One of the greatest quotes I have ever heard is “You Miss Every Shot You Don’t Take”. Wayne Gretsky is probably best known for the quote, but it is a mantra used by countless others who have achieved greatness in one way or another.
I believe life is all about taking shots, and taking shots has one primary component, namely, taking action. The problem is, however, taking action is much easier said than done.
The Four Components Of An Action Plan
There are four basic components when implementing a plan of action. First we gather information; next we set goals; then we plan a strategy to achieve those goals; and fourth and most important, we take action.
Truth be told, most people are pretty good at step one as gathering information has become the easiest thing to do since the creation of the Internet, most specifically search engines. Setting goals and planning a strategy are incrementally harder, which makes it easier to stop at step one. I would guess that the statistics are something like this…
Gathering information- 75% success rate
Gathering Information AND Setting Goals- 50%
Gathering Information, Setting Goals and Planning a Strategy- 25%
Gathering Information, Setting Goals, Planning A Strategy AND Taking Action- <1%
Although I am sure these statistics are not quite exact, I use them simply to prove a point on how few people take action. Take New Year’s resolutions for example… Why is it that so many people have the same resolutions this year as they did last year (and the year before that…)? If this doesn’t apply to you, welcome to the under 1% club.
Why Taking Action Is So Frickin’ Hard
Taking action is so hard because it is the only one of the steps which quite simply, requires us to well, you guessed it… take action. Gathering information, making lists, and setting goals you can do on your couch… action requires getting off you’re a*s.
The #1 reason I believe why taking action is so hard is because of the fear of failure . Fear of failure is a crippling state of mind that prevents us from taking action and going after what we want. It is quite simply a dream killer. Those who are fortunate enough to have learned how to overcome fear, come to find taking action as exciting, as opposed to intimidating. The only way we overcome fear is to look at rejection as an opportunity for later success. Some of the greatest business people I have come across have started as stockbrokers, cold callers and/or door-to-door salespeople. Why? Well let’s take my partner Gary for example…
A very long time ago Gary had a short stunt working in a stock brokerage firm. He wasn’t allowed to go home until he made 500 calls. To make matters even more awkward, being a ‘prospect’ he had to make the calls standing on top of his desk. He would get rejected 99 times out of every hundred calls on average. What did that mean to him? It meant he closed five people a day. If you asked Gary, he would tell you that he would never have closed those five deals each day without being rejected by the other 495. Once you learn to smile in the face of rejection, you become fearless. To this day, Gary is fearless.
John Paul DeJoria, of John Paul Mitchell Systems, the global hair products empire, attributes his success to selling Encyclopedia’s when he was young as it gave him the thick skin necessary to fail until he succeeded. As he puts (and I am paraphrasing), when you get the door slammed on your face fifty times in a row and you learn to knock on that 51st door with the same belief you will close the deal that you had before you knocked on that first door, that is a winning attitude that cannot and will not ever be stopped. The only time you fail is when you quit.
Whatever you are doing, you are certainly not going to have all the answers when you begin. The key is to gather as much information as you can, plan a strategy, set goals and take action, knowing you will make mistakes. You must be open to learn from those mistakes to modify your plan so it gets back in line with your goals.
When all is said is done, at the end of the day I know I will be happy if I can say I gave it my all, I took the actions, and left it all on the field. Remember, we are only responsible for the effort, not the outcome. I need that piece of mind and so do you. Why? Because it eliminates the resentment and the regret , which kills people inside. The old questions of, “why didn’t I try this”, and “why didn’t I do that?” are killers. By taking that out of the equation, those resentments do not exist. No regrets.
How Does Someone Who Is Great Become Great?
I have found is that many people look at the ‘gurus’ of a particular market, and simply psych themselves out. They say to themselves “what’s the point? I’ll never be as good as him (or her)” … My question to them is, how do you know? What I can guarantee is that they will never be as good if they don’t put in the effort or it least take a shot.
This can applied to nearly anything in life. Let’s look at some sports as an example. When I teach young kids how to play basketball, (my nephews included) often times they will never shoot simply because they are afraid they will miss the shot. Translation? No action due to fear of failure. In baseball, the greatest hitters in history fail 70% of the time.
We also see the same thing in television. The biggest and most successful reality shows are all about taking shots. The Voice, Shark Tank, The Bachelor, Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, The X Factor, The Amazing Race (and I could go on) are all about action and about taking a shot. They say America is the land of opportunity. This is true, but in order to have an opportunity you need to create that opportunity. You cannot sit around and wait for it. You need to take the shot.
So take your shot today. Trust me, shoulda’-woulda’-coulda’-land is a place you never want to be.