I recently attended a conference on leadership. Guest speakers ranged from the founder of Tom’s (shoes) to Leymah Gbowee, nobel peace prize winner. Each speaker had accomplished great things. They had started businesses, written books, raised families, survived medical crisis, negotiated peace or entertained millions. Their stories were all different. Their journeys varied.
But no matter how different each of their experiences there was a common thread. The journey for each of them began the same way. With a vision. An idea that sparked passion deep inside. A hesitant belief that their thought was worth sharing.
That was all. An idea started all of these amazing accomplishments.
Every day we have moments of inspiration. The difference between igniting those ideas and leaving them stagnate is the willingness to act. Every person who took that stage talked about the genesis of their idea. And each and every one ignored the impulse to get all of the answers and instead jumped into action.
When we have a thought it’s easy, and prudent, to start asking all kinds of questions. How much money do I need to start? Who can influence adoption of this concept? Will anyone but me care? The act of asking questions is necessary. The problem arises when we wait to answer all of these questions before taking action.
Instead of holding back, every one of these inspirational leaders jumped right in. And every one found the answers they needed by acting.
Indeed, I found this to be true of my own business. In February I will celebrate my second anniversary as The Marketing Advisory Network. It has been the most rewarding two years of my career. Yet, it took 5 years to get myself to make the plunge. I hemmed and I hawed nervous about taking the leap of launching my own practice. I was waiting for all the answers. Then one day, in part due to the wise guidance of my friend Dan Kraus, I opened my eyes and took the leap. The simple act of committing to the idea changed the course of my professional life, long before I had most of the answers.
As I help my clients, friends and family gear up for another year this conference reminded me of the most important principle for impacting change.