Get Your Hands Outta Your Pockets
Working with my father was always a treat. He knows how to work. His capacity for hard work has always amazed me, and when a teenager, sometimes frustrated me. "Why can't we just play today? It's Saturday. Let's do something. Can't we pay somebody to build these forms? Do you have to do everything yourself?" His capacity for hard work amazes me even more now as an adult in the working world myself. The thing about him is that when you work with him whether digging a ditch or working on a coding project he expects your attentive focus. I know the look well. He's looks you straight in the eyes and his eyes are saying, "are you paying attention? Don't waste my time. We are going to take the time to do this right the first time." Or something like that.
Invariably my youthful inability to keep focus led me occasionally to drift off, staring into space or at the ground, and my hands would find their way to my jeans pockets. Until I learned not to do that. He would bellow, "Get your hands out of your pockets! Get over here! Do something. Can't you see what I'm trying to do?" Get busy was the message. Only God knows how many times I heard that. It is so programmed in me that every time I am around people doing physical work, to this day those words and that voice come to mind, and I can't put my hands in my pockets.
Two lessons that Dad taught me in all that.
Number one: the way to get things done is to start now, and attack until the work is done. No one else will do it. It will not do itself. It will not start accidentally. Nor will it finish all by itself. Projects are completed only when you push relentlessly. It's called tenacity with a great big dose of the old adage if it's gonna be, it's up to me. This is true whether you are talking about building a business, earning a degree, renovating your living room, learning a foreign language, or starting a ministry.
Number two: anticipate the work before you. So many, many times he would ask, "can you not see what I'm doing? Don't wait for me to say anything, watch for what I need, and what you can do and do it." Keep your eyes on the current task and the next half-dozen before you. Occasionally one ought to step back and look at the whole project but the important tasks are what you can do today.
It's not that planning is not important. It is. But the only plans that matter are the ones that get put into action.
I've got some friends who've started churches. They had no perfect plans. But they started. If you've got a product you're designing, you need to schedule your shipping date. When are you going to get to done on that book, article, goal, house, project, or degree? When are you going to ship? When will you just start?