Some People Just Do

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The biggest difference between people who do and people who don’t is that people who do simply believe they can. That’s one of the mantras about leadership I believe in most. It sounds simple, but that’s the thing with doing, having a bias for action. The “doing,” is what enables ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference.

Doing can be hard…even courageous. People can and will judge you by your actions. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we all possess a very real fear about looking stupid in front of others. Try and think back to your very first day at your very first job; didn’t nearly everything your new boss asked you to do practically freeze you with terror? How many things do we avoid simply because we are afraid? But you know what? Leaders are the teenagers who become bosses, who say “Let’s try something new,” even when people are telling them it can’t work. They face down their fear. They do things and try things because they believe ”I can do that.” Over time, they learn to trust themselves. They learn that accomplishing change means taking risks. They learn that embarrassment is temporary…if they learn from it.

Overcoming fear starts with acting on natural curiosity. Fear is usually spawned by feeling inadequate or ignorant about what you are facing. But fear, like all emotions, is a temporary state. Ignorance is nothing more than the state of not knowing. As a result, the cure for any state of ignorance starts with a simple commitment to learn new things. We train ourselves not to be embarrassed but instead to relish the state of ignorance because it means we have the opportunity to rectify it. We can choose to learn anything we want.

A fishing example: When I was fourteen, after years of watching my father handmake a type of lure that is used to catch crappie, I had the thought one day that I might be able to make my own lures and possibly even repair fishing rods. When I had the idea, I didn’t have a clue how to repair a fishing rod. But I grew up around people who learned how to do things for themselves and were quick to employ practical solutions. So, I decided to build a rod-making “jig” out of common lumber you could buy at any hardware store. I ordered a 25-rpm motor from an industrial supply house, salvaged a rheostatic pedal from one of my mom’s sewing machines, and wired the pedal to the motor so I could use my foot to control the speed of a rod turning in the jig. I bought rubber crutch tips of various sizes into which I inserted machine bolts that I could screw into a threaded chuck that attached to the shaft of the motor and held the butt end of the rod. It wasn’t glamourous, but it worked, which made me wonder if I couldn’t build a fishing rod completely from scratch. I bought a book on rod making and studied some articles in magazines. I ordered more motors and made another rod jig that would allow me to make rods up to seven feet in length. I began buying rod “blanks” and parts by mail. I learned how to improve my process with each rod I built. Before long, I began creating unique and visually attractive rods that rivaled anything you could purchase at retail. Eventually I was selling rods across the country, and to further personalize each customer’s rod beyond the unique thread patterns I employed to decorate the rods, I used dry transfer script lettering to put the customer’s name on the finished rod, instinctively understanding that most people take pride in owning something that is truly one of a kind.

That last recognition about individuality led me as an adult to “break the mold” in terms of how companies that I helped lead positioned themselves, taking innovative and counterintuitive approaches to change the way prospective customers viewed us and how they interacted with us. Those adult decisions usually felt pretty radical and fear-inducing at the time, but every time I knew I was onto something that would create a competitive edge for us in the markets that we served. At fourteen I was naïve enough not to be afraid, but as an adult I had to consciously not give into a fear of failure. I altered my state of ignorance. Long before I thought about the articulation of this mantra, I applied it by doing: Even when I was afraid and felt inadequate or ignorant. Always remember, every individual’s level of expectation and understanding is directly related to their prior degree of exposure. The only way to expose ourselves to the learning that breaks our state of ignorance starts with believing that we have the power to change the status quo. And then we do it.



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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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