As I walked out of Boston Stoker this morning, chai in hand, I realized something. I had just wished the barista a happy Labor Day weekend, and he responded, “You have a good weekend, too!” To which I replied, “I’ll try…” Now, why did I say that instead of, “Thanks, I will!” or any number of other affirmative responses? Maybe I was still half asleep and feeling sluggish, or maybe I wasn’t feeling up to the task of making my weekend spectacular, but either way my somewhat lackluster response was, “I’ll try…” And immediately after the words left my mouth, I cringed and thought of the phrase my good friend Jeremy has been pounding into my brain for months now: “Don’t try. Do it.” And while this isn’t Jeremy’s own personal wisdom, but renowned life coach and inspirational speaker Tony Robbins‘, it has become a mantra in his life as well as my own- and it stops me in my tracks whenever I think I’m “trying” to do something.
There is a difference between “doing” and “trying.” In one of Tony’s presentations he asks a woman in the audience who says she’s trying to fix her marriage to “try to pick up the chair.” She turns around and picks up her chair. He says, “No, don’t pick up the chair, TRY to pick up the chair.” They go round and round until she eventually gets extremely frustrated – but the point he is making is that there are only two options 1) picking up the chair or 2) not picking up the chair. If you’re trying to do something it’s the same as not doing it. It’s only when we actually DO something that it’s considered action. Trying is essentially the same thing as failing.
This concept is something I’ve had a hard time getting my head around, and it has been frustrating for me at times when I have felt like I really did try my best to do something. It’s easy to become indignant and defensive, thinking that I tried and still nothing happened. But obviously that’s all I did – I tried – which isn’t the same as “I did it.” This principle applies to every aspect of our lives if you really think about it: relationships, business decisions, everything we do on a daily basis. Here’s a perfect example of how trying isn’t action, but rather inaction – how many times have you said, “I tried to get out of bed when the alarm went off…” Did you notice that trying to get out of bed was the same thing as NOT getting out of bed? Hmmm…interesting how that works, isn’t it…When we successfully do something, we don’t ever say we “tried.”
Start paying attention to how many times you respond with, “I’ll try.” Then see if you can shift your mindset a little bit, and really ask yourself if trying is enough, or if you want to actually make something happen. There’s a difference. If you want to get more clients, get out there and market yourself. If you want to mend fences with someone, pick up the phone and talk to them. If you want to have the life you deserve, go get it.
When we decide to stop trying and start doing, we become forces of nature and catalysts for change. When we start “doing,” we realize the power we possess to make amazing things happen with our lives, and other people’s lives around us. Let’s become a force for change and see what happens….I’m betting we can make the world a better place. So let’s stop trying, and as Nike so simply and powerfully put it, “Just do it.”
*Please take a moment and read the manifesto in the image at the top- this is the mantra I have hanging above my desk, and last Spring I had the pleasure of meeting the people who created it.