by Nellie Nutting
One of my favorite quotes to use when teaching leadership or self-management classes is by my favorite author, UNKNOWN. Here it is: “Your beliefs become your thoughts; your thoughts become your words; your words become your actions; your actions become your habits; your habits become your values; your values become your destiny.”
In this uncertain time, living out our values keeps our businesses and communities going. And as the quote states, your habits - what you do regularly - will move you in the right direction. To help you get from DECIDING to DOING, I have compiled seven of my favorite steps, especially as they relate to BNI.
1. DON’T WAIT FOR A PERFECT TIME. The reality is that the lights will NEVER all be green and the sun will not always be shining. Before our shift to virtual meetings, I had played with Facebook Live and Zoom meetings, but now it has become essential to JUST DO them. I do not have the best lighting, or virtual backgrounds, but have decided to DO them both anyway. It has kept my business moving, even though I mess up or have glitches, it has kept me from stopping completely.
2. WRITE IT DOWN. I often think things like, “I should call Suzie Q.” or “Maybe Jimmy’s Cleaning Company would like to attend my BNI meeting.” But then I get caught up creating a flyer or cleaning up my email inbox. I quickly forget about who I was going to reach out to and then it’s the day of my chapter meeting and I didn’t invite anyone. Making lists helps me manage these lapses in memory and then my habit of going through my lists regularly can kick in and I don’t forget to take action on a great idea!
3. STOP OVER-THINKING. Do you suffer from analysis paralysis? What are you over-thinking? I often analyze things to the point that I am frozen. I obsess over how conditions aren’t perfect. Sometimes I question the amount of time I have, or come up with a whole host of reasons not to move forward. Like many of you, I have found myself saying, “We aren’t even meeting in person” or “Why would I show up to this online meeting when I can’t take customers” or “Inviting can wait.” None of these will grow my business nor my BNI team. Time to DO IT.
4. TAKE CONTINUOUS ACTION. Once you get started, take continuous action. Keep your momentum going by doing something productive and related to your business every day. This can be as easy as scheduling 15 minutes to listen to a podcast, or calling and texting BNI members to schedule 1 to 1’s. Small tasks add up quickly. You build confidence too when you see achievement. Have you been looking over the chamber membership or reading the newspaper and seeing businesses that would fit into your chapter? Who could use a lift right now? Invite them!
5. ACTIONS OVERCOME FEAR. Most people detest public speaking. For many, the worst part is waiting around to speak. Even the most experienced and poised speakers can get nervous during this time. For me, it’s the phone that feels so heavy that I can’t pick it up. So I use other tools instead, like email or private messaging to get me into action. Once I’ve started, fear and anxiety disappear. Action can be a cure for fear. If you find yourself scared, take action!
6. FOCUS ON THE PRESENT. An old Chinese Proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Yes, if we had planted those seeds 20 years ago, we would have a fully grown tree to provide us with shade right now. But if we don’t plant that tree now, 20 years in the future we will still be standing in the sun. Instead of focusing on what you CAN’T do, focus on what you CAN!
7. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS. Have you ever jumped on your computer to write something, only to start replying to emails and checking social networks? While writing this blog I have had several distractions. The post office had a delivery, pest control came to spray, and the phone started to ring. We live in a world of noise and distractions that prevent us from being productive and give us an excuse to procrastinate.
Let me wrap up with the story of five frogs sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many are left? If you said one you may think math proves you right, but that’s wrong. DECIDING is not DOING. So all five frogs are still waiting - for the perfect time, the right environment, or something else. The truth is, one average idea put into action is more valuable than 20 genius ideas being saved for some other time. When you have an idea or make a decision, get into the habit of taking action. Jump off the log and discover all of the amazing things you can accomplish!