… Or Are You Living Life?
We have all heard the old adage “Measure twice, cut once”. It is drilled into our heads from the time we are little to think about the consequences before we make a decision. We would all agree that is great advice – to a point. It is also possible to spend so much time trying to get the ‘measurement’ right that the decision gets made for us by the passage of time. And all of the sudden life is living you rather then you living life.
I fell into this trap not to long ago. So I will use myself as a bad example:
I am on a mailing list that sends me three emails a day of reporters, producers, and authors looking for sources to quote on a variety of topics. All I have to do is read through them and respond to the ones I am qualified to discuss. Pretty straightforward. There is one catch; if I want to be interviewed I need to respond quickly.
About three weeks ago I was thinking maybe I was wasting my time with those emails because I hadn’t gotten any interviews from it in quite awhile. But then I looked at my behavior. I noticed two things. One – I wasn’t reading through the email as soon as it came in. I was waiting to finish what I was doing and sometimes even until the next day. Two – I wasn’t responding right away. Instead I was copy/pasting the possible queries into a word document with the thought “I’ll re-read it in a bit to make sure I’m really qualified” (i.e. do more measuring). Sometimes I did reread them and respond. Sometimes I would “forget” and miss the deadline.
I realized I was letting life live me. I was procrastinating on the decision so long that it was made for me. Either I wasn’t responding at all or when I did it was so late that it was likely someone else had already been interviewed. Clearly the mailing list wasn’t at fault, I was.
I got my act together and started reading and responding in a timely fashion and I have been interviewed three times in the last week. In that small space I am back to living life and not letting it live me.
I offer you these basic steps to making sure you are living life:
- Are you getting the results you want, at a pace that works for you?
~ If yes, great! Continue with the status quo.
~ If no, proceed to step two.
- What information do you need to create change?
~ Is that information you can get? – Gather it.
~ Are you expecting too much information to make sure you make the ‘right’ choice? – There is no crystal ball.
- Get what you’re thinking out of your head. Put it on paper. Make a list of pros and cons. Don’t let it just swirl around and confuse you.
~ Make a decision. Standing at the crossroad isn’t doing you any good. Start moving in the direction that is best based on the information you have.
- Evaluate. Are things turning out the way you wanted them to?
~ If yes, great! Continue on that path.
~ If no, do you need to work harder or change paths? Pick one and do it!
Life will happen whether you live it or not. There is no ‘pause’ button you can push while you figure things out. If you aren’t moving forward, you are moving backwards because your competition and all of life is plowing ahead. So stop measuring and start cutting! It is the only way you will ever make any progress!
How do you decide when you have done enough measuring and to start cutting? We would love to hear your ideas!