When I was a 20-something, living in a ski town in upstate New York (yes, there is state north of NYC) I spent a lot of my time snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking and traveling. Alone. Not that I didn’t have friends. I had plenty. I had confidants I could laugh & cry with and I had beer buddies I could throw a few back with, maybe dance on a bar with… but that’s a story for another day. And for the most part my friends all had snowboards or skis, mountain bikes, hiking boots and a love of travel.
The thing was, they all HAD the stuff. They all TALKED about the stuff. But very few of them actually DID the stuff. It didn’t take me long to realize that if I wanted to LIVE and not just sit around and talk big, that I’d have to go it alone. So that’s what I did.
On one road trip around age 21 I found myself bunked up at a hostel in Austin, TX. On my first morning there I asked the 50-something guy at the check in desk what he suggested I check out while I was in town. Over the next 2 days I biked the city, swam in Barton Springs pool, hiked Enchanted Rock, lunched in Fredricksburg, had a beer in a bar/barn in a one-horse town that some country singer had once written a song about.
When I checked out of the hostel the same guy asked me what I’d done while I was there. “Everything you told me to,” I said. Surprised he responded, “You get the award for the most ambitious traveler. Most of these kids just sit around here and play cards all day.” Funny thing was, when I’d spend an hour hanging out with those “kids” they all had BIG stories to tell of all the things they did and had and were.
Ten-odd years later as an entrepreneur and coach I have found that I still encounter lots of people who are talking big, but just a handful of people who are DOING BIG.
Lots of people come to me expressing their wish to quit their job, change careers, start a business, improve their health, lose weight, try something new. Most of them quietly slip away, back in to the old, comfortable, familiar life they so desire to ditch. Some of them have been telling me for years that they want to make a change. But they don’t.
So what differentiates the talkers from the doers?
As far as I can see the most important (and maybe only) difference between them is that doers show up.
They. Just. Show. Up.
They don’t necessarily have a better plan, have more resources, have some innate ability or learned skill.
They. Just. Show. Up.
They try things. They check things out. Even if they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Or what the hell they want to do.
If there’s an event, a seminar, a class, a free information session, or just something to see or do, they just show up.
They’re willing to risk that they might get lost, that a party might suck, that they may look foolish, that they may waste a few bucks. They’re willing to risk it because they don’t want to miss something that COULD be a great time, a great experience, or a great business game changer.
They know that opportunity isn’t going to come knocking on their apartment door. And clarity isn’t going to come while they’re sitting on the couch watching American Idol.
I recently heard Kate Northrup say in an interview with Marie Forleo that one of her fave quotes is, “While you’re praying, move your feet.”
All the wishing and hoping and waiting in the world is not going to help you find your purpose, clarify your vision, or grow your business. The only way you’re going to find your way is to check things out.
Get out there and try some stuff.
Take a risk.
Just. Show. Up.