The importance of including action

Last month, I read an “okay” book on pushing through fear and all the little things that keep each of us from moving forward in what’s important. I say this book was “okay” because except for one part, which I’m able to reveal, the rest seemed like hype riding on the backs of others.

See, there’s this guy named Seth Godin, right? He’s fairly popular online and especially popular in the marketing/courage/remarkable market. Lots of bloggers try to imitate his style. I’ve done it, and as far as examples go, he’s a pretty good guy to copy.

But still when everyone does it, it gets old.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. This isn’t about copying Seth Godin. I only brought it up because that’s how this book felt to me. Except for one thing.

The book was short, like 30 pages or something. And in those 30 or so pages, the author included five action steps. Each action step was meant to help the reader learn to embrace courage. The action steps were small, easy to understand ideas that could be applied within like 15 minutes of reading them.

Some people, probably most people, read the book without actually trying out any of them. Something clicked for me, though, when I read them, and I decided to actually follow through with them, even though some seemed pointless or even kind of silly.

And now, despite the “just okayness” of the rest of the writing, here I am talking about the book.

That’s the importance of including action.

It doesn’t matter so much how good the writing is. It doesn’t matter so much how great the idea is. It doesn’t matter so much how perfect the business plan seems. It doesn’t matter so much how great it looks or how well you present it. It doesn’t matter so much about any of that.

The crucial element that makes us remember or stand out or make a difference is action. Gary Vaynerchuk calls it “execution.” Seth Godin, by the way, calls it “shipping.” I like both of those too.

The term doesn’t matter so much. Practicing it does.

And for books, which depend on results and word of mouth to get read and spread, it’s crucial to include small, easy to understand action steps in the overall framework of what’s shared. Same goes for speeches and blog posts and so on.

So, here’s an action step for you: email someone or message them on Facebook, someone you haven’t communicated with lately. No reason, just say hey. Don’t think about it – you’ll back out. Just act. It’ll take five minutes, tops. You’ll renew a friendship and maybe remember this post better.

Ideas are so overrated. There’s no such thing as a million dollar thought. Action, implementation, application, execution – that’s what makes stuff happen and makes stuff matter, even if it’s so crazy it seems pointless or so small it seems silly.

Like would anyone remember Dr. King’s dreams if it weren’t for people like Rosa Parks setting them in motion?

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