Ahhhh… or did you think I meant golf or baseball? Nope. I’m talking today to all of you who keep taking lessons, reading books, listening to audiotapes and live speakers, view video after video, but never take action. Always trying to make your efforts perfect – or at least, better! But as Stephen Pressfield in his book, Do the Work!, and Seth Godin have written about many times since, sometimes we “just have to ship it!”
This message is more than it first seems. “Just ship it” is not about putting out sloppy work and moving on. The message is for all of us that struggle to let go, to put it out there. We twist and turn and tweak and take another class and read another book and tweak some more.
Before you know it, our dream is in our rear view mirror!
Let me give you a quick story about my dad, who was wise like Yoda! I was probably 14 years old and on a school bowling league. Both of my parents bowled and fairly well. One evening we were enjoying the family bowling night. My father watched me as I would step up to the lane, look at the little dots and darts for my position, and roll the ball. The next roll, I’d adjust and roll again. I probably did this for, oh, six frames, moving this way and that in my position among the dots and darts to line up my ball.
Finally my dad asked, “Ellen, why do you keep changing your position?” I patiently explained that I’d read several books. If you throw to the right, you step to the right and you’ll straighten out the ball. Same to the left.
I remember him looking at me for a long moment. Then he quietly said, “Well, I think that’s absolutely right. But you’re not to do it with each time you throw the ball. You can’t correct your swing until you know what you’re natural swing is. And you have to keep playing for awhile before that develops.”
With a bit of a frown, I looked at him. Then the light bulb came on. “Oh,” I replied, “that makes sense!”
Why? This lesson of the natural swing I have shared in many situations. We can learn and read and practice the newest techniques forever. But if we first don’t learn what’s natural for us, we can’t improve upon it.
Need another example? There was a time I was asked to speak to my friend’s Mary Kay group. I was a bit timid because I was thinking, ‘gosh, they already have great material from their program.’
Then I remembered the natural swing. In brief, I explained to them that before they tried the various approaches that Mary Kay teaches, they need to just go out and sell (or ‘just ship it’). Then keep track of what worked and what didn’t. What worked was their natural swing. What didn’t work, they could go to their Mary Kay program to learn and improve their technique. It made sense to them.
So whatever effort you’re making, before you try on someone else’s program, figure out your natural swing. Just do it… just ship it… just put it out there. No artist, musician, teacher, entrepreneur was ever great with their first try. But they just kept doing it, improving with each step. But if you never get it out there, your best is unlikely to ever happen. So get going, learn your natural swing. Then step up and let it go. You’ll improve with each effort. And your odds for reaching your dream will increase with each step.
Here’s to your natural swing …..