Four months ago, when we first moved into our home, I had one big thing that I wanted to change. The walls in the house were fine and the flooring had just been replaced, so there were very few things that needed my attention, just one big thing that bothered me from the beginning; the trim on my barn. My barn, like a lot of barns, had been painted red and when they painted it, they painted the trim the same color. It didn’t look awful, it just looked unfinished. I wanted to change it.
The very first day we moved in, I bought the paint, the rollers, and the brushes. I put them in the barn and started doing other things. Four months later, they sat in the same place I put them on day one.
It isn’t like I did nothing. I talked a lot. I talked to my wife, getting her opinion on how I should do it. I talked to my dad, I talked to my brother. I talked to my assistant and my kids, I even talked to myself. I kept asking about the best way to accomplish this great big hairy task, all the while, the paint sat in the barn.
Talking isn’t the only thing I did. I worried and thought about it too. Every time I pulled into the driveway, I felt the pang of guilt over having not done it. Every time I walked into the barn, I thought more about what a big job it was. I visualized the barn trimmed out and I dreamed about it and all the while, the paint sat in the barn.
That was until this weekend. The Friday before Labor Day, I resolved that I was going to paint that trim this weekend if it killed me. I blocked out my Sunday, promised myself and made my commitment known to my family. I dusted off the paint can rounded up the rollers, dressed in my paint clothes and got it done.
It took me two hours.
Here’s my point. For four months, I had been talking, thinking, dreaming and dreading getting on a ladder and accomplishing this seemingly insurmountable task. For four months, I had found every reason not to do it and every excuse to do something else. When I finally shut off my brain, stopped talking and got to work, I got it done in no time at all. What I thought would take all day, took two hours.
How many big projects, hard tasks or dreaded assignments do we stew, dread and talk about every day? If we just roll up our sleeves and get to it, chances are it isn’t nearly as impossible as it seemed in the beginning. This week, the week of labor day, I would encourage anyone who wants to be successful at work to learn from my bad example and use your labor rather than your mouth. Get to it and amaze yourself as what you can do.