What started as a nice “catch-up” lunch, soon led to the stark realization I was just a Wanna-be! I’m writing this article to ensure it doesn’t happen to you. I didn’t see it coming, but before I knew it, I was just one of the multitude – a Wanna-be. Let me explain….
I consider myself a busy guy. Granted, I’m not a Mach 1-hair-on-fire guy every day, but there isn’t grass growing under my feet. Over the holidays I took the time to have lunch with a dear friend and catch up with each other’s lives. As we recounted our latest thoughts and endeavors, she looked at me (without judgment) and simply observed:
“That’s exactly what you said last year.“
I thought I was sharing my creative, innovative and inspiring ideas. I told her the vision for my business and the next phase of my career. These are the compelling ideas I pull out when tired or bored to remind myself of the exciting changes heading my way. For her – she simply heard the same things she heard a year ago – I hadn’t moved.
I’m a Wanna-be!
Let me define a Wanna-be. Wanna-bes have great ideas. They have dreams and goals that inspire. They can describe with excitement the changes they plan, but it’s always “next year” or “soon” or “when the time is right.” They don’t execute the plans. They don’t take steps or do the necessary work to move from “future state” to “current state.” Thomas Edison captured a Wanna-be well with his quote:
“Vision without execution is hallucination.”
My version is “Vision without execution is a Wanna-be!
Test yourself – are you a Wanna-be?
Do you have a list of plans, ideas, goals, dreams, wishes and/or intentions? If so, answer the following:
- Are they becoming a reality as we speak?
- Can you point to effort made last week to bring them to fruition?
- Is there time in your calendar (this week) allocated to work on them?
- Do you have a completion date?
- Are there consequences if you fail to execute?
If you answer “no” to several of these – you may be a Wanna-be too!
I’ve given this serious thought. I don’t like being a Wanna-be. It’s not going to happen again. Let me share some ways to shake off any Wanna-be that is sticking to you!
“Execute” the Work:
- Batch your time: Until you literally carve out time (and protect it), you won’t execute your plan. Block out calendar time each Sunday for the week. If you can’t call it “make my dreams come true,” be creative – label it “preparation” or “meeting.” Protect the time and use it to execute change.
- Create Mile Markers: Most dreams or visions are big and hairy – they aren’t accomplished in a week. To facilitate movement, develop mile markers that specify key sub-goals along the way. Break your journey into phases. Use these to create clear, achievable deliverables that move you toward your final goal.
- Do Something: You must work on this every week. If you don’t execute with a predictable cadence – it slips to the back burner. Once on the back burner, it slowly fades to black. It doesn’t need to be huge. Some effort to refresh your intentions. Keep it real and keep it alive. Nothing breaks resistance faster than action.
- Make a Commitment: If your idea is a positive intention – it doesn’t have teeth. If you make a big, non-reversible commitment you have skin in the game. This is the concept of “burning the lifeboats.” When the leader literally burns the lifeboats, the soldier knows he/she must capture the island or perish in the process. Do something with that type of commitment. For example, if you submit your resignation letter for the end of the year (commitment), you’ll be very inspired to figure out your next job! (execution)
- Use Technology: There are endless tools today to help execute your vision. Use these to keep moving. Here are some of my favorites:
- To help keep efforts organized and structured I use Bear.
- To keep a daily journal of ideas, actions or insights I use Day One.
- To plan and visualize my goal and the related steps I use a MindMap.
- To capture brainstorms or thoughts on the fly (to organize later) I use Dropvox.
- To write/organize large, creative projects I like Scrivener.
In hindsight, that lunch was the best thing to happen to me. It revealed I’d become a Wanna-be. This article is your “lunch.” Take a look in the mirror. If you do more “talking” than “doing” – it’s time to change.
The best thing about being a Wanna-be is you have a dream!
The worst thing – it’s just a hallucination without execution.