I utterly hate to categorize or profile people. The notion that any one person conforms to a set of characteristics makes me very uncomfortable, as it suggests that people are bound without personal choice. For example, the Myers-Briggs personality test can be illuminating as it highlights a number of likely strengths and weaknesses. Yet, the more stock we put into these “personality profiles”, the more we risk becoming enslaved to their dictations about us. The Myers-Briggs methodology suggests that we are born with inherent traits and are unable to change them — a notion I find offensive and ridiculous. There is however one trait that I believe is beneficial to assign to ourselves — are you a talker or a doer, and what are you going to do about it?
My Uncomfortable Truth
I am a natural talker. Formulating big, bold, and innovative ideas comes naturally to me. Give me a few glasses of Malbec or Gin and (slim-line!) Tonic, and I will present you with a plethora of beautifully articulated proposals for a new business, personal project, or habit I want to implement. I’ll convince you within 5 minutes of all the reasons why you should be building a side hustle, focusing on personal development, and pursuing your dreams. But was I following through on my words?
It took me three years to realize I was incongruent — my actions rarely matched my words. I talked incessantly about wanting to be free, wanting to work for myself, create wealth, and constantly improve. Yet through my talk I became immobilized, never taking action and instead choosing to indulge in the mental masturbation of my fantasies — all without ever taking actionable steps to make it happen. The problem is I was not the only one. Everyone around me was doing the same, and arguably talking about our dreams became a method of managing our sanity and escaping reality.
The Penny Dropping Moment
Sometimes it takes us a while to realize the truth, and often something has to happen to trigger that realization. For me it was when I was asked an innocent question:
What have you done about it?
It was so simple and pondering the answer uncomfortably stretched my map of the world.
What had I done about “it”?
When I looked in the mirror I had to face the cold, hard truth. I was a talker and not a doer. My incessant preaching created a fictional world in my own mind whereby my aspirations would magically manifest themselves (see The Law of Attraction without doing the work). I wanted to be leaner but I never counted calories or took measurements. I wanted to start my own coaching business yet I hadn’t taken any certifications nor did I have my own shit together. I preached to others how they should invest despite not having my own consistent process with results to prove my logic. All talk, no do, no results to speak for themselves.
I finally faced up to my own short-comings and looked inward. The question was no longer “Am I talker or a doer?” but rather “What am I going to do about it?”. The answer was simple — I am going to make it happen.
You have Choice
We all have a choice in how we behave. I chose to become focused on action. I stopped brainstorming ideas into great detail and started becoming obsessed with just doing. Instead of losing myself in the potential of an idea, I just concentrated on taking the next actionable step.
With that ONE shift in my mindset, everything changed.
I bought a gym franchise to chase my childhood ambition to own a gym. I created an “all-weather” investment portfolio to put my money to work. I followed a fat-loss diet to the T and saw my slick six-pack abs for the first time ever (not ashamed to say I shed a tear). I completed certifications in CBT and became an NLP Master Practioner. My writing output quadrupled and my coaching business grew, attracting more clients every week through word of mouth and impactful results.
In short, when I let go of planning everything perfectly and just looked to the next concrete step, my world changed dramatically. Every day I made progress and learned lessons. Most importantly, I became congruent within myself. My actions finally matched my words and I became the embodiment of all that I preached and wanted to be. Ironically my need to talk dissipated as results speak for themselves. Ultimately, I realized that I had used talking, planning and researching as methods of self-preservation/defense to shield me from a deep-rooted Fear of Failure. I confronted my innermost insecurities and began a journey of self-acceptance which goes on daily.
A Final Thought — The only question you need to ask
I can’t pretend that I have stopped talking, fantasizing and encouraging others to get more out of themselves. We are all human — we WILL stumble from time to time and that is OK. To keep myself on track I ask myself one question daily:
What have you done today to progress?
When I ask myself this one question, it keeps me honest and focused. Measuring the steps you have taken to make your goals and aspirations happen will transform your life, and more simply move you from being a talker to a doer.
It doesn’t matter how big your aspirations are, I know you have them. It doesn’t have to be becoming an entrepreneur or becoming a millionaire. Your goals are unique to you and nobody has a right to judge. My only recommendation is to become someone who walks the talk, and somebody whose actions matches their words. I hope that the ideas in this post help you become the person you want to be, and encourage you to become focused on MAKING IT HAPPEN.