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Creative Career Path

Take Action to Get Traction2010.05.19

    Take Action to Get Traction

    Ask a person why they don’t act on their dreams, and invariably they will give you reasons why they can’t. Excuses for inaction are so common, that they almost pass for reasonable explanations. How do you tell the difference?


    It helps to draw the distinction, because it will help you determine if the person is coachable or inapproachable. The primary question to ask yourself is whether the person is a spectator content to watch, or a player eager to participate. There are many of the former, and few of the latter.


    When it comes to dream decisions, there are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened? It is a question of whether you are on the stage, in the audience, or lost on your way to the theater.


    There is nothing wrong with being a spectator, as long as you are content to be on the periphery in that area of your life. But if you want to realize your dreams, you should definitely be on the playing field. The next thing to decide is the level at which you want to play the game, because this determines what you need to do to prepare. Then you need to decide who you want to play the game with, and how you want to engage with them.


    Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, you will be the same person in five years, except for the books you read and the people you meet. Things rub off on you from the people you rub elbows with. It is important to choose who you associate with, because you spend a significant portion of your life engaged in your work and career, and that can make all the difference.


    At present you may not be able to choose your boss or the people you work with. But if you don’t consider this carefully and act on your dream decisions, your dreams will elude your reach and your grasp. To the extent that you can choose the people you work and spend time with, consider which category they belong to.


    Doomsayers are people who respond negatively to your dream decisions. They might profess to be on your side, but really they want you on their side. They come armed with excuses and good reasons to talk you out of your dream, because your taking positive action makes their own excuses seem lame. Misery loves company. These are the people that Craig Valentine calls crabs in a barrel, because whenever one crab tries to climb the wall to get out, the other crabs pull it back down. There is no need for a lid, because they won’t let each other out. These people also have a crabby nature, and tend to complain about their circumstances. Show a doomsayer an action step, and they will find a reason why it cannot be done.

    Catalysts are people who can contribute to or facilitate positive action toward achieving your dreams. They are generally positive and helpful, though the leverage they can give you depends on your relationship.


    Catalysts respond well to reciprocity. If you help them, they will usually help you back. Ideally, people working together should continually catalyze each other for the benefit of each other and the team. However, the chemistry of team building is complex. It cannot be dictated by pep talks from management, though the process can be learned and guided. Show a catalyst an action step, and they will take it, or press you to find out how.


    Advisors are people who make things happen, who can guide you to take the right steps, find the shortcuts, and make the right decisions. They keep you accountable and on track for the path that you have chosen. You engage them because they help you stay engaged and get results. Their credibility comes from the fact that they are players themselves, and they know how to teach, because they know how to reach the next action step. Show an advisor an action step, and they will take it one step further.

    The people who do act on their dreams are those who get traction by taking action. The rest either spin their wheels, or remain in a rut.


    William Reed






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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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