Habit #2 – Take Action

Another habit that separates leaders from the pack is their ability to replace intent with action. You should never procrastinate when it comes to your future.  This may be the most important of all the habits.  There is no way to measure the impact of taking your plan and acting upon it each and every day of your life.

I was brought up in a family of doers. I can remember Mom telling us on any given weekend that we needed to get out of the house. She would say “I don’t care what you do but you better go do something, you’re not just going to sit around!” In general, both of my parents had a distaste for idleness. They instilled a belief in me from an early age that in order to reach any milestone in life, you first had to get moving. Many people have no chance of crossing the finish line because they can’t seem to leave the starting line.

During Habit #1 of Taking Responsibility for yourself, you are in the planning phase of life.  Those plans must be put to action to be of any real worth.  After this step, each of the remaining four habits will deal with physical practices of one form or another. However, what Habit #2 is referring to is the actual transformation from just planning to doing.  It’s a lifestyle that must be practiced until it’s second nature.

It’s at this crossroad of changing how we think that we have choices to make.  Below are 5 Choices to make so that you can become a person of action.

  1. Choose to be a positive thinker – More than any other poison that you can let into your personal life and career, negativity is the most-deadly.  Every morning you must choose to think positive thoughts about your life and your career. After making positive thoughts a routine part of your day, you will find that you actually begin to expect things to go “right”.  That is one of the biggest differences between mediocre and exceptional people, the exceptional ones expect to win.
  2. Choose to Educate yourself – Don’t wait on the timing to be right.  Pick up a book and read it, even if only a few pages a day.  Subscribe to a blog that is relevant to your current circumstance.  Attend seminars or spend your travels listening to podcasts, you’d be surprised what small bits of wisdom you can gain from these practices. The plan is simple yet effective. Learn something today that you didn’t know yesterday.
  3. Choose to Do Good – Just as Benjamin Franklin practiced for most of his life, ask yourself every day those two famous questions as he did. “What good shall I do today?” and “What good did I do today?”.  These two questions can change your life.  Start your morning off with the wonder of how you may help someone and end the day with the accountability needed to ensure you continue this practice.  Look for opportunities to help those around you daily and you will find the true reward of a purposeful life.
  4. Choose to Do Right – John Maxwell states – “Managers do things right, but LEADERS do the RIGHT THING!”.   You can make a personal decision to carefully assess each situation throughout the day and do what is fair and honest.  In the long run, walking with integrity will always pay off.  People will respect you and your family will take notice.  Learn to live life without any grey areas. Try to find the line between right and wrong, don’t ignore it. When it comes to your character, ignorance is not bliss.
  5. Choose to Be Accountable – It’s not comfortable to be exposed with all our flaws. It’s even less comfortable to volunteer that information to people in an effort to improve upon our shortcomings. This, however, is a necessary practice in the quest for self-improvement. Choose people you trust and that have had a level of success you hope to achieve. Once you have these partners, make your plans known to them and be transparent in your actions. This act of accountability will help prevent you from straying too far from the path to success. They can help you avoid the pitfalls that lie off the beaten path because they have traveled that road before.

These choices will help you build a lifestyle of action. All the greatest intentions and ideas aren’t worth anything if we don’t manage to get the wheels turning.

“What we do on some great occasion will depend on what we are.  And what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline.” – H.P.Liddon