Wing It – Why Action Beats Planning
“Stop thinking. Start doing.”
– Emma Issacs, “Winging It”
Like many of my favourite books, I found this gem by mistake. I was in a bookstore a couple of months ago, staring at a shelf, head tilted sideways as I scanned a row of titles and author names. I can’t remember which book I was looking for…but this is the one I found:
“Winging It; Why Action Beats Planning Every Time” by Emma Isaacs
If you have been procrastinating on starting something that is really important to you – or moving something forward to the next level, then you might want to get a copy of this book and read it, highlighter in hand.
Personally, I don’t procrastinate much anymore. The Universe has quite effectively (and very rudely) beaten that habit out of me. If you need a kick in the pants in the procrastination department, feel free to learn from the doozy I received in: “The Danger of Comfort – Lessons from the Cubicle”.
But just because I don’t procrastinate as much doesn’t mean that I always finish things.
I am a tremendous planner and starter of projects. Completing them – to the point of shipping them, as Seth Godin loves to remind us (and wisely so) – is another matter.
The “Winging It” book was a timely reminder to me that, as the subtitle says: action beats planning.
Yes, planning is important. Of course it is, we all know that.But there is a real danger in spending too much time and energy planning one’s tasks, goals and dreams - instead of actually getting one’s bottom off the couch and getting the damn work DONE. Click To Tweet
Here are some key points I took from the “Winging It” book:
“The most important work to do is on our mindsets and self-talk.”
“When we give up the need to control everything and plan for every conceivable outcome, we create space for the unknown.”
“When we don’t have overly thought-out expectations of what’s going to happen, we make room for surprises and allow ourselves into uncharted territory. This is where we find growth.”
“When you wing it, you learn how to trust yourself and develop more confidence.”
“We rely too much on external advice and depend on external forces to give us cues.”
“In the process of soul-searching with a bunch of souls that aren’t ours, we lose valuable time that could have been spent looking inward and making a start.”
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that success is achieved through perpetual motion…the secret is to build the discipline (until it’s second nature) to find a tiny way to move the game forward each day – an e-mail here, a call there, even a session in the park, giving yourself the space to dream.”
“The goal is to run your day, not have the day run you.”
“Over the years, I’ve learned that you simply must do the things that scare you.”
“It’s often in the small actions that we find our courage.”
“Make more moves and fewer announcements.”
“If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right.”
“Done is better than perfect.”
I shall leave it there, for this blog…because that last quote is my biggest take-away. In fact, I just had, “Done is better than perfect” tattooed on my butt (just kidding…I had it tattooed on my forehead, backwards, so I can see it every time I look in the mirror).
But seriously…Perfectionism is an end game…as in, if we wait until something is perfect, we will be waiting forever. Click To Tweet
In other words, if you want to do something, do it. Time is passing.
May we all spend significantly less time and energy coming up with The Grand Plan – and instead come up with The Next Three Steps. Then take those steps.
Then repeat 😊
Because when we do, that’s when the magic starts to happen. In my experience, the Universe seems to prefer working with willing participants…people who are doing their part, stepping up to the plate, day after day, to help transform their dreams into reality.
I mean, as amazing as the Universe is, even it can’t pitch us a home run, if we aren’t at the plate to hit the ball.
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and a Director with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her weekly blog, Weekly Words of Wisdom, subscribe here.