Did Is Not Do

Years ago I took writing and improvisational acting classes at The Second City Academy in Chicago. On the first day of class the instructor opened the lecture by stating something I’ve never forgotten: “A person who writes when a creative mood strikes is a doodler.  Whereas a person who writes every day is a writer.  Do you suppose Michael Jordan practiced basketball when the mood struck? Or did Michael Jordan work on his basketball skills daily?”  

The point, very simply is this: we are the product of what we do on a daily basis, not what we once did or worse yet, do only when the mood strikes.  

Two questions for continual self -improvement:  

  1. What are you doing on a regular basis to make yourself personally and professionally better?

  2. Are you really “doing” those things or “did” you do those things at one time and now you’ve slacked off?

It’s natural to lose interest or even get bored with certain activities.  I get it. I was ADHD before it was a trendy diagnosis!  Distractions happen. Business happens. Life happens. 

Next thing you know, you’re telling yourself (and others) that you “do” what you really haven’t done in months or even years.  

For me the “daily do” is writing and creating new content for my audiences. For you it might be learning new methods to serve your customers or improving your professional competencies or critically analyzing your offering to make yourself more in demand. 

Lasting success comes from actually doing the career and personal building activities you say you do. Did is past tense, DO is current.  Harsh as it may be, the world doesn’t care what you did, all that matters is what you do.  

We Are The Result of Our Habits

In my book, Do Business Better I map out ten habits of success. I point out that habits, unlike routines, are active, deliberate behaviors.  Routines, on the other hand, are generally mindless and unwavering.  In other words, routines are what we “do” even when we say we’re doing something else.  

Our habits make us what we are. Good or bad the habits we possess accumulate over time.  They’re like compound interest in this regard. When we create good daily habits, we reap the reward. But good habits are only habitual if you DO them.   

If your goal is to keep getting better (as it should be!), adopt my new slogan: Did Is Not Do.   

Damian Mason speaks at meetings throughout North America on the two subjects he knows best: Business and Agriculture. He’s the host and producer of the Do Business Better podcast and The Business of Agriculture podcast.  Damian’s latest book, Do Business Better released this spring.  

Angie Carel