“If I knew what to do, then I would do it.”
Have you ever said this?
How long have these words delayed action, or tough decisions? How many times have you hurt someone by postponing? How much time have you lost? How many opportunities missed?
How many employees have you kept too long because you told yourself and/or others that you weren’t sure what to do? (When in reality you knew what to do. You just did not want to do it.)
Here is a way to overcome that excuse.
I heard a recent talk by Steven Furtick of Elevation Church (January 27th) suggesting we flip it. (Steven’s not the first to say this …) He was not specifically referring to leadership, but “flip it” can help us take a new approach.
What if instead of that excuse of “If I knew what to do, then I would do it,” and the unnecessary delays it causes, we said to ourselves…
“What can I do based on what I know?”
As leaders, we know a lot. Not everything, but often enough to not get stuck by whining, “If I knew what to do…”
What are we, members of the Whiner Family?
We can make a different choice than these three exits on life’s freeway.
Here are some options:
Option #1 – Seek advice from people who are strong enough to tell you what you don’t want to hear.
Option #2 – Consider your options based on what you already know. Do you have enough facts to make the decision now? Sometimes you do. Other times you need more information.
Option #3 – If you consider your options and feel you need more information, then decide specifically what the gaps are in your facts. Devise a plan to gather the information with a deadline for each item. Check with your advisors if appropriate. Gather the information and make the decision on time.
If you do what you know …
… then you take action faster because often you actually have enough information to do something …
… make tough decisions faster…
… reinforce how much you value others, and hurt them less often …
… save time … and
… create and enjoy more opportunities.
Are you doubtful? Is the habit of procrastination too comfortable to consider a change? Be courageous. You can do it.
Just try it. Flip it.
The next time you are delaying an action or decision, ask yourself, “What can I do based on what I know?” Then be candid. Most of the time you know what to do.
P.S. It’s a new year. “Flip it” may be the best new habit you have developed in years. Let me know how it goes!
David Graham Russell
Leadership Activist, Author & Consultant