We love beginnings. Weddings, puppies, births, new car smell, and New Year’s resolutions. Our CEOs even love to pose with shovels for pictures at facility ground-breaking events.
But rarely are pictures taken of the second shovelful of dirt. The party is over and the social media live feed ends.
The second shovelful of dirt is where the work begins. It’s the difference between saying you’ll do something and actually doing it; between the promise and the result. That difference is the gap.
We’ve all stood next to that shovel. We’ve said we’ll do something (fix an appliance, earn a certification, finish a degree, or lose 10 pounds) and our friends and family cheer. The confetti flies! If we follow through on our promise, the gap we create is quite small. We simply step over it and raise our arms in triumph.
However, if we don’t follow through, the gap between promise and result grows. So we try to fill in the gap. We promise more, we send emails, we rationalize, we explain, we assume other priorities, and we tell ourselves it’s not important or it’s too early or it’s too late. The gap chips away at our credibility. People no longer believe us, and worse, we no longer believe in ourselves. The shovel we so proudly stood next to is shoved off to the closet.
Time for some reflection.
How far apart are your promises from your results? Are you tossing emails, words, explanations, and other distractions into the gap, hoping that everyone involved (including yourself) will believe again?
Maybe it’s time to stop posing with that shovel and get your hands dirty with the real work.
How is your gap?