Get It In Gear

Some say, “Good things come to those who wait.” It’s a funny thing, though. Good things almost never come when waiting’s all that’s happening. We shouldn’t let our hopes soar sky-high if all we do is hang out. Success doesn’t drop in like an uninvited guest.

Then there are those who like to talk things out. Talking–by itself–doesn’t get us far either. Talk is necessary, but talk alone doesn’t get the job done. A lot of people sure are in love with it, though.

Others tout planning. Planning’s good, too. But we can plan ourselves to death and get nowhere. Amazing-to-behold, technicolor charts and graphs don’t mean much if nothing’s happening, dude.

See, here’s the deal: We have to actually do something. Take action. Get ourselves in gear and make something happen.

We stir together the waiting, talking and planning to put ourselves in a position of action. Then we pounce and make our plan happen. Action! That’s what I’m talking about.

So we’ve come this far, and now I’m going to tell you action isn’t always a good thing. Huh?

Action can be disastrous if that’s all we do. We decide waiting, talking and planning are too passive–not to mention boring–for real achievers like us. So we skip the waiting, talking and planning parts and move straight to the action part. Any action, apparently, being better than none.

We become a blur of action. In every direction. Our business plan is a Rorschach blot.

Energy explodes from every pore as we energetically move toward our goal–which has yet to be defined, but, believe you me, we’re moving. We’re the open fire hydrant without the hose.

Somehow the timid, who must be persuaded to take action, and the bold, who must be convinced to think first, need to meet in the middle.

Behold the gear. Gears work purposefully. They mesh their teeth, in a designed sequence, to reach a goal. Over and over they mesh, for as long as it takes to get the job done. As in move a car from Boston to Dubuque, for instance.

Here’s the sequence: Set a goal. Make a plan to reach the goal. Define the steps needed to work the plan. Then make like a gear and mesh along down the road. Do what needs doing to reach the goal.

Be sure to stop for an oil change every 3000 miles. Take time to check the map. From time to time, check the plan and give it a little tune-up. A good plan can usually avoid a major overhaul, but looking under the hood upon occasion never hurts.

Purposeful, controlled action lies between all-plan-with-no-action and all-action-with-no-plan. It’s a good place to be.

© Copyright 2007 by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved.

About the author: Bette Dowdell is a former IBM Systems Engineer, small business consultant and software company owner. She also studied and taught the Bible to people of all ages, including some years of successfully teaching seminary-level theology to grade school children, not a job for sissies. Bette wrote How to be a Christian Without Being Annoying, a book about how the Bible describes Christianity and The Christmas Invitation, an e-book that brings the Christmas story to life. She also creates Quick Takes on Life, a no-cost, weekly e-mail subscription. Read about the books at Check out the Quick Takes quotes–and maybe subscribe–at


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