There’s no satisfaction without action

Everyone knows that what produces results is action. No action, no results.

But what produces satisfaction? There are two paths.

The first is willing yourself to be satisfied with the way things are. You tell yourself “This is it. Be happy. Be satisfied. Be cool. You’re okay. They’re okay. It’s okay. It’s all good.” The truth is that this can sometimes work – you’ve tried it, right? You’ve told yourself, “I’m going to see the good in this” and you have. However, this method goes against my first sentence – there’s no satisfaction without action.

I don’t recommend willing yourself as the path to satisfaction because it’s unreliable. And you know that. You’ve used it many times with yourself and your teams (trying to convince your team that ‘we’re satisfied with the reorg and all is well’ when you don’t believe it) and sometimes it works, but mostly it doesn’t. Trying to convince yourself that you’re happy, or satisfied, or complete is like putting icing on top of mud. Sure, if you only look at it, it might look tasty, but the minute you take a bite (or try to live your life), you find you have a mouth filled with mud. Or you find that your team thinks less of you for trying to convince them of something they know isn’t true.

However, being in action is a path toward satisfaction. It’s not just any action though. It’s deliberately designed, thoughtful practices. Practiced consistently and with accountability.

Action provides the opportunity for movement, for moving forward, for taking ground. When you’re moving forward you have the chance to learn, to modify, to make mistakes and start over. The other benefit that action provides is counting or measuring your practices as daily achievements.

Instead of counting or measuring whether you achieved whatever it is that will have you be satisfied – the big, hairy, audacious goal you’re after – you begin to track and monitor whether you are doing your practices. Did I personally talk with 2 people on my team today about brainstorming new ideas? Did I write 500 words today? If yes, you’ve taken ground. If no, you start again tomorrow (you haven’t failed at the goal, you’ve missed one of today’s practices).

Until you start operating this way – designing regular practices to achieve your goals – you don’t realize how satisfying it is to do your practices, the way you designed and when you said you would.

Many times people find the goal isn’t as satisfying as the journey… and wouldn’t it be great to spend more time specifically focused on the journey?