“Just Do It”
A couple months ago I was eating dinner with an entrepreneur in Boston. He is the founder of a company that’s expected to sell for millions in the next few years, and I made sure to sit next to him in order to ask a few questions.
My first question to him was, of course, about building a company. It wasn’t a well structured question (I rambled incessantly) but it was along the lines of…
“I don’t ‘feel’ like I can do the things necessary to become an entrepreneur. How did you get to the point where it felt normal to do what you do?”
I went on and on about how I ‘felt’ awkward thinking of ever managing employees. I rambled about how I didn’t currently ‘feel’ that I could talk with clients and legitimately provide value and demand payment. I went on and on about how I ‘felt’ that so many things were just impossible for me.
After politely listening to my rant for a few seconds he put a hand up to quiet me. His eyes had an almost glazed over look to them, as if he had listened to this ‘I don’t feel like I can do it’ speech hundreds of times.
Looking at me as if I were a child, he said three words.
“Just do it.”
I didn’t think that answered my question, and I came back at him with another ramble.
“Yes, but what if ‘just doing it’ doesn’t feel right. It’s so hard to mentally get started. Blah, Blah, Blah…”
Once again he put his hand up to quiet me…
“The best advice I can give you is… Just do it.”
Having enough with our conversation about my feelings, he turned to someone else and began chatting with them.
I was confused after this conversation.
By this time I already knew myself as a hard worker. I knew that when I set my mind to do something, I could power through it. If there was a menial job that needed to get done, I was able to ‘just do it’ for hours at a time if necessary.
Whether it was studying, doing a menial job, or hitting the gym, I was great at looking at something objectively and deciding if it needed to get done and then following through with my decision. I was proud of my work ethic. Stamina wasn’t a problem for me.
After thinking about this ‘Just do it’ conversation for a few weeks, however, I began to see some unnerving patterns and flaws in what I thought was a great ‘just do it’ attitude.
Some of the clearest examples of this were very apparent to me when I first began my career on Odesk.
I ‘felt’ awkward applying to my first few jobs. I felt like I was asking for money but that I wasn’t going to be able to provide value on my end. The effort necessary for applying to jobs didn’t bother me, but sending in the first application was months in coming.
As I set my own paycheck, I ‘felt’ awkward asking for more than $15 per hour. (The most I had earned previously from an employer) It was hard for me to ask for $30 per blog post when I knew I could write them in just a few minutes. My feelings didn’t effect my work ethic (I was able to write 10 articles per day when necessary) but they did make me ‘feel’ like asking for money was somehow unfair.
I ‘felt’ awkward hiring my first employee. Once again, I felt like I wasn’t being fair. How could I ask someone else to do work for me and allow myself to make a profit in the middle? It felt awkward and I was worried that it wouldn’t work out.
Before doing anything new, I always feel like I shouldn’t do it. New things feel awkward, wrong, and usually uncomfortable.
“Just do it.” has rung in my ears ever since I spoke with that entrepreneur in Boston. Even when I didn’t think I had the right skills, just doing it got me to move ahead. When I messed up, I learned something and dealt with the consequences. When I got it right my reality shifted and the new action became normal for me.
Before applying to my first few jobs I didn’t feel comfortable doing so. Even so, I ‘just did it’ and lo and behold I had three people respond offering me work.
I didn’t feel comfortable asking for $30 per blog post, but I did it anyway and got a confirmation that this would be acceptable.
I didn’t feel comfortable hiring an employee, but I typed out a job description anyway and got a text from a highly skilled freelancer a few hours later. I was scared submitting her work for the first time (I just knew that my boss would tell me the work was unsatisfactory and that I was fired) but I submitted it anyway and successfully got paid.
Throughout everything, ‘just do it’ has been a mantra.
Just *bleepin* do it!!!
It might not work out, but logically weighing the pros and cons of action show that it is almost always better to move forward. The reasons for inaction are 90%-100% emotional and NOT logical.
The reason I didn’t want to act was because it didn’t ‘feel’ right. This was true even when faced with the fact that a single success could pave the way for me to travel the world forever!
Silly emotions make ‘just doing it’ very, very hard. Silly emotions keep most of us from doing much of anything outside of our comfort zones.
‘Just do it’ is the best way I have found to get out of these emotional traps.
‘Just do it’ has gotten me through my disbelief in my own abilities.
‘Just do it’ has pushed me through my skepticism.
‘Just do it’ has gotten me to take risks that I afterwards discovered weren’t nearly so risky at all.
‘Just do it’ will help you reach your goals as well.
P.S. Just do it NOW!