Ready, Set, Action! Why You Have to Get Started to Be Great

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“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.”

– Les Brown

When I was in my teens, my fantasy was to live in a big house in Connecticut, be happily married and spend my days as a writer. Part of my fantasy came true, I am happily married, however, I have never lived in a big house in Connecticut and did not spend most of my days writing.

The reality is that over the years, I sporadically wrote poetry and some unpublished articles, but did not have the confidence to take my writing to the next level. I spent decades procrastinating, reading books about writing, taking writing classes and dreaming about the day I would get an article published. But just thinking about writing doesn’t put words on the page.

Then something unexpected happened. While sitting at my computer and thinking about trying to write an article, I heard my inner voice say “Just…start…typing!” So I did — and the words came so easily. Even though I had no direction in mind, the article took on a life of its own and before I knew it, it was written. I decided to see if I could get it published, so I submitted it to a national trade magazine and was completely stunned when it was accepted for publication. It felt empowering when I first saw my article in print so I continued writing and submitting articles for publication and haven’t stopped since.

Have you ever noticed that it takes more time thinking about what you need to do than it actually takes to do it? For instance, you can spend hours anguishing about making a phone call, when in actuality it will probably take you less than five minutes to make it. Not only can you cross it off your to do list, you will feel so relieved after you take action.

Les Brown, the motivational speaker and author said “You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” That is so true! It doesn’t matter what you need to do – make a phone call, exercise, visit the doctor, go back to school, paint, write, lose weight — all it takes is the first step and you’re off and running.

In the past, I was a “yo yo” dieter. I wasted so many years losing and gaining weight. During that time I read numerous diet books, tried all the latest diets and visited nutritionists, but unless you’re ready to do the work required, nothing changes. This year I decided to “take action” and stop the yo-yoing. I am now committed to walking most days of the week, eating the right foods and tracking them, and attending weekly meetings. And I am seeing great results. I’ve lost almost fifty pounds in the last six months and have dropped three to four sizes. If I hadn’t decided to take action, I wouldn’t be reaching my goals.

A friend of mine nicknamed me “Lucky” because she says I’m always winning things. I told her she could be lucky too — all it takes is action. If you don’t buy a raffle ticket or enter the sweepstakes, you can’t win the prize. I take action and enter the sweepstakes and sometimes I win. You can’t win if you don’t play. Just like life. Luck is when preparation (i.e. action) and opportunity meet.

Another area taking action can help is depression. I remember a day when I was in my twenties that I was so depressed I was immobile. My mother happened to call from out of state and I told her how I was feeling. She said “When we hang up, I want you to take a walk to the corner and back.” I remember thinking that was the last thing I wanted to do, but I forced myself to put one foot in front of the other. When I got back home from my short walk, I had the energy to go to the grocery and after the grocery I had the energy to do more. My depression was gone!

Like begets like. You can either wallow in the luxury of depression and get even more depressed, or you can take action and feel happy and energetic which will lead to even more positive feelings. Make the right choice – ready, set, action!