Do you understand the importance of taking action?
As Henry Ford famously said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”
If there is one irrefutable test of a leader, it is the results he or she produces.
But how does a great leader produce results?
They take action.
Intent without taking action is daydreaming. People who act as leaders couple their beliefs into their behavior. They get results. They motivate others.
I’ve coined a term to describe what people who act successfully as leaders do: I call it visioning.
“Visionary Leaders” are those who see the grand view of the future and are able to articulate that vision eloquently to inspire those they lead.
Taking action without proper consideration is risky, even dangerous.
But an equal risk arises when you overstudy a situation rather than doing something about it.
It is true that when you act, you may fail. That’s a fact in life—but isn’t it also the beauty in life? Failure leads to growth, which in turn can lead to success.
But, it is also true that if you don’t act, you’ll never fail—but of course, you’ll never achieve anything worthwhile either.
Taking Action: Leadership Points
1. Don’t let resistance stop you.
Whenever you seek to make changes, you will encounter resistance. While it is important to listen to what others have to say, at times you simply have to make a decision and move forward despite their objections.
Don’t let someone’s criticisms or doubts hinder your progress. At the end of the day, you can do what you can to listen to advice, but always follow your gut and your instincts.
When people encounter resistance, they can sometimes react aggressively or be abrasive. This is a big sign that a leader is about to fall (here are some other signs a leader is about to fall.)
Don’t let this happen to you.
Don’t let anyone prevent you from taking action. You are the master of your own destiny.
2. Act boldly.
You don’t want to come across as cocky or arrogant. But leaders who know what they stand for and what is important to them act with confidence.
Being bold means you have to be confident in what you are doing. You have to take action despite any doubts you may have. This is what makes a real leader.
If you find that you have the intent to take action, but never do, stop daydreaming and get into action. Turn those daydreams into strategies (here’s how), and start thinking more effectively, productively, and creatively.
What areas of your life can you infuse with boldness? How do you take action in your life when you face resistance or hardship?
Mark Sanborn is a leadership keynote speaker and advisor to leaders based in Denver, CO.
To learn more about the six principles of leadership and how to take action, take a look at any of my wide collection of resources, which offer invaluable advice about dealing with resistance, acting with confidence, and being a successful leader. You can also consider reading my Extraordinary Living Journal – buy one, get one free!
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This post was originally published on September 29, 2015 and has been updated for 2019.