The Fine Balance Between Inspiration and Execution

podacst_wikimediacommonsArticles, webinars, videos, and podcasts are great sources of inspiration. But do you find yourself not ever really taking action on what you learned, overwhelmed with all the new tips you want to try, or less confident afterwards? There is such a thing as over-learning. If you consume too much you actually raise expectations about yourself so high so that you will ultimately become discouraged and not take any action on your learnings. “It’s important to balance observed learning with applied learning, and we often times get stuck in the former.”

We have designed actionable steps you can take for each of these symptoms that can help you better leverage inspirational material to work for you.

How to better take action from inspiration?

When Your To-Do list is Longer than Your Christmas List…

…Keep Your To-Do List Actionable Through Prioritization

Post It Notes Notice Board Sticky Notes NoteTrying to learn or take in too much new information at once can often times lead to an overwhelming to-do list. It’s best to come up with a list of bite-size to-do items after a single podcast or article and then highlight the ONE that you think will benefit you most right now and implement. Your to-do list can quickly get out of control and unmanageable and become a list for a whole workforce. But there is only one of you. If you commit yourself to one item then you will have taken a tangible step to further your goal. Leave the rest of the ideas in an ideas backlog that you can refer to later. Remember you don’t have to do all of them. It’s better to do a few all the way through than all of them half way.

When Learning Through Observing Overtakes Learning Through Doing…

Commit to Take Action Even if You Don’t Feel Ready

Uncomfortable to take first step_AdobeStock_122597166.jpegYou will become overwhelmed there is still so much to learn that you convince yourself that you are not ready to take action. Don’t let this happen to you. You want to balance the ways in which you learn with which you take action. After getting inspired, tell yourself it’s ok to start now even though you don’t have all the details to execute. It’s ok to make mistakes and figure some stuff out for yourself. After all you don’t have to be hand-fed every detail on how to execute. Challenge yourself to go even with some uncertainty. And yes, it will feel uncomfortable and risky, but learning through experimentation will actually ingrain the knowledge deeper into your habits than learning through others. Let’s be honest how many tips do you remember from that podcast you listened to last week? See what I mean.

When You Realize How Little You Know And It Lowers Your Confidence…

…The Best Thing You Can Do is To Be Sure About Yourself, Not the Outcome

Jack Ma_wikimediacommonsStaying in a learning state of mind where you learn from others and not yourself can actually lower your confidence. You become much more empowered when you experiment and learn through your own actions rather than learning through others taking action. Realize that not everyone knows it all and you don’t need to either, to be successful. On top of that, not everything everyone says or experiences is going to be true to you.
Look at Jack Ma, the most successful e-commerce founder in the world. He doesn’t know anything about engineering, yet he is a self-made billionare. The first time you execute something it won’t be 100% perfect, so go in with this expectation. The best works in time are iterative. For example, the iPhone 7 is much better than the iPhone 1. But Apple didn’t wait until they learned everything on how to make the 7. Overtime they learned from the previous product they made and that’s how they made the new one better.
Take another example. Donald Trump, although a savvy business man, he doesn’t know very much about how to run a country as he has never been president before. But the donald trump_confidentman has confidence. He ran for president not having a predominantly political background like his more experience rival and won anyway. Did he look unsure of himself when he ran? Absolutely not. It’s better to execute, fail and learn, than to not execute at all. When trying to boost your confidence, have confidence in the fact that you will learn and do your best. Trust in the process! You don’t have to be sure about the outcome, but what you can do is be sure about yourself.

Photo: Post It Notes Notice Board Sticky Notes Note. Creative Commons Zero – CC0.
World Economic Forum. Photo of Jack Ma. CC BY-SA 3.0 (, GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 2.0 ( Wikimedia Commons. 2008.
Gage Skidmore. Photo of Donald Trump. CC BY-SA 2.0 ( Commons. 2016.


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