Since my No-Compromise Leadership book was published at the end of 2008, the one question I’m asked most is: How long did it take you write it? (Not really sure I want to know exactly how long it took.) This question is most often followed by, “Someday, I’m gonna write a book.” These days, it seems lots of people have a book inside them that they would like to write. Truth is, their book will never reach their fingertips on a keyboard. Their books get stuck in, “Someday, I’m gonna …”
My book was stuck in someday for a long time. Then, one day, I removed the “someday” and locked onto, “I’m gonna write my book.” I knew it was a daunting project, and today, I have a newfound respect for the term “daunting.” My question for you is, what could you accomplish if you removed the “someday” from all those “someday, I’m gonna …” things you want to do? Could you write that book? I bet you could. Could you transform your company into that “beyond-your-wildest-dreams something you want it to be”? I bet you could - or at least get pretty darn close. It begins by ditching the “someday” and locking into the “I’m gonna …”
If you’re a regular reader of my blog posts, you probably know that I got into road biking three years ago. I remember the first time I rode 20 miles. I fell three times that day because I was “one with my bike,” and I forgot to unclip when I stopped. I made it home with my leg muscles burning, numb hands, aching shoulders and big scrapes on my left leg and arm. (I prefer to fall to my left.) The next day, I went out and did 25 miles and only fell once. A week later I did a 45-mile ride. That’s when I said, “Someday, I’m gonna do a century ride (100 miles).”
The following spring, I ditched the “someday.” To date, I’ve done four century rides. On June 19, at 5:10 a.m., I left the Harpoon Brewery in Boston with about 1,300 other insane riders to begin the 150-ride to the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, Vermont - and do it in one day. The Harpoon Brewery to Brewery ride is described as “grueling” because it has more than 7,000 feet of climbing - half of which is up two mountains. They fondly call the second one The Leviathan. With nothing but “I’m gonna do this” screaming in my head, I made it over The Leviathan.
It was 2:00 p.m. I had been riding for nine hours and completed 98 miles. The temperature was in the mid 90s. The heat had sucked the life out of me. My left knee was aching. I had climbed a total of 5,298 feet and beaten The Leviathan. I had nothing left. I called it quits at the next rest stop. My bike and I hitched a ride the last 50 miles to the beer. I’m 60 years old. Yes, I was disappointed that I didn’t finish the ride, but I was proud of the 100 miles I was able to complete.
If “someday” preceded “I’m gonna do the Harpoon B2B ride,” I never would have done it. I never would have written my book. “Someday” would have kept my book from winning the Bronze Medal in the 2010 IPPY Awards (Independent Book Publishers Award) - a level of recognition that few authors in the crowded “leadership” category ever experience.
“Someday” is just another word for procrastination and dreaming of things you’d like to do and accomplish but don’t want to put the effort into. “Someday” means you don’t want it bad enough to do the tough work, to take the risk that always precedes success, and to bet on your own capacity to stretch and do great things. Most of all, “someday” can simply mean that you don’t trust yourself to finish what you start and go the distance.
Would all of your “somedays” fill a dumpster of maybe’s, hopes and dreams? “Someday” severely limits your options. It boxes you in and keeps you contained in “I-could-never-do-that” thinking. I’d rather rack up a bunch of failures to achieve something of significance. And I have racked up my share of failures.
Big deal, so I wrote a book that won an award. Big deal, so I’m crazy enough to ride my bike 100 miles. Big deal, so I built a company that’s been in business for 17 years and helps entrepreneurs do the same. Well, it is a big deal to me because they are my “gonna do’s” and I did them. None of it was easy. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears (especially on the bike). But I did it. I’m proud of myself and these accomplishments give me the confidence and energy to press on - like I did cranking my way up The Leviathan. Ditch the “somedays.” If you want to do something, put a pin on the map, build your plan and go for it. You’ll be amazed how you will conquer your own Leviathans.
Pass this blog post on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.
Founder & CEO
About: Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies. Since 1993, Strategies has been transforming salon and spa businesses into dynamic, profitable, and sustainable team-based cultures. Neil is a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker and award-winning author. For more information on Neil and Strategies, go to www.strategies.com. You can email Neil at [email protected].