Is the image you might have of a “person of action Harrison Ford as “Indiana Jones?” Perhaps it’s Angelina Jolie in “The Tourist,” or Will Smith in “Men In Black.” Or does a star athlete remind you of a person of action? Serena Williams, Tom Brady or LeBron James might all fit the bill for you.
True, our images of those people are all depictions of larger than life action personalities, but I am much more interested in you. In my mind, we all have the potential to be people of action. We don’t have to be movie stars or world-class athletes.
Before I talk about you, let’s not forget that each person I mentioned above started as an unknown. LeBron James was blessed with a basketball player’s genetics, but he was not born learning how to shoot a jump shot. It is impossible to calculate how many practice jump shots he has missed. Potential will only get us so far. There is something more profound than talent that can turn all of us into people of action.
True enough, we must wait at the bus stop for busses or the gate for our airplane to board, but waiting for a lucky break, a new job or inspiration to begin a new project never works. We can wait around forever for good fortune to fall in our laps. Unfortunately, life does not work that way. We must have the courage to take action.
I well understood how difficult it might be to start a new venture. We can get snowed under with worries and self-doubt before we begin, so it is easy to get afraid and overwhelmed.
If a forty-year-old woman who absolutely loves animals wakes up one morning wanting to be a veterinarian, she can get easily overwhelmed at the task ahead, especially if she has not been to college! Yet it has happened. Whether a professional school is a goal, becoming a master carpenter or running a marathon, don’t focus on all of the things that could go wrong. Focus on the small steps you need to take each day to reach that goal.
Yes, you could be allergic to parrot feathers or get shin splints after a five-mile run, but trust the process and as your heart awakens to each success or set back, learn from it and grow. By the way, I do know a highly successful master carpenter who told me of the many measurement mistakes he made when first starting out. Don’t worry, keep moving forward.
With each small step completed on your action plan you will come to understand that the goal may well be your target, but today you only need to take one step, accomplish one thing, pass just one test.
On your one step at a time journey, don’t be afraid to dream whether you have a good day or bad. We are always being tested. I knew a woman who was studying to be a pastor who wondered if she was compassionate enough, a fine arts school student who was slammed by an art critic, a music school student whose voice cracked during an aria. Yet, the seminary student became a wonderful pastor, the artist has flourished, and the singer has thrilled audiences with her voice. Why did they succeed? They protected the dream at each step in their development. They kept moving.
Rather than becoming overwhelmed, every student, every athlete, everyone pursuing a goal must have an action plan in mind. One of my neighbors is an incredible baker, and in fact, he is seriously thinking about opening a gourmet bakery. However, he has gone to baking school, he is pursuing online courses in business accounting for bakers and caterers, and he has joined several professional organizations where he can get advice. He takes concrete actions to keep him on a realistic track. Will he open up a gourmet bakery? He still doesn’t know but he is also keeping other options open such as becoming a pastry chef or supplying upscale restaurants with desserts.
To be a person of action you cannot get hung up on worries about failures or mistakes, but rather focus on the journey. Think about what you must do to get there and how to keep moving. However, the first step in becoming a person of action is to begin.