There’s no getting around it. In the race of life, you have to get on your mark, get set and go!
It doesn’t matter if it’s the 100 metre dash, a marathon, or the race to move your career forward. To win, you must take these three essential steps! Many of us are good with the first two; that is, we’re very good at getting ready to act. Unfortunately, many fail or falter because we don’t “Go.” I’ve been guilty of this over the years and I had to fight hard to break my procrastination habit.
Sometimes we get scared because we feel that the goal we want to accomplish is too big for us to handle and we trick ourselves into believing that we are just not ready to “Go”. That little voice of doubt we hear in our heads is actually Compulsive Career Self-Sabotage trying to stop us from experiencing any hurts or failures on the road to success… it’s trying to keep us safe. By keeping us safe where we are, what it is really doing is slowly killing us on the inside, as we continue to feel shame or guilt for not achieving our dreams.
You see, it all comes down to execution. If all you are doing is talking, thinking about or even writing down your next steps to succeed, all you’re doing is creating a wish list. Wish lists only become reality when you execute them.
This reminds me of the story of the Wise Man and the Village Fool. A long time ago, before cars or airplanes, a small community lived in a village located at the base of the tallest mountain in the land. In this village, there lived unique individuals who were the complete opposite of one another. One was a Wise Man and the other a Village Fool.
The Wise Man was tall, confident, well-groomed, and successful; he was the most respected man in the village. The Village Fool, on the other hand, was short, disheveled in appearance, lacking in confidence, and unsuccessful; he was the least respected man in the village. He did, however, have one thing that the Wise Man never had, and that was a friendly smile. No matter what happened to the Village Fool, he always had a positive attitude. You could say it was his calling card. People or circumstances could take anything away from him, but his friendly smile remained.
One day at the townhall meeting, to confirm his place as the top man in the village, the Wise Man stood up and challenged the villagers to a race up the mountain. Whoever reached the top, he said, would be considered the wisest man of the land. The villagers erupted into applause; but no one wanted to challenge the Wise Man because everyone had the fear of failing. As time passed, no one accepted the Wise Man’s challenge, until one day the Village Fool approached him and confessed that he longed to be a Wise Man and he would accept the Wise Man’s challenge. Upon hearing this, the villagers laughed hysterically because it was clearly impossible for the Village Fool to win. The Wise Man was tall and athletic, while the Village Fool was short and out-of-shape.
The next day, at the crack of dawn, the whole village gathered at the base of the tall mountain. While the Wise Man appeared confident with his oversized knapsack filled with supplies, the Village Fool appeared a little nervous given that the only thing he packed for the journey was his friendly smile and a flask of water.
The time had come for the race to begin. The Mayor shouted, “On your mark. Get set… Go!” and he pulled the trigger of his flintlock pistol. Off ran the Village Fool like a thief in the night, as fast as his short, stubby legs could carry him. He stumbled and fell many times, but he kept making his way up the mountain in the cool morning air.
The Wise Man, on the other hand, did not run. Instead, he reached into his large knapsack and pulled out a pen and a note pad. He started to plot a course up the mountain, based on the Village Fool’s progress. The villagers stood in awe of the Wise Man’s confidence, as he continued to take notes while closely watching the Village Fool’s route.
As the Wise Man wrote, the Village Fool continued to fall and stumble his way up the mountain. This continued for hours into the afternoon. Finally, the Wise Man figured that he had enough information to quickly sprint up the mountain safely, avoiding the Village Fool’s pitfalls, and win the race.
To everyone’s surprise, not long after the Wise Man started to climb the mountain in the hot afternoon sun, the Village Fool, battered, bruised, but still sporting his friendly smile, reached the summit. That was the day the Fool became the Wise Man and the Wise Man became the Fool!
The moral of the story is that even though planning (i.e. on your mark, get ready) is very important, only execution and action (i.e. the Go!) will make you successful. Yes, you will most likely stumble and fall on your journey, but eventually, through your continuous action and positive attitude, you will reach the top of the mountain and claim your victory.
It may be scary, but I encourage you to, “Get on your mark. Get set. And, most of all, “Go!” towards your dreams. Like Les Brown says, “You don't have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.”
In the comment box, share what you want to achieve and what you will start working on right now... your “Go!” I want to know. Plus, your story may inspire others to take action.
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Colin McClean, Your Career Blacksmith
“Keep moving forward and looking upwards!”
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