Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable-Taking Action
Welcome to the final week of thoughts on becoming the courageous CEOs of our own lives. This week's focus is on the most pivotal element of our series: taking action. Jon Acuff's "Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done" and James Clear's "Atomic Habits" are two of my personal favorite books that brilliantly dissect the art of getting things done and the power of small habits. They remind us that the journey to our goals is not paved with perfection, but with the willingness to take consistent, imperfect action. Another book, a thoughtful gift from RJ Gray of the Oklahoma Cooperative Council (Thanks, RJ!), is Ryan Leak’s “Chasing Failure: How Falling Short Sets You Up for Success,” which has some great thoughts on the power of using the time you have. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Jon Acuff wonderfully captures the struggle many of us face: “Perfectionism is the enemy of done. The road to someday leads to a town of nowhere.” I’ve adopted a mantra that, if you spend much time working with me, you are sure to have heard: “Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.” Both serve as a reminder that our pursuits don’t need to be flawless, they just need to be moving forward. Let’s put our focus into silencing the perfectionist within and embracing the notion that action, however imperfect, is the starting point of all achievement.
James Clear's wisdom in "Atomic Habits" reinforces the value of small, consistent actions: “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” It's a powerful reminder that our most important goals are attainable not through occasional leaps, but through the daily, minute steps we take. We must identify the smallest actionable step towards our goals and make it a non-negotiable part of our daily routine. I’ve written about the habit of reading my Bible daily before, but I’ll reference it again because it has been the biggest “small actionable step” in my life being what it is today. That step led me to cascading improvements.
Here are some examples from a variety of translations:
Learning to become disciplined in tithing and generous in giving put me in a place to be able to be trusted with more.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” – Luke 16:10
Guarding what I watch and hear so that I don’t lose focus on the pursuit of my wife has let me enjoy 18 years of marriage with the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.
“Drink water from your own well, share your love only with your wife.” – Proverbs 5:15
Understanding why I work has helped me to be a dependable employee.
“Observe people who are good at their work, skilled workers are always in demand and admired; they don’t take a back seat to anyone.” – Proverbs 22:29
I began that habit over a decade ago, and because I’m a slow learner, it’s been a continuous source of improvement and blessing for me. I hope you choose this habit and let it become a blessing for you too.
In my opinion, one of the hardest things about implementing a habit like that is making space.
Here is an excerpt from Chasing Failure:
“Time management is perhaps the most underrated component of winning. I believe your calendar and schedule have the greatest impact on your success or lack thereof.
We live in a world where everyone feels like they have a busy schedule. Talking about how busy we are is almost a part of our everyday vernacular. In fact, the busier we sound, the more celebrated we are. Most people are owned by their schedules rather than them owning their schedules. They allow things to just happen.
We should treat our time like we treat our money. Budget it. When you don’t have a plan for your money, it ends up getting spent on things that don’t set you up for success financially in the future. If we don’t make a plan for our time, someone or something will eat it up just like our finances. Set up your schedule for success. You do this by being intentional and not letting entertainment eat up your time. As “busy” as we say we are, it’s amazing what we actually find and make time to do. We make time for HGTV. We make time for social media. We make time for Netflix and the ever-growing list of new streaming services. We make time for sports. You and I make time for the things we want to do the most.
I know people who make excuses for why they can’t accomplish their goals but can finish eight seasons of Game of Thrones in two weeks.Did you know that all eight seasons run a total of 4,201 minutes? That’s seventy hours! Did you know that all nine seasons of The Office run 4,376 minutes? That’s 72.9 hours. And I know people who have watched both shows all the way through twice. Yet… we “don’t have time” to figure out email marketing and do what we need to do to move forward.”
In this final week, let’s not only take action but also celebrate the progress we've made, no matter how small. Remember, “The harder you try to be perfect, the less likely you’ll accomplish your goals” (Jon Acuff). And as we move forward, let's carry with us this timeless wisdom from the book of Proverbs: “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23). It's one of my favorite reminders of the value of diligent work and the fruitfulness of our efforts.
That leads me to this week's challenge... As we wrap up this series, identify one task or project that you've been postponing. Break it down into the smallest possible step and take that step today. Embrace the beauty of progress, however small, and remember that in many steps, great journeys are completed.
I am truly grateful to have shared this journey with you, through every challenge, reflection, and triumph. As we conclude this series, remember that the end of one journey is the beginning of another. Continue to share your stories, your struggles, and your victories. Let's keep inspiring each other to embrace the discomfort of growth and celebrate the comfort of progress.
Let’s continue to be comfortable with being uncomfortable!
I’m thankful that you were willing to go to work today, that you took the time to read this, and for being a part of what makes this world wonderful!