Don’t Just Plan – You Must Take Action

There are aspects of my work life that I find very easy and pleasant, and others where I’m conscious I have some real weaknesses. One of my greatest failings is that I enjoy learning about a new subject — a new technique, a new subject and I am a sucker for every career quiz. I prefer doing all of it much more than I enjoy getting down to work. If you are like me, here is the top advice for us. You and I must take ACTION!

I’m not sure exactly why I find it so hard to take action. I don’t think the pop-psych generalities are necessarily accurate in my case … I’m certainly not afraid of success, nor do I believe that I’m incapable of achieving good work.

Part of the problem, I believe, is that I like to fully understand something before I start working on it. I’m one of the mythical customers who actually reads the manual … I’ve never been willing to just jump in, get to work, and learn new software as I go. At least, not in a situation where the results actually matter; if I’m investing time and resources in order to have a better life, I don’t want to get things wrong. I joined the newsletter, it’s a truly awesome confidence boost.

This caution isn’t necessarily a bad trait, as I learned when I moved from print design to web. I spent my first year as a Web designer cleaning up the disastrous mess left by my predecessor, who built the corporate Web site before he’d learned the unbelievably complex software he was using (Lotus Domino, for any recovering tech-heads reading this).

Because “Domino boy” didn’t know what he was doing at the beginning stages of the project, the foundation of the site was fatally flawed … but too much had been invested to give up. He just kept piling bricks on sand.

However, one day he unexpectedly quit, landing the site in my lap. I immediately came up with a plan of action:

  • I spent 10 minutes reading the first paragraph of the Domino manual;
  • I forced myself away from the open window, through which I was about to plunge rather than keep reading;
  • then spent ten days running through a tutorial to teach myself Dreamweaver.
  • Once I knew what I was doing I rebuilt the site simply & beautifully from the ground up.

But when it comes to my attempts to take the action, hesitation is really getting in the way. There are so many challenges out there, and I’m reluctant to invest lots of time in any one thing before I know if it will pay off. But on the other hand, I understand that there’s no such thing as overnight success

Clearly, the answer isn’t to buy yet another online prep that will teach me how to succeed, I’m not short of those.
Instead, I need to choose a clear path and start moving down it. I thought I might have got it with Michael G.’s 20-20 Challenge, but rightly or wrongly I’m suspicious of whether it will work. I don’t want to divulge the “secret” since that seems unfair to Michael, but in broad terms I think I need to work on my confidence.