In Africa, the male lion is the king of the Savannah.
The roar of the male lion strikes fear into those who hear it.
When the male lion is on the hunt, no animal is safe.
Yet, for most of the day, the male lion is staring diligently at the back of his eyelids.
18 to 20 hours each day, the male lion is slumbering.
While the male lion sleeps, the rest of the animal kingdom roams in safety.
The difference between safety and danger resides in the sleeping pattern of the male lion.
So it is with us.
Our safety or danger rests in our ability to act.
When we act, we remove ourselves from danger.
When we fail to act, we are at the whims of our circumstances.
More than ten years ago, I was faced with a dilemma.
One of my friends received the tragic news that his brother had passed away.
I was stunned and felt agony for my friend’s loss.
I spent some time thinking and grieving for my friend.
I desired to offer support to my friend.
Then feelings of inadequacy rose up in me.
I wondered what words to speak to my friend.
The more I thought about what I should do; the more fear built up in my heart.
These thoughts bounced me around until I was paralyzed by indecisiveness.
The result of this analysis paralysis was I failed to reach out to my friend.
Several weeks passed, and I spoke with my friend.
As we talked, my friend asked me why I had not called.
I apologized and explained that I felt so inadequate about the situation and had no idea what to say.
He then explained that he wished I would have contacted him.
At that time, my friend needed my support.
I failed him.
I regret my lack of action.
I’ve forgiven myself for inaction.
Yet the sting of not caring enough to take my eyes off of myself and place my attention on what my friend needed will serve as a reminder of the sin of inaction.
Earlier this year, another friend went through a tragic experience.
This time I was reminded of my inaction and felt a deep sense of obligation to do something.
Again feelings of inadequacy rose up inside of me.
I was reminded of my past inaction and decided that the inadequacy didn’t matter.
Action would be more important than thoughts.
I visited my friend several times.
I shared with him my thoughts.
I shared with him some of my stories.
I fumbled over some of my words.
I probably said some things that in retrospect, I wouldn’t say now.
However, this time things were different.
This time I acted and showed my support.
This time, I reached inside of myself and grabbed a little courage.
I acted despite my nervousness.
Someone once shared these words with me:
Don’t Be Nervous. Be Of Service.
If I had kept dwelling on thoughts about what I should or should not do or say, I would have another experience of regret in my life.
However, I acted, and my action transformed that same event into one I treasure.
Showing up to visit my friend during his challenging time was a difference-maker.
Action carried more weight than a series of thoughts.
Growing up, I heard the following phrase:
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
How many times have I limited myself by good intentions?
How many times have I lost someone’s business because of good intentions?
How many times have I lost a sale because of good intentions?
How many times have I not been there to help my clients because of good intentions?
How many times have I failed because of good intentions?
My good intentions often get wrapped up in my thinking.
One of my largest strengths in life is my analytical mind.
However, when I get caught up in too much analysis, the strength becomes a weakness.
The analysis turns into a perpetual loop of overthinking that left unchecked leads to procrastination and inaction.
I rationalize it away by telling myself that I need to do it just right.
However, getting it just right is a lie.
By thinking I must have it just right, I fool myself into thinking there is a state where things will be just right.
Just right is code for perfection.
Where did I get this notion that things must be perfect?
As long as I draw breath from this mortal world, I will live in imperfection.
I will never have it just right.
Action soon rather than later is a better course of action.
Additionally, what I think is just right may or may not be just right for the other person.
I am limited by my perspective, thinking, and experience.
My just right may be confusing to the other person.
I would be better off just acting and letting the chips fall where they may.
I’ll do better today. By doing better today, I’ll do better.
My improvement today will compound on tomorrow’s improvement.
But only if I act today!