The only way to do it

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After my spouse and I were pronounced man and wife, the minister made a small verbal misstep. He had undoubtedly officiated hundreds of weddings and knew what to say.

We all know what to say…”You may now kiss the bride.”

Despite all that experience, something happened. The minister looked my square in the eye and said “Lance…now you can do it.”

The congregation laughed uncomfortably, I kissed my bride, and we have been happily married for over ten years.

Now knowing how my wedding ended, it should not be a surprise that seeing the sign shown above makes me think of the minister’s charge. This sign hangs prominently at Stanford’s d.school and I took this picture the last time I was there.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “doing” lately. For most of us, it is much easier to sit on the couch, stay at your desk, or to not speak up in the meeting. Non-action seems to have less risk – key word being “seems”.

Non-action and not doing is every bit as risking as doing. It happens over time, almost so slow that you don’t notice it – non-action allows your skills to weaken to the point at which your contribution isn’t valued and you become a non-factor.

The best strategy for mitigating this risk is to act. To take a risk. To move from the couch. To leave your desk – Go talk to the guy in accounting that no one will talk to. Go talk to a customer. Go ask you friends what you are doing that is short of your potential. Go ask your neighbor what you can do to help them. Go do something that scares you a little and that might fail.

I want to be know as a doer. That’s how we learn. By taking risks and making mistakes. I build to think. Building is all about doing. Sure, you make start by sketching out a plan, but you build as soon as you can. You test your plan and then refine and build again.

Join me in doing.

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