This title grabbed me because I realize that even with all of my excitement for learning and loving to talk about what I’ve learned, I so often fail to do something with it. I have ideas of how the new information I encounter could change the world or even those around me, but I become paralyzed by trying to decide how to share it or what I should do with it.
In this Tedx Talk, Josh York, founder of York Project and advocate for the homeless, discusses what being a “doer” looks like. Being a doer is hard sometimes, at least for me. This video clarified and introduced some ways in which one might become more of a doer, based on his view on what attributes a doer possesses.
The first trait he states is that doers possess confidence. He states that they are “confident in themselves and what they believe in”. He states that because of this confidence, when the doer is called to take action, they actually go and do. They don’t second-guess themselves. The best part for me here was that he defined confidence as “believing in what they stand for and what they’re doing”. This was a helpful distinction for me because when I think of “confidence”, I usually think of that as someone who is never self-conscious, who is confident in all situations, and someone who basically walks through life feeling no discomfort or uncertainty about themselves or anything. But, to think of confidence as being sure of what you stand for and then taking action around that – puts an entirely different perspective on it.
I can’t say that I feel confident in all things, but I can say that I feel strongly about the things that I believe in. I just never would have thought of that as confidence. But, with confidence defined like that, then we probably all have something or some area where we could to take action.
What if they say NO?
The second trait doers possess is that they ask. They train themselves to ask. Understanding that rejection is inevitable and that it isn’t the end of the world, actually opens people up to ask for more of what they might need or want. If they see rejection as part of the process, they gain more confidence and get comfortable with no. And, the result could be getting to do something incredible that you never thought you might get to do or getting something you need to further your cause.
Simply because you asked.
This can be easier said than done, but the benefit could be building immunity to hearing no, which might lead us to getting the help and support that we need in order to reach a goal.
Personally, getting rejected rates right up at the top of my fear scale. And, he is right, it’s crippling. But, he points out that a lot of people don’t use their ask. An example for me came just last night. It might seem small and silly to some, but it highlights just how afraid of rejection I really am. Last night, while checking out at the grocery store, my daughter asked me if she could have one of the balloons tied overhead, next to the clerk. She had been offered and given one on a previous occasion, but we had never had to ask. She asked me to ask. My first response was no. But, then I wondered what message that might be sending. Why not ask? What’s the worse that could happen? They say no? I have to buy one? Or we just hear no and move on? The anxiety I felt around that small ask was tremendous but I did it anyway. As most parents know, you’ll do way more for your kids than you’d do for yourself (even though I’m not sure most parents would consider asking for a balloon as that much of a sacrifice – but in my world – it was scary). This tells me that this step may be a big one for me personally. If I’m afraid to ask for a cheap balloon from a non-threatening grocery store clerk, then what other things am I holding back and missing out on because I won’t ask or because I am overwhelming afraid of rejection?
The third trait he states that doers possess is that they “do“. They take action.
We all have ideas but he states that most of us “talk ourselves out of them”. But doers, they have confidence in what they stand for, they have trained themselves to just ask and to continue asking without fear of rejection, and they just do. He says the best step is to “think globally and act locally”. In other words, take a world problem and break it down into small actions and chunks that you can do.
I think we can learn a great lesson here about the difference between thinking and the action of doing. I heard a media influencer verbalize this in a perfect way at the end of one of his videos. He said “People love the feeling of being motivated. They don’t like putting in the work to do something about the feeling”. (Found on The Last Video you have to watch in 2017: A Gary Vaynerchuk original– youtube.com).
This is me, being confident in what I believe in, which is that we all need exposure to words and ideas that could change us and maybe the lives of those we influence. This is me asking you to read this post and watch these videos. Hopefully they will inspire you to do something for a cause you believe in. This is me doing – by writing, sharing, and posting links to videos I think have a lot of great messages within them.
(The original version of this article was published on my personal blog site in December of 2017).