What are You Waiting For?

Almost everyone reading this has something they “wish” they could do. Many of those people think to themselves, “if only.” Well I have a question for the “if only” people. “If only” what?

What, exactly what, are you waiting for?

The most successful people don’t think in terms of “if only” they think in terms of “I’m going to.” Less successful people see obstacles as walls blocking their path. The “I’m going to” crowd sees them as bridges to their next adventure. 

It’s never too late to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. But let’s be clear, I’m not talking about the things you say you want to do. I mean the things you really want to do. The stuff you can’t get out of your mind. 

Leaving behind the “if only” group and joining the “I’m going to” party may mean taking a risk. It may mean leaving your comfort zone. But the rewards are simply awesome. 

You’ll experience life in a whole new way. You might even experience your real life for the first time. Your real life is the sum total of ALL of your experiences, not just the one’s you’re comfortable with.

You’ll tap into your full knowledge bank, using insights and skills you perhaps didn’t even know you had. You could even meet the real you, the one who had no idea what you’re made of unless and until you venture outside of your own familiar, safe world.

Leaving your comfort zone allows you to leave behind the mediocre parts of your life and experience new skills. You’ll pick up even more knowledge and confidence. The other benefit of stretching your comfort zone is it never shrinks back to it’s original size. Your increased confidence to try new things stays with you, making the next new thing even easier to try. 

Before you know it you’ll be leaving the “I’m going to” group in the dust and joining your brand new group, the ones known as the “I did it” people. 

If you haven’t done anything yet today that scares you at least a little bit then figure something out for tomorrow…then do it. Don’t let another day pass in the bubble of your comfort zone. The next time someone asks “what are you waiting for” you’ll be able to answer, “not one damn thing.” 

They Who Hesitate….Seldom Lead

I used to shoot trap…a lot of trap. For those of you unfamiliar with that particular activity here’s a brief explanation.

Trap shooting (or trapshooting in North America) is one of the three major disciplines of competitive clay pigeon shooting (shooting shotguns at clay targets). The other disciplines are skeet shooting and sporting clays.

It’s only my opinion but for me trapshooting was by far the easiest of the three disciplines. The more I practiced the better I became…and I practiced for hours a day. It was normal for me to shoot at least a case of shotgun shells a day. 

I shot competitively all over the country and it wasn’t unusual to go a long time without a miss. A good shot was measured in the target being turned to dust less than a second after it appeared. Any other kind of hit was better than a miss but not by much.

One day I was invited to go trapshooting with my uncle and a few of his friends. They had never seen me shoot competitively but had heard I shot a lot of trap. So we got to the trap range and I was the 4th shooter out of five. We were on our third round of 25 targets when I finally broke a target into several bigger pieces. All the other targets were what a trap shooter would call “smoked.” I wasn’t even close to missing a shot.

My uncle and one of his friends suggested I was shooting too fast. I asked, “too fast for what?” They said you can’t keep hitting targets if you keep shooting that fast. We were shooting from 16 yards, the shortest distance on the trap range. It was almost inconceivable to me that I could miss from that distance. 

I asked for their reasoning on why I should hold off on pulling the trigger once I had the target lined up. They said something about haste making waste to which I replied “he who hesitates misses the target.” In trap shooting by the way that’s exactly true. The longer it takes you to line up your shot the more likely it will be that you will miss. That’s true for a lot of reasons but one of the main reasons is the pellets in your shotgun shell are more spread out. That makes it easier for the target to fly right through them. 

There are not many areas of life where hesitation pays dividends. That’s true in leadership as well. One of the five most common characteristics of weak leaders is that they hesitate. They wait for everything to be lined up perfectly before they are willing to pull the trigger. Many times they wait so long that they don’t pull the trigger at all. 

That’s not leadership!

Authentic Leaders possess the courage to “take the shot” when necessary, even without everything being perfectly aligned. They take a risk to chase success knowing full well that they could wait forever for the perfect opportunity to arrive. 

Authentic Leaders recognize windows of opportunities that lessor leaders fail to see. In fact, if Authentic Leaders don’t see an opportunity they create one. What they don’t do is hesitate. 

What they also don’t do is mistake patience for procrastination. One could create a bigger window of opportunity while the other, procrastination, slams the window shut. The most successful leaders, really the most successful people, are careful when using their patience. They know all too well it can easily become procrastination and procrastination is frequently mistaken for hesitation. 

The most effective Authentic Leaders do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Whether it be dealing with conflict, making a difficult decision, or trying something new they know that delay frequently leads to a missed opportunity.

Don’t wait for the perfect time to lead. Use the information you have today. Use the skills you have today. Use the resources you have today to take action today. The key to success is likely in your hands already, hesitating to use it only makes it less likely that you’ll use it at all. 

Don’t miss your shot, be bold, don’t hesitate, Lead Today!

Playing it Safe

If turbulent times teach us anything it’s that there is no such thing as “playing it safe.” Some of the “safest” people I know found themselves out of work. They were the “steady as she goes” types, making sure to never rock the boat. They had themselves a nice looking 401k until the stock market tanked and then just to be “safe” they sold much of it at rock bottom prices.

This has always been true but it’s even more so in challenging times… if you want to be safe then take a risk or two. Not crazy, ill considered risk but well thought out and planned risk.

Taking risks minimizes the possibility of looking back and asking, “what if?” Even if you fail, you walk away with more experience and knowledge. Lots of people would say that taking risks in one area of your life will lead to success in other areas of your life as well. I agree with those people.

Research says that people who take risks are far more likely to achieve their goals and live a more satisfying life.

Taking a well considered risk helps you stand out from the crowd of “safers” that settle for the status quo. Leaders accept risk as the price of success, they know that “good enough” is a direct path to mediocrity.

No matter what you hope to achieve in life taking a risk is a necessary step in actively pursuing success. Very seldom does anything of value fall into your lap. You must pursue it and with that pursuit comes risk.

Accept the fact that the appearance of failure also comes from taking a risk but also understand that appearance of failure is only a mirage. It doesn’t become real until you stop taking risks that can lead to your ultimate success.

If you have the courage, and yes it takes courage, to accept the risk that comes with pushing yourself to achieve your full potential then success will likely be yours. If you can’t muster the mindset that playing it safe leads to less then you’ll just have to settle for less than you know you deserve.

Take a well considered risk today and your chances for well earned success tomorrow go way way up!