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Why Leaders Who Hold THIS Bias Are The Most Effective Leaders

You probably have something exciting that you’ve been thinking about doing for a long time.

Every leader has dreams, goals and hopes.

The challenge is you haven’t done anything about it…yet.

And as a result, so few leaders end up with a track record of accomplishment.

Why?

Because almost all of us struggle with something the most effective leaders in their field don’t struggle with.

What is it?

It’s a bias so few leaders have. But the great ones all possess.

bias for action

Three Friends — One Bias

A few years ago, I began to notice a trend among some friends that were accomplishing a lot.

One good friend was launching a business and was frustrated with the lack of traction he was seeing that week. So he decided to host a webinar…ten days later. Believe it or not, 600 people joined him for it.

I had another friend launched a weekly podcast eighteen months ago, as a side-line to his full time job. This was at a time when I was still thinking about launching a leadership podcast. At the time I was thinking a monthly podcast was a huge commitment. But he launched…weekly. Convicting.

Now to a third friend.  He’s a prolific reader (40-50 books a year) and a super smart thinker and speaker. I told him he needs to write a book. He said he had thought about.

I urged him to do it and so did another friend. Within a few weeks he had sent me draft chapters to review. Amazing.

What do all three leaders have in common?

A bias for action.

Maybe You’re Hallucinating

This challenges me because I tend to think about things a lot before acting.

For example, I thought about hosting a podcast for two years before I launched this one (and, yes, I ended up going weekly in the end).  To date, I’ve only thought about hosting a webinar.

And my next book has been three years in the making (it releases in 2015…thanks for your patience…stay tuned).

Shipping is more important than dreaming. If you don’t act, you’ve got nothing. All you’ve got is a desire.

As Thomas Edison famously said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

 Action is Stunning

Action is stunning because so few people actually do it. So few people act on their dreams.

Often the difference between you and the leaders you admire is they acted. You didn’t.

And you know what a desire becomes when it’s never acted on, don’t you? It becomes a regret.

Far too many people waste their potential, squander their vision and languish in mediocrity because they just don’t act.

So why don’t you stun someone this week? Act.

I’ll bet you even stun yourself when you do.

Press Start

Here’s my hunch. You know exactly what you need to do. 

Come on…you know what it is:

That change you need to make in your church

The project you need to launch.

That book you need to write.

The blog you need to get started on.

That team member you need to deal with.

That unchurched neighbour you need to have over for dinner.

That series you need to find the courage to preach.

So what’s holding you back?

Be honest.

Maybe it’s fear.

Or a lack of confidence

Or the belief you might fail.

Well….

The only way to get past fear is to move through it.

The brave aren’t the brave because they don’t feel fear. They’re brave because they pushed through it.

The only way to gain confidence is to do something. So go do it.

Truthfully, your dream is failing right now. You have nothing to lose by acting on your dream except the 100% guarantee of failure that comes from not acting on it.

Now…before you leave a comment (scroll down to add to the conversation), decide what you need to act on.

Then act.

A bias toward action is a bias every effective leader has. So get moving.

18 Comments

  1. Mike on June 1, 2017 at 5:54 am

    My family friends and colleagues have been telling me I need to write a book for years. I must have written it 3 times over in my head but I’ve always found a reason to not put pen to paper. This morning may just have been God using you to confirm that to me. Now to figure out how to write a book. Thank you very much.

  2. Mark on April 14, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Love the simplicity of this Carey. I meet so many people in ministry who sincerely want to act but are paralyzed due to the fact they don’t know what action to take. Either for a lack of options or a too many to chose from. Do you have any good resources for this?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 15, 2015 at 5:48 am

      Mark…thanks for the encouragement. Resources? Great question. I don’t. I just watch effective leaders. That’s what they do. I’m sure there are some good ones out there though.

  3. Shante on April 5, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    This is certainly my hang up for attaining my dream. I am a servant and can act on that anytime anywhere. I just desire to do it on a MUCH larger scale with more impact. Then I think of the end and get overwhelmed with the tasks, lost at where to begin, and impatient with the process. The dream is to do http://www.cooltableministries.org in a big way. Land, retreat center, conferences, camp, and adventure. A place where a broken generation can come and find healing. A place where a young generation can come and find hope. A place filled with grace, laughter, energy, and love. Where to start? How do I know what the next action is?

  4. Jimmy Stewart on April 4, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Thanks Carey. My first action is to respond to your blog. You are exactly right. I know what I need to do. Failure is not finishing but its also not starting. We are called to run the race in such a way as to win it and to finish it. Thanks for calling me out to start it and for sharing your heart with passion and transparency! Love you brother!

  5. Tom on April 2, 2015 at 7:47 am

    I came across this while still in bed, looking at my smart phone, thinking about getting ready to start my day. Hhmm. I appreciate the encouragement: less thinking, more doing. Thanks. It’s what I needed today.

  6. […] Why Leaders Who Hold THIS Bias Are The Most Effective Leaders by @cnieuwhof […]

  7. Brent Dumler on March 30, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Wow, this was a timely kick in the butt! Thanks, Carey. I’m a perfectionist, so my hesitancy in pressing start is not allowing myself to fail, even in the small things. And you were 100% correct…I do know ‘what’ to do. It’s the action paired with allowing myself grace. That’s my step.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on March 30, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Thanks Brent. Love how Steve Jobs said it. Real artists ship. I just did it with a book yesterday. I would have loved another month. I shipped it to the editor yesterday anyway. That of course, doesn’t mean I’m a real artist….

  8. 5 for Leadership (3/28/15) - Gary Runn on March 28, 2015 at 7:43 am

    […] Why Leaders Who Hold THIS Bias Are The Most Effective Leaders  “You probably have something exciting that you’ve been thinking about doing for a long time. Every leader has dreams, goals and hopes. The challenge is you haven’t done anything about it…yet. And as a result, so few leaders end up with a track record of accomplishment. Why? Because almost all of us struggle with something the most effective leaders in their field don’t struggle with. What is it? It’s a bias so few leaders have. But the great ones all possess.” This is Carey Nieuwhof at his best. […]

  9. Dialyn on March 27, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I intend to press start! Thanks for the push. It’s pretty cool to anticipate the future with a genuine smile.

  10. Kathy Nelson on March 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I need to take the next step that is staring me in the face.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on March 27, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      High fives Kathy!!!!

      • Kathy Nelson on March 27, 2015 at 2:31 pm

        Thanks, Carey.

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