My friend John, an entrepreneur, said to me years ago: Action creates clarity.
I’ve passed this nugget along to many people who are just sitting on an idea, afraid to take action, worried they’ll get it wrong. Once you take action, you might feel like you’re stumbling or making mistakes, but what you’re doing is gathering information so you can adapt, fill in the gaps, improve, build and grow.
I found the phrase actually originates not with my friend John, but with Peter Sheahan, in a book called FL!P. Sheahan talks about microplanning and overplanning, researching incessantly and planning and strategizing to the point where we’re procrastinating and practically paralyzed.
“[Y]ou can’t plan your way to greatness. There is nothing more valuable for your business (and for your life and career) than to do away with your commitment to microplanning everything and to let loose with some bold and courageous action” (29).
I agree. It’s time to do something. Write something. To take action and gain clarity. Start trying to express your thoughts and as you write, your ideas and stories will solidify—or maybe they’ll get muddier! But you’ll know what to do next. You’ll know what information to seek out, the research you need to do, the questions to ask, the people to talk to.
It’s time for us to take bold and courageous action, so we can have clarity not only on our projects, but also on ourselves. We can become the writers we were meant to be, writing the works we were meant to write.
Listen for the full podcast.
Ideas from this episode:
- Fear, perfectionism, and a desire to maintain control can all keep us from taking action.
- We need to reframe “failure” because to improve, we need the information and clarity that comes from taking action.
- If you want quality, you need clarity, which you can only get from taking action and figuring out what to tweak.
- Everyone’s afraid. The ones who come out on top are the ones who take action.
- #1: Just Get Started (the first episode of this podcast, where I model action by starting this podcast a year ago)
Source: Sheahan, Peter. Fl!p: How to Succeed by Turning Everything You Know on Its Head. New York: HarperCollins, 2008. Print. [Library]
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Arash Ghaemi says
Thanks for posting this!
This is my all-time favorite quote and I often times say it out loud when I get stuck in fear.
Ann Kroeker says
Arash, thank you for sharing this personal application. You probably knew the original source being with Peter Sheahan—I’d always attributed it to my friend John! It’s been a practical, encouraging concept for my coaching clients. I’ll think of you next time I say it.