One of the most powerful organizing principles I conduct my own life by is this one: never leave the site of a new idea or a new goal without taking some action to push it forward and bring it to life. Most of us get great ideas through the course of each day. We get ideas for new products and services, insights that will grow our businesses, strategies that can help us better serve our customers and brainstorms that will aid us in improving our own lives. And yet, due to all the distractions that beg for our attention, we fail to capture these ideas in a central place and then, even more importantly, we fail to take some action on them to let them see the light of day. Why? For some, it comes down to fear. Fear of change (and the initial stress that all change brings), fear of moving out of our little zones of comfort and fear of failure. Other people do not take action on new ideas (even though they know that these ideas could transform their business and personal lives) because they have just given up. Through the experiences of their lives, they have conditioned their minds to believe that real success is reserved for the lucky few. Real success is hard and complicated and elusive. And so they accept mediocrity, giving up on their own personal sense of greatness in the process.
Peak performers, on the other hand, understand that ideas are the commodity of success in this new age that we live in and dedicate their lives to acting on all of the important ideas they get for the benefit of their customers, their families and for themselves. When such leaders receive a new idea, they first record it so that it is committed to paper. Then they do something, no matter how small, to get some momentum behind that new idea and "put it into play." They have discovered the principle of nature that holds: "an object in motion tends to remain in motion" and know that the more a person gets used to acting on ideas and dreams, the more positive action will flow (action always inspires even more action). When peak performers get a new idea for a big new client they know would benefit greatly from their products, for example, rather than procrastinating and putting off taking some action to some time in the future, they reach for their cell phones and book the appointment immediately. When peak performers receive a flash of creativity on how to improve their family lives by enriching relationships, within minutes they (or someone they delegate this responsibility to if they are really wise) will be on the Net, booking that long overdue trip to Florida or renting that summer cottage that your kids have been pestering you to rent for the last three years. And when such people realize that getting into planet-class physical condition will make them better as a businessperson, parent and human being, they quickly call a health club, book the meeting with a personal trainer and commit to the first ten sessions instead of letting the opportunity fade into oblivion. Act fast, act often and the results will speak for themselves.
You see, time is the stuff of life. It really is your most precious commodity. Most of us spend the best years of our lives wishing we had more time to do all the really important things we need to get done and yet we waste much of the time we have. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. The Law of Diminishing Intent – which provides that the longer you wait to act on a new goal, the less likely it will ever be realized – is a powerful force of nature that acts on your weakest instincts. Never let it get the best of you. Today, commit yourself to becoming "a person of action", someone who is known as the one who gets the job done. Commit yourself to acting on great ideas quickly and developing the habit – and it is a habit, not a natural gift – of following through on the projects you initiate. And have the courage to do the things you know you should do but fear doing. As Papa Wallenda, the great highwire walker once observed: "Life is lived out on the wire. The rest is just waiting.