While on the road filming content for the Edge Factor platform I was reminded that every business I was spending time with was started by someone with a vision for something. Then a friend of mine from Arizona gifted me with a manufactured item where he used anodized aluminum and a wire EDM machine to etch out the acronym for, ‘Just Do What You Said You Were Going To Do’.
Which got me thinking about how every successful entrepreneur or leader that I meet has done just that as they launched their career. They did what they said they were going to do. And you know what, it led them to the success they are experiencing today.
As I think of all the students who are graduating this year, as you go into whatever it is you are doing next, be it launching a career, a business or continuing your education these are words you can live by. Just do what you said you were going to do. It’s simple, and looking back I can attribute layer upon layer of success when living by these words.
Your Word is Your Contract
Here’s a three step approach to make sure you just do what you said you were going to do.
1. Think & Reflect
"Everything that is real was imagined first." a quote from the Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams. It is a great quote because imagining what you would like your future to be like, envisioning it and working towards it starts with a thought, and a step of faith.
So here's the thing, as you think about what you are going to do with your future, be mindful of what it is you are thinking about saying. In today's culture many people are sharing a lot on social media. Formulating and verbalizing opinions based on bite sized pieces of information they see in their news feed or stories. Social media is wrought with a lot of people saying a lot of things, a tremendous amount of people making noise. What are they saying? Is it true? Have you researched and verified the data to ensure you are properly informed and not simply manipulated?
Before forming opinions, or saying anything, we need to take time to reflect and research. We are inundated with information, but are we checking the sources and making sure we are basing our ideas or opinions on truth. Otherwise, we could be basing our decisions and our reputation on misinformation.
Look at your own life and the life of others. Think it through, research and reflect on it.
2. Listen first, then speak.
The world needs better listeners. People who are willing to take the time to ask the right questions, to walk in someone else’s shoes, and try to understand their perspective. Are you building other people up? Are you surrounding yourself with others who are helping you think critically?
The important thing to remember when engaging in a conversation with someone who disagrees with you, is not to shut that person down. You may never fully agree with their opinion, but the two of you can grow in a mutual understanding and respect for each other's perspective. Disagreeing with others is not something to be intimidated by as it can provide opportunities to grow, gain a new perspective and learn something new. Our opinions are usually formed by our life experience, so learning from others experiences is valuable, as is gaining our own life experiences.
As you prepare to articulate your thoughts, remember that your word should be your contract. Keep your commitments. Nothing destroys trust or whittles down your integrity more than telling someone you are going to do something and then you don’t do it.
3. Do it
We gain life experience by doing. Once you have made a decision about the direction you want to take, next you need a plan. If you plan to start your own business for example, keep in mind that an entrepreneur is someone with a grand idea. In order to bring that idea to life, you need a plan. If you float without a plan, you will be no closer to success.
When you start actually working and living out the plan, you may run into challenges, even experience failures. These challenges and failures may cause you to change direction or edit your plan. It should not discourage you. As you start seeing the idea through, you don’t know how it will turn out, how it may change.
Set goals for yourself, do what you set out to do. Start with a plan and see each step through. Seeing something all the way through is how you will learn. You learn by doing. Take action, live the full experience, not just bite size social media experience. Learn by paying your dues and don’t be afraid of failure. Your failures will help you to be someone who brings healing through your words and actions.
You want to be able to look back and say, “I did what I said I was going to do.” Even when things didn’t work out the way you planned, it still provided a layer of success you were able to learn from and build on.
If you think and reflect, listen first and speak second and then just doing what you said you were going to do will build your character and help you to grow. It's also a matter of integrity. Others will know they can trust you, they can rely on you to do what you said you would do.
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Read more about Jeremy Bout, Edge Factor's Founder and CEO, Manufacturer turned filmmaker.