Over the past couple years I’ve been talking with people online and offline from twitter specifically and hearing their stories on what they are doing with their lives. I’ve been hearing what they are doing and how they are conducting their business. I’ve been hearing about career transitions and job changes and new directions in people’s lives. It’s really been awesome to hear about.
I got to thinking the other day though….I’ve been hearing the same things for 2 years and yet not much has really changed in that time with the people talking about all the big things coming. Sure, a few people have followed their dreams by jumping ship or worked for a promotion or made some big life decisions and are actually making a change or working their butts off to make a change in their lives and in the community around them…. BUT there seems to be an enormous amount of people who just seem to be hanging out and talking about all the things that they want to actually do.
It just seems like it’s all a lot of talk and very few people are actually doing things they are talking about and promoting. I realize turning things around and making a difference takes time…but are people actually making a difference? Have people actually stepped up? or is it all just talk? all just about personal branding? all PR? all about smoke and mirrors without any actual goal in mind?
I recently re-watched 8-mile starring Marshall Mathers who you might know better as Eminem. If you’re offended by language, you definitely don’t want to watch it, but it does relate really well to the idea of this post. There’s a quote in there that is really the turning point of the movie. It’s a paraphrase (to cleanup the language for those readers who may be offended) but I think you’ll get the idea. It’s the end of conversation between 4 guys who talked the whole movie about getting out of the crappy lives they have in Detroit. At one point Marshall hits his breaking point and goes off on his buddies. I think it’s very appropriate for a lot of what people are saying around here lately. I think it’s something we need to hear. Basically, Marshall says: “Man, that’s all we ever do is talk — ‘ We need to get fine women and phat rides. No, what we need to do is put our money in savings bonds. No, what we need to do is get our songs on JLB.’ Yo man shutup. All of us never do a thing about anything, we’re still broke and still live at home with our moms. I’m outta here.”
Take that quote and apply it to your situation. Instead of talking about fine women and phat rides or savings bonds or getting your song on ‘JLB… think of it as quitting your job and starting your company or spending more time with your family or giving more money away or doing more community projects. What is it that you talk about a lot but aren’t actually doing? What are you going to do TODAY to stop talking and start doing? What’s the point of talking about stuff without any action behind it?
Sometimes things need to be talked out. Sometimes to start out there needs to be some element of smoke and mirrors. I get that it takes time for some things to get traction. Let’s start turning one puff of smoke or one of those mirrors into something with substance!
UPDATE: While I was working through my thoughts on this post and trying to make this a challenge instead of stepping on toes, my friend Tony Gambee wrote a post about a topic along similar lines. It’s a great read and I may or may not have been a part of the conversation at lunch with him too. :)