The other week, I heard this great piece of advice on a podcast. Brian Clark asked uber-blogger Seth Godin how he wrote, and Seth responded in typical Zen-like fashion:
We have this idea that if we ate the same breakfast cereal that Stephen King ate, we’d be able to write like him. It isn’t true.
What does he call our obsession with celebrities’ and famous authors’ best creative practices? Stalling. It made me think of all the areas in my life that I am stalling to do the really hard, important work of creating.
The stall list
- If you need to be writing a book and instead write a blog post, you are stalling.
- If want to live your dream and spend your day sending out resumes, you’re stalling.
- If you are called to lead and wait to make a decision, you are stalling.
- If you obsess over your blog stats, you’re stalling.
- If you call a meeting only to schedule another meeting, you are stalling (and killing the productivity of your entire team).
- If you spend two hours having coffee to talk about creativity, you’re probably stalling.
- If you go to a conference to hear something you already know, you’re stalling.
- If you’re “mulling it over” or “weighing my options,” admit it: these are stall tactics.
- If you begin a tough conversation with false pleasantries (e.g. “With all due respect…”), you are stalling.
- If you ask for a second opinion or wait for more information, you’re most likely delaying the inevitable — doing something.
- If you often say, “I dunno… what do you wanna do?” you’re still stalling. (My wife hates it when I do this.)
- If you’re “just checking in” on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), you are stalling.
- If you’re taking multiple bathroom breaks in an hour, you’re stalling (or you’ve got an infection).
I hate stalling. And I do it all the time. It’s time to stop stalling and start creating.
Decide. Make a difference. Act now. We don’t need you next week. We need your heart — your passion, your pathos, your love — today.
We can’t afford to wait. You can’t, either. Consider the opportunity cost of stalling. Is it really worth it?
So… what’s on your stall list? Share in the comments.