Shake Yourself into Action

By Bob Rausch, Ph.D.

I have a friend who lives at Whistler ski resort outside Vancouver, Canada. Ed is a candid and straightforward communicator. He has little patience with people who whine. Last summer I helped him build a garage onto his home. During one of our breaks I was complaining about a partner of mine and Ed stopped me in the middle of my whining and said, “Give yourself a shake Bobby. Stay in the partnership or get out, but don’t bellyache about it.”

Although I thought he was a little harsh, he was exactly right. Give yourself a shake and do whatever is necessary to begin moving in a positive direction. The longer you waltz around a problem the more confusing the problem becomes. Here are several suggestions to get into action:

  • STOP – (S)tart (T)hinking (O)f (P)ossibilities – Give yourself a shake and list the possibilities you have at your fingertips. Misery begets misery and enthusiasm begets enthusiasm.
  • Get moving – It’s not enough to think in the right direction, you have to take action on them. This requires energy and sometimes risk. Often we don’t know exactly the right direction, so keep stepping until the direction is clear.
  • Go against mental and emotional resistance – How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t feel like it” or “That won’t do any good.” Do it anyway.  Feeling follows action. Keep that appointment or go to that meeting even though you don’t feel like it.
  • Touch base with everyone – Begin meeting with everyone you can think of.  You never know who knows who. When I first moved to Dallas I contacted 10 members a week of the executive networking group I belong to. I not only got to know them, but it provided us both the opportunity to discover how we could help one another.
  • BE BOLD – This recession can do two things; it can beat you down or make you tough. If you begin feeling beat down shake yourself into boldness. It’s not a time for shyness or questioning your motivation. Be bold about asking for what you want. You’ll never get what you don’t ask for.
  • Consider the needs of others – Boldness does not prevent you from being compassionate about the needs of others. Be sensitive to their need and bold about offering assistance.
  • Learn to communicate effectively – Don’t use your “inability” to communicate as an excuse. During these recessionary times it’s imperative to communicate your message and need clearly and with power.


Tom Sharpe, an English author sums this message up nicely; “We must not only strike the iron while it is hot, we must strike it until it is hot.”

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