“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” ~Henry Ford
Recently, I had a young family member tell me that his grades were down because he hadn’t adapted this special way of studying, and that next semester, he’d have better grades because of this new-found method of learning. In a nice but firm way, I told him that I didn’t want to hear what he was going to do. I only wanted to see what he’d done once he accomplished it.
Social media abounds with promises and plans on how someone is going to create, be better, make great strides. In my experience, we lose the energy surrounding those goals by bragging to the world before the deal happens.
Derek Sivers, in a 2010 TED Talk, suggests we keep our goals to ourselves. https://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_keep_your_goals_to_yourself
“Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen. Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.”
There’s somewhat of a myth, a common suggestion, that if you tell people what you are going to do that it makes you more accountable. I’ve never seen that proven. Sure, we have our writers’ groups and critique groups, but do they make you follow through? Not really. You are the only person who can make yourself follow through. And it’s nobody else’s fault that you don’t.
A journalist with Forbes, Jamie Farrell, curiously wondered what would happen if she quit talking about herself and what she “planned” to do.
“For one day, I decided to stop talking and start doing. And here’s what I found: First, I found that I was lonely. I was so accustomed to my ego being stroked by the people I surrounded myself with online that I had forgotten what it was like to be alone. Someone once said you can only be happy when you’re alone if you like the person you’re alone with. I think today’s society has taken away from alone time. Even when we’re alone, we’re still communicating; be it on Twitter, Facebook, blogging, Google + or the next “big thing.” Second, I was productive. I wasn’t writing about “getting out of my comfort zone.” instead I was actually working to push myself out of my comfort zone. I found work to challenge myself and enveloped myself in it. . . Most importantly, I was doing. I wasn’t talking about what I WOULD do, or what I DID do. I just did.”
And I’m not giving you permission to blame social media, either. What I’d love for you to do is talk less about the doing and just do more. On this, our last newsletter in 2017, in a year I did so much less than I have in over a decade, I am making 2018 about DOING. Not talking about doing, but following through. And I look forward to hearing from you when you have all those new announcements to make about what you DID.
Happy New Year!