A younger friend of mine was describing the keys to advancement in the sport of wakeboarding to my brother-in-law and I and his philosophy was summarized by the brilliant statement that at a certain point you have to stop thinking and commit to the move. The idea, for instance of jumping the wake and doing a front flip or a back flip while cruising along at twenty or so miles per hour is a daunting proposition and not for the faint-of-heart and the first time you try it you must commit without knowing all of the details (what it will feel like, how to gauge your flip, how to land, etc.).
The idea kept floating to the top of my mind throughout the day today in various business and personal conversations and I have noticed over the years that the failure to commit to the move is at the root of many of the postponed or aborted victories in personal development. People love to talk about what they should be doing or what they know they ought to do, but few people develop the habit of moving from talk to action via a smooth transition.
I remember in English class when we learned about the importance of transitions – between sections, paragraphs and within paragraphs – as a means of managing the flow of our arguments, the organization of our thoughts and the force of our persuasion. Transitions can be as important as what comes before and after, for if you lose your audience, or yourself for that matter, in the middle, in no-man’s land, progress will come to a halt.
So it is in life. Committing to the move is the final step before doing the deed. It sits between planning and execution and as I mentioned, it is of equal importance to its predecessor and its antecedent. It is the fine line between theory and practice, thinking and doing.
If you develop a habit of balking at that critical juncture, you will likely feel frustrated, unfulfilled, impotent and self-conscious. Most people, when faced with such feelings, tend to blame other people or things, rather than assume responsibility, which only worsens the matter. Scratch a little deeper and you will see that the underlying feeling is that of embarrassment and dare I say it, shame, for not having done what you knew you could have or should have done.
There is only one way to avoid shame, namely, by doing the right thing at the right time in the right place. Some claim such a perfect storm as being only possible by serendipity, but I would say that such a state is the essence of living an uncommon life. The sweet spot in thought, word and deed.
Finding that sweet spot is the greatest challenge you’ll likely ever face in life, but once you do you’ll begin to know a depth of inner tranquility and assurance that only comes when you are where you should be, revealing your natural authority. You cannot, of course, take shortcuts in the planning phase and expect to get there. Neither can you fake it when the time comes.
Plan sufficiently, commit to the move and execute when the time comes and you give life the best chance at breaking through into expression through you in relation to the circumstance at hand. Whether it is pulling off a sick “Whirlybird” on the lake or stepping into the leadership role that is yours to assume, you must give yourself permission to commit to the move – without apology, hesitation or hubris.
The sweet spot requires the right touch, at the right time and in the right place. Nothing more, nothing less.