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Living In The Land Of “Later”

Living In The Land Of  “Later”

From the notebook of Terry L. Brock

I know, I know. We have to make the sales call. Yeah, we need that marketing plan. And, on yeah, I need to make the call to Client Jones who might be interested in working with us.

We have our “I’ll do it later” items and they never seem to get done. It is more than procrastination. It is laziness. We don’t like to call it that, but always saying “later” stems from laziness. Denis Waitley talks about living on “Someday I’ll.” This is a wonderful place where we say that “Someday I’ll take that trip.” “Someday I’ll get the degree.” But the sad part is that “Someday I’ll” is not a place that really exists. We have to make it concrete to make it happen. “Later” is not a day of the week. Someday is not a day of the week. Only when we make things specific do they get done.

Living in the land of “Later” has its roots in fear; fear of the unknown, fear of what they might think. We often fear that we’ll be rejected.

Oh, you don’t actually say no. You say “later” which is much easier. Yet, we know that “later” is not a day of week. It is like someday.

So, it requires brutal honesty, at least with yourself. What are your priorities and what is most important for you to get done? How can you position your business to address the needs of the customers, not just what you want done.

The most dangerous part is that you’re living in that warm bathtub of water. As I’ve said before, that bathtub is nice once in a while for relaxation. However, if you just stay there you only get wrinkles! You have to force yourself to get up, dry off and head out into the world to get things done.

Another benefit is that once you start doing it, often reality is not as scary as what we imagined it would be like. Once you’re moving you get into the concept that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discusses so brilliantly about the magic of flow. Once you get into that flow, you find that things start working right and moving in the right direction, as they should. Once you have momentum moving in your direction you get things done and you feel great.

Alfred Adler, the great Austrian psychiatrist once said, “The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.” We think about something way too much and engage in “paralysis by analysis.” We don’t actually come out and say “No” because even that would be too definitive and make a commitment. Instead of saying no we simply use that terrible word, “later” which means indefinitely and the project, the sales call, the great possibility dies a miserable, slow death.

In business it is vital to manage by the numbers. Numbers are objective. They let us know how we’re really doing, not just how we feel or how we think we’re doing.

I know when I work out on my Schwinn AirDyne exercise cycle that it is sometimes infuriating to have that odometer keeping track of exactly how many miles I’ve cycled and what my level is. There are times when I feel like things are going well and I’m doing just great. However, the numbers are there and tell the truth (as long as my batteries are working fine!).

What numbers are you using to measure your success in business? Think of the critical measures of success that are needed in your business. How many sales calls do you have to make to get a sale? How many mailings do you need to do? How effective is your e-mail marketing? Finally, let’s measure what really matters: sales and profit. The numbers tell the story, even if it is painful.

But we only get those answers when we blast through the barrier of “later” and do things today. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said, “Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute -Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated -Begin it, and then the work will be completed!” Those words, spoken centuries ago, are still valid today. There is a magic that happens when we begin.

Here are some steps you can take to make it happen:

1. List the things you know you should do. This requires brutal honesty. Which sales call out there should you make? How is it best to approach that prospect?

2. Create a burning, white-hot vision of the success you’ll see when it happens. This is needed as the fuel to keep you going when the inevitable obstacles hit.

3. Play with the challenges. Yes, there are going to be challenges. This is Planet Earth. It works that way here. So expect them and figure out how to get around them. Have fun with them. Laugh at them. Make lots of contingency plans. Even if those contingency plans don’t come about, you’ll learn and grow through the process.

4. Take Action! Those two words are the key. You have to take action and do it boldly. Sure you’ll make some mistakes. Welcome them. We all learn that way.

5. Repeat as needed. This is an on-going process. It never stops. That’s the way life is and it keeps us on our toes that way.

You’re busy reading this article now. You’ve got another hundred things to do. Don’t get drowned in the sea of busy-ness and neglect the really important things in life. As the Nike commercial says, “Do it Now!” That’s a great way to stay out of the land of “later” and move to the land of “Yes! I did it!”

Terry Brock is an internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author in the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is a syndicated
columnist for Biz Journals across America and can be reached at 407-363-0505 , by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at www.terrybrock.com .

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