Just Do Something

A friend once complained that since he didn’t have time to do his “full” workout he wasn’t going to bother going to the gym.

He knew that a quick walk around the block would make him feel better – would be a good use of the time he did have – but his benchmark for “workout” wouldn’t allow it.

Or have you ever been in conversation with a colleague and said, “Well, I don’t have time to go into that right now” and then gone into it anyway and found that “that” only took a few minutes?

It wasn’t the expression itself that needed much time but the buildup – perhaps the anxiety – you felt about it that made it feel that way.

Or is it even possible that you knew that once you expressed it you would have let the air out of that particular balloon, the stretched surface of which had provided a particular kind of self-righteousness. Once expressed – once normalized – that feeling no longer quite fit the situation and had to be let go.

I’m convinced that leaders regularly avoid career conversations, development conversations and even routine feedback conversations with their employees because they have a story in their head that a “big” conversation requires a big expense of time and energy when all they’ve got is the equivalent of a walk around the block.

The big investments – relationships, fitness, education – require some effort every day. Drip by drip that effort accumulates into something stable, sustainable and reliable.

Heavy rains tend to do more harm than good.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.

Why do you lead?

Yesterday, I shared the leadership profile I use with my clients including this essential question: Why do you lead?

If I know why you lead I will be better equipped to follow you. I will know how to follow you. And I want to know how because that will make me – and you – more successful.

Without a personal and compelling response to this question your followers will still follow but only transactionally. And this might be enough for some leaders.

But for those looking to create meaningful impact and sustainable change, transactional followership will never be sufficient.

It’s the heart of your followers that you have to capture and this comes, in part, from a clear and unequivocal statement of why you lead.

One approach you might consider:

In a follow-up to his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek created a workbook called Discover Your Why. I recently used his methodology – personal storytelling that reveals themes of contribution and impact – for the first time with a client.

It worked really well, bringing to the surface an array of values, behaviors, strengths and interactions that made sense to my client as the defining pattern of his life. Discovering that pattern allowed him to name with purpose and clarity the core of his leadership point of view.

Being able to do that means that he can now provide his team access to what matters most to him in a concrete and usable way. And he is further equipped to continue that conversation as circumstances change and new challenges emerge.

“What” and “how” are critical questions to answer well but for deep commitment to a cause worth fighting for, “why” is everything.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.

Change One Word

Think about your job, your commitments, your responsibilities.

Have all of that in mind? Now, say to yourself: “I have to do this.”

Ok. How does that feel?

Keep thinking about all of those things you do every day.

Let’s replace one word and try it again. Say to yourself, “I get to do this.”

What do you think? What’s the difference for you?

Please comment below and let me know.

DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.