(This article is a 3-4 minute read.)
A business coach I follow talks a lot about how, in this day and age of information at our fingertips, we all end up consuming a lot of information, but not doing a lot with it. We read articles and books, watch TED talks, listen to podcasts, take classes, etc. hoping for “the answer” to whatever it is we are struggling with or want to improve in our lives. We consume the information, and some of the information provided even tells us exactly what to do. But as human beings in this culture, we tend not to implement or put into practice what we learn. You’ve fallen into this trap too, right? I know I have.
A very wise teacher I once had gave me a book by Thich Nhat Hanh called The Miracle of Mindfulness. Inside the cover, she wrote, “These tools can change your life if you let them.” And she was right. They were simple, yet life-changing tools the author was teaching, yet they would do absolutely nothing for me if I didn’t put them into practice. The same goes for the tools and strategies I teach in my programs (and sometimes talk about in these articles). They have to be used to make a difference.
Day after day, I practice what I teach, because I am in the trenches of life just like you. But the skills, tools, and strategies I’ve learned (and that I pass on to others) have changed my life. I don’t have “the answers” but I do have tools in my toolbox that help me to navigate struggles and build purpose in my life in a way that I wasn’t able to before I put them into practice. (And I love helping other people learn and use what has helped me…which is why I do what I do!)
But I too, fall into the habit of being a consumer of information sometimes. For example, I went through a time when I consumed a lot of information about running a business. For a while when I was starting out, I took every course, webinar, and teleclass that came my way and read everything I could get my hands on. Then I realized that I was doing a whole lot of learning and not much doing. When I decided to stop learning for a moment and start doing, I made bigger strides forward toward where I wanted to go. Not that there’s anything wrong with learning of course (I LOVE learning) but I just had to start doing something in order for anything to change. And change is what we really want, right?
What I learned when I did this, is that I knew enough to get started in taking steps to move forward without learning more and more. While there are general principals in business of course, much of what happens in building a solo-preneur business is experimentation. I can try things, see what happens, collect data, and if it works, continue more of the same, and if it doesn’t try something different. Rinse and repeat.
It can be the same with building the life we want. We can stop consuming information for a moment, and choose to start practicing what we’ve learned. You can take one concept you’ve learned that resonates for you and use it…today…right now. Then you could see what happens, use your experience as your guide. Collect data, so to speak, then if it works, do more of the same. If it doesn’t, try something else. Rinse and repeat. Practicing is not as sexy as learning new things, but practicing creates change.
Of course, there are times when we really do need to find a tool or strategy that will help us. Especially if we haven’t had success with a certain problem. In that case, consuming makes sense…finding the information we need to move forward. We need to find the folks we trust, learn what we need to learn from them, and do the un-glamorous part…put tools into practice again and again.
Have you ever found this idea to be true in your life? Write to me to share your thoughts: dawn[at]dawnstratton[dot]com.
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