Bonhoeffer, in one of his thousands of inspiring sermons, stated that freedom is not in the flight of thoughts, but only in action. And when we move out of anxious hesitation into the storm of events, freedom will receive our spirit with exultation. For many people, this invitation is deeply intimidating. They don't have the diligence to convert their brilliant inspirations into workable realities. Their ideas stay in idea form forever. Like the talented artist whose warm and compassionate personality makes her an absolute delight to work with. But the problem is, she becomes so wrapped up trying to understand every fleeting thought, feeling and emotion in the moment, that it paralyzes her out of taking action with her creative projects. Maybe this person even rents a beautiful painting studio to give herself a dedicated space to execute her work. Which seems like a smart move professionally, until she confesses that she never actually uses it to paint, only to socialize with neighboring artists. Problem is, she needs get out into the world where the action is.
ACTIONSTORMING — Finding creative opportunities by getting out of your goddamn head and actually trying things
How do you know when a new project is the right one to take on? You don't. Not until you start. Sometimes that's the only way to find out. You can sit back and weigh the pros and cons all you want, but in the end, only in action do you discover the reality of your opportunity. It's one thing to gather and organize ideas before understanding the most logical path forward. But all of us must beware of the tendency to hold off on taking action because we don’t feel we have enough information. We must move out of anxious hesitation into the storm of events.
Take my last four jobs, two of which were at advertising agencies, and two of which were at startups. Each one got better as time went along. The first job sucked to high heaven, the second one was way better, the third one was awesome, and the fourth one was a dream come true. But that learning only happened through taking action. Had I held out for the perfect employer with the ideal culture and morals aligned with my values and the best paycheck, then I'd still be trapped in my living room, wearing my pajamas, filling out job applications eight hours a day. Eventually we have to get out of our goddamn heads and start trying things. And if they don't work out, so what? It's just another notch on our learning belt that equips us for the next thing.
Remember, we can always walk away. We can keep quitting until you end up some place where we don’t want to leave. Where are you getting in your own way?
Find the your next professional opportunity more quickly
Improve your ability to take action despite incomplete information
Confidently move out of anxious hesitation into exciting new projects
Double your learning through trial and error so you’re more equipped for the next thing