The First Step to Making a Difference: Get Out of Bed

Some days, making a difference begins with something as simple as getting out of bed. It means getting up and doing work that matters. Which always starts slowly and intentionally.

Get Out of Bed
Photo credit: Meredith Farmer (Creative Commons)

This morning, I didn’t want to get up. My mind was tired and my body exhausted. Having spent the last several weeks training for a half marathon, I just wanted to “phone it in.”

Something inside me said I just couldn’t do it.

The voice that holds us back

I’ve heard that voice before.

Every morning, I hear it. That soft but persistent whisper, telling me to give up before I begin. It says I’m not good enough. It tells me that another hour in bed won’t hurt a bit.

This voice is familiar; it speaks rationally and in a recognizable tone. As a result, I often believe it, entertaining whatever propositions it makes. But deep down, I know it’s a liar.

Just this morning, I heard it again. But this time, I refused to believe it. In spite of how I felt, I got up, disciplined myself to show up even though I didn’t feel like it.

And you know what? I survived.

Not only that, I made something that mattered — at least in some small way. All because I kicked up the sheets, planted my feet on the floor, and got to work.

You can do this, too. Despite how little you want to or how drained you feel, you can get started doing work that matters. All it takes is the will to show up, the strength to press in, and the perseverance to continue.

Sometimes, making a difference is just that simple. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s doable.

Where greatness comes from

Here’s what I know:

  • No great leader achieved greatness by sleeping in.
  • No successful general was renowned for slacking off.
  • No timeless artist was made famous by her sloth.

Certainly, rest is important, but there is a difference between slowing down and stalling. Don’t mistake the need to take life slowly with a procrastination habit.

Making a difference always comes down to momentum.

When we’re beginning, our greatest enemy is inertia. What holds us back is our lack of forward motion.

So what is it must you do to get started? Move.

How I deal with this

This is especially difficult for me, as a writer. By nature, I’m an emotional creature: a sensitive, fickle artist full of complicated emotions.

Feelings are my greatest source of inspiration. But they are also my biggest distraction and cause for creative block.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how you feel. You just need to do it. (Insert Nike swoosh here.) Yes, passion is important. So is recognizing burnout and realizing when you’re just plain empty.

But inspiration often hides in the guise of  hard work.

Many times, I’ve found this to be true. Epiphanies come, if they come at all, not through lightning-bolt moments of illumination, but in the midst of deliberate action.

There is unparalleled fruit that comes from the discipline of doing what you know you’re made to do. Even if it’s hard. But to begin, you must get out of bed and get to work.

What gets you up in the morning? Share in the comments.