[Monday Motivation] Don't allow your "needs" to turn into an excuse

In a previous article, I briefly mentioned the one time when the CEO of my last organization challenged my thinking.  I was visiting the corporate office to attend a series of meetings with a group of peers.  We were enjoying a catered lunch in a common area when the CEO walks in and decides to grab a bite.

He sits down at a table by himself.  I could sense that everyone was avoiding having to sit with him so I decided to be bold and take on the challenge.  A friend of mine joined me. After breaking the ice, the three of us ate in silence for a few moments.  I then brought up the topic of a 10 day meditation retreat that one of my coworkers would be attending.  The 10-day meditation retreat is a total immersion process. Participants aren't allowed to talk to each other or engage in any other activity besides meditation for the duration of the day.  It's a life-transforming experience to say the least.  The CEO of the company attended the retreat and urged his high level employees to do the same.

Weeks before my trip to corporate a business partner of mine told me that she was attending the retreat but wasn't looking forward to it because she had no meditation experience.  In her mind, meditating non-stop for nearly two weeks was darn near torture. My advice to her was to attend some local meditation sessions so her mind could become accustomed to the process before the retreat.  Since I had some experience with meditation, I knew it took a little while for the mind to get used to operating with stillness.
So there I am, at the table with the CEO when suddenly I bring up the conversation with my business partner.  I tell him how I suggested that she take meditation classes locally to prepare for the excursion since she has no previous experience.  A moment of silence passed before he lifted his head and said something to the effect of:

 "you know, sometimes people think that in order to do something, you have to take smaller steps first.  It's not necessary, if you want to do something, no matter how big it is, you should just do it."  

I responded with agreement. We continued to eat our lunch and exchange pleasantries until it was time to return to our meeting.  But the words he spoke replayed in my mind dozens of times.  He was absolutely right. I'm pretty sure that lots of people have successfully completed the retreat without having a firm grounding in the practice of meditation.  As a matter of fact, I later met a few people in our organization who had done just that.

But more importantly, his words of wisdom applies to any scenario.  Sometimes, before we take a big step, we start to focus on all the things we "should do" or "need to do" before hand.  If we're not careful, those can quickly become excuses that can delay our real action.

Whenever we have an idea to do something big, our subconscious mind steps in to mitigate the potential risk.  Doing something completely new is scary so we lessen the perceived danger by first thinking of all the many ways to prepare ourselves for the experience.  Don't get me wrong, preparation is good.  But there's a very, very fine line between preparation and stalling.  Some of us aren't aware of that line so we delay in taking the "real action."

This CEO literally build a multi-billion dollar organization from scratch.  He is a person who isn't afraid to take "real action."  This is what creates the biggest transformation and most powerful outcomes.  Sure, the preparation actions are good, but the real actions are what get you to where you need to be in the fastest way possible.

So you want to start a business.....are you still fretting over the design of your website or coming up with the name for your domain?  If so, you are focusing on what you feel "needs to be done first." The more you focus on these preliminary actions, the more you delay the realization of achieving your first sale.

You want to start working out again, but first, you need a great pair of running shoes.....
You want to start saving money but first, you need to find a job that pays more.......
You want to increase your income but first, you need to read countless books on the topic.....
You want to launch a blog but first, you need to find the perfect template.....

What I learned that day is starting is greater than preparing.  I'm thankful that he altered my thinking because ever since, I have been challenging my own perspective on whether my actions list is real or if it consists of a series of potential excuses.   That day I received free coaching from a self-made, Forbes list billionaire.  His words will impact my life forever.  And for that, I'm eternally grateful. 

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