Most wont

I’ll never forget chatting with one of my friends about progress made after a year of working towards self-employment (having successfully made the transition). He expressed a bit of shock and I was surprised — I told him it’s what I wanted to do. His reply when I pointed this out?

“Yeah but most people say they’re going to do this and that. You actually did it.”

And he was right.

It’s not that I did something so remarkable, it’s that I did what I said I’d do.

I was talking to a friend the other night about how you outgrow certain relationships simply because they don’t progress in the direction of your goals. My mentor has been drilling this into me as well.

It isn’t to say that everyone in your life needs to inspire and motivate you, but you certainly can’t do the same thing you’ve always done if you’re serious about growth. How this is manifested in your life is up to you, but it’s never not true and it always matters.

The truth — and I’ve gotten to the point where I view this as neither sad nor upsetting but rather a fact of life — is that most people aren’t going to do what’s required in order to get where they say they want to be. And I think there are a few reasons for this.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest contributor is fear. It’s terrifying to stare opportunity in the face and imagine ourselves winning. What if we succeed? We could be judged by our peers! Who do we think we are? Opting out of a mundane existence and trying to be extraordinary? Sit back down!

One interesting group is the contingent that talks the talk but fools themselves into thinking that they’re living the life they imagine. You’ll see them on every #blogchat and retweeting posts and quotes from social media darlings, but when it comes to shipping the work that terrifies them and sharing their art with the world…crickets.

I don’t point this out to make fun of them, we all have a bit of self-delusion and fear that sabotages us. But it’s important to see things as they really are so we can learn from those who are actually showing up every day, slaying the dragon, and doing the work they were born to do.

It doesn’t matter in the end though, all that matters is what we decide to do.

“The question is, ‘What’s the main difference between a pro and an amateur?’ My answer: depth of commitment.”

-Stephen Pressfield

I’m no longer inclined to push people who don’t ask for my help or go out of my way to help someone who’s trying to find their way. It’s not that I’m any less willing or generous, it’s that 1) people who want to figure something out…will figure it out, and 2) it’s easy to confuse the amassing of tactics with the actual work when you’re stalling. The work is the work.

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.