You Are What You Do, Not What You Say You’ll Do

Out of nowhere last week I started humming a familiar John Lennon tune and I immediately reached back into my music archive and pulled up “Nobody Told Me”, a song initially left incomplete due to Lennon’s death, but ultimately finished and released by Yoko Ono in 1984. 

“There’s always something cooking and nothing in the pot,” goes one of the refrains and in addition to providing me with the stimulation for this week’s blog post, it also presented the perfect microcosm for the topic at hand – wasted effort and the need to always act with passion.  

About the same time as my musical interlude began, I stumbled across an online “factoid” claiming that the number of failed blogs totaled something like 175-million. That’s a lot of good intention, but even more bad execution.

My guess is that there exists a similarly surprising number of failed podcasts, just like the scores of half-written books before and for that matter shuttered business startups throughout history. Good intention. Bad execution. 

Fortunately, we live in a world filled with big dreamers, and that’s a very good thing. 

I love to read about the likes of Walt Disney (he of the “if you can dream it, you can do it” mindset) and Nikola Tesla (the inventor who came a full century before the Elon Musk automobile) and Abraham Lincoln (who for the internet generation is almost as famous for the meme/myth about “all of his failures” leading ultimately to great success as he is about his leadership during the Civil War), individuals who dared to dream big, oftentimes failed, but then continued the struggle despite the setbacks and challenges. 

Failure is a part of progress, but it is passion that plays an even larger role in ultimate success. 

Believe me, it’s not easy to always act with passion. That’s especially true if you’re not sold on the concept, or the message, or the mission. 

A salesperson will not be successful selling a product unless they are first sold on it themselves. I call it the “I Am Sold Myself” solution and it appears on every week’s sales meeting agenda here in our office. 

It’s the same way with just about every business. 

Oftentimes, it takes courage and vision to take that first step, but without conviction and passion you’ll never push across the finish line. 

In today’s world, there exists a strong penchant for talking big before the first sale is made, the doors to a new business have opened, or a campaign has started to take shape.  

Again, dreaming big isn’t a bad thing, it’s even a large part of developing confidence, unless the passion for success and follow-through are lacking. Then it’s just hollow words. 

For years when someone would ask me about what I was working on, what the next step in my career held, or how I planned to reach a certain goal I would recall Steve Martin’s line from the 1991 movie “Grand Canyon”.  

“I think if you talk about stuff, maybe that takes the place of doing it.” 

Even though I’m not always able to live by that credo, those words ring clear in my head as strongly today as they first did more than 25 years ago.  

Focus on the outcome. Concentrate on the execution. Deliver the passion. The results will usually take care of themselves. 

Yes, that formula may be contrary for today’s “instant gratification” generation, but there is one constant about business that still holds true. 

Results matter.