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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > A Year of Action – Podcast

A Year of Action – Podcast

January 6th, 2012

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As I have over the last several years, I am choosing a theme for this year. In the past I have selected the words Visibility and Leadership as my annual watchwords. This year, though, it is time for a Year of Action. If you want to build the career you deserve, it is going to require a lot of action on your part — probably more action than you have ever accomplished previously in your life. For all of us, this should make for a very exciting 2012.

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Cultivating Your Career Reputations

11,000 Words

While we often talk about one, monolithic, Reputation – with a capital R — I believe that there are a series of reputations that make up the whole. This book will focus on the combination of reputations that make up your one, overarching, Reputation. By examining each of these reputations in detail, I hope you will find specific areas where you can improve your work, your actions and your thoughts so that your overall professional reputation grows.

Why break your Reputation down into its constituent parts? It is often said that you can’t “do” projects, you can only do the individual tasks that make up the project and achieve the desired result. The same can be said for reputation. You don’t build your reputation as a whole, you cultivate the smaller reputations that create it. Each individual action builds your reputation in unique ways and each requires some thought as to how they relate to the whole.

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Why is action so important? Action breaks through the inertia that often holds us back – “objects at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force”. This inertia freezes us in place, stuck, while the world speeds by us. Even worse, it is far too easy not to take action. All we have to do is sit there and the world will gladly move around us. Still, we can break free if we take even one, small, seemingly unimportant action. This movement frees us from the mire and gives us the advantage of the other side of inertia — “objects in motion will remain in motion.” Allowing even the smallest action to get the ball rolling and get us moving again.

Am I suggesting that you act out, on anything, without thinking about it or planning it? Yes!. The fact is, over-planning, over-thinking, over-fearing are just a symptom of inertia and therefore some of our biggest enemies. It is far more likely for us to be stuck in inertia than stuck by taking too many actions. Sure, you can move into an area where you are taking too many wild actions, but I have found this to be very, very rare. More often I see people stuck by the side of the road thinking about what their next action might be.

Standing still is easy. We can find hundreds of reasons why we shouldn’t do something with very little effort. What we need, though, is the one reason FOR doing something that allows us to take action and move forward. There is another name for this syndrome — analysis paralysis. We are figuratively paralyzed by the number of choices we have or, we are too afraid to act because we never think we have enough information to make a decision. For someone like you or I, this is career death. The world will speed by us and we will find ourselves so far behind we might never catch up.

What I suggest, as I often do, is a sense of balance. Balance your actions with your planning. Taking a lot of action requires a lot of planning, too. If you balance your action with your planning you will be much less likely to get stuck. You will always have the ball rolling even if you are not exactly sure which way it is headed. This can mean that you will sometimes be acting on an idea, a hunch, a gut feeling. You might feel you haven’t planned enough. That is okay. It is often in these unplanned actions that we find our greatest triumphs. We can’t always predict where our lives and careers are headed, so throwing in a bit of randomness might just expose us to something amazing and beyond our dreams.

How do you see if you are truly stuck? One easy method is to note how much you talk about actions and compare that to how often you actually take action? The Texans have a phrase for someone who talks big but doesn’t have much to show for it — “all hat and no cattle.” These people are pretending to be cowboys without the requisite cows. If you are honest with yourself, it is pretty easy to see when you are stuck in this cycle. It is just as easy to see when you are moving out of it. Make something happen, anything, and other things will begin to happen for you. Even a small movement from you can get the world turning again in your favor, if you let it.

Finally, your worst enemy in your action battle, other than yourself, are those people around you who are stuck themselves. Writers who are stuck hate writers who are working. Artists who are stuck hate other artists who are being productive. Even worse, they will do anything to make those writers and artists as unproductive as they are. They will attack you, your work and your actions. They will spread their pessimism and try to control you. Put as much distance between them and yourself as possible. Take your actions no matter what anyone might say and carefully consider the source of demeaning and angry words. They might just be jealous that they can’t be as productive as you are.

Starting today, think of ways of taking action this year. It doesn’t matter if these actions are big, small or in-between. It is the ACT OF TAKING ACTION that is most important. Some days you will find that taking the simple action of going for a walk might be the most productive, and healthful, thing you do all day. In that small action, though, are the seeds for more action, more movement, more opportunity and more success. Embrace action and all that it can do for you this year.


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