when to expect it.