Recently I’ve been talking to people who are extremely gifted at what they do — but they haven’t quite yet figured out how to monetize their gift to the fullest extent.
In speaking with them, I could quickly see that most of their energy was going towards telling people what they were going to do…rather than doing the actual thing.
This inspired me to write today’s article.
Should you tell people what your plans are? Should you share your goals, dreams, and aspirations with just anyone? Is it OK to talk about your projects while they’re in progress?
The short answer is no. I don’t think it’s beneficial for someone to be sharing their goals, plans, and aspirations with just anyone.
Even if you have great intentions (i.e., you want to create meaningful change in the world through your gifts), you can end up squandering your energy by talking too much, and doing too little.
Here are 5 reasons why it’s better to stay silent while you’re working to make something happen:
1. “Talking” about something before you do it can dissipate all your creative energy around it.
Have you ever noticed that when you tell someone what you’re going to do…that’s almost more satisfying than actually doing it? You get a short-term rush of adrenaline by talking about it. It can feel good in the moment hearing people’s initial reactions, praise, or support in response to your plans.
But here’s the thing: It takes energy to talk about something. You only have a certain amount of energy available to use each day. If you’re busy talking instead of doing, you’re probably mis-using your energy.
When you talk about what you’re working on (or planning to do), you lose power. It’s subtle, but it happens. The excitement and energy that could have gone into the project instead goes into “telling people about it.”
In contrast, when you stay silent — the pressure of not saying a word begins to build, creating urgency and incentive for you to get the project done.
2. Talking about what you’re going to do can be a subtle form of procrastination — a way to keep yourself playing small, so that you can avoid doing the REAL work.
Talking about a project might FEEL like you’re getting meaningful work done…but you’re not. You’re simply engaging in an advanced form of hiding.
The real work is where your real growth will take place.
When you do the real work, you’ve got to face all your internal demons and conquer them. This is hard and scary for most people; so they’d rather not go there. It feels more safe and comfortable to just “talk” endlessly about what they’re going to do. (Talking doesn’t require you to change or grow.)
3. Telling “just anyone” about what you’re working on — opens you up to random and unsolicited feedback, advice, and even criticism.
Your goals and aspirations are precious. They should be nurtured and protected, not freely exposed to just anyone. The fact is, NOT everyone will appreciate or understand why you’re going for your particular goals…and not everyone will be supportive of your dreams.
When someone is working towards a goal, they’re usually in a fragile or budding state of enthusiasm. Even the smallest shred of disapproval from an outside source can cause that person to doubt and second-guess themselves.
Doubt and second-guessing are like acid dissolving your internal resolve to meet the goal.
Rather than expose yourself to potentially disapproving energy of people who can’t or won’t appreciate your work — simply do the thing you set out to do. Channel all your passion and excitement into the action itself.
Other people’s opinions don’t belong anywhere in your own creative space. In the worst case scenario, they can diminish or damage your confidence (if you let them). If you’re the type of person who gets easily thrown off track by someone’s negative opinion of you, this is even more of a reason to protect your energy and your creative space.
4. Talk is cheap. Everybody talks. What separates the talkers from the doers is the DOING.
Anybody can get a rise out of someone by telling them what they’re “going to do.” Big deal.
Few people actually back up their talk with action. Many dreams have been slowly eroded and eventually killed by too much talk and not enough action.
By doing, you set yourself way apart from everyone else who’s trying to do the same thing.
There’s a sweet, deep satisfaction in quietly, yet diligently working towards a goal without telling a single soul what you’re up to.
5. Showing people what you’ve done is more powerful than telling them what you’re going to do.
As a mentor of mine once said: “Don’t tell people what you’re going to do… show them what you’ve already done.”
Actions carry far more weight than words. When you’re a talker, people can debate with you until the sun sets about what you’re doing to do. They might even talk you out of it.
But once you’ve finished something, nobody can argue with the fact that it’s finished. Not even you!
Remember, every time you utter a word about something you’re going to do in the future, it chisels away at your power to do the thing NOW.
~ ~ ~
I used to be the queen of talking about what I was going to do…and then never following through on my plans. I used to get sidetracked, trying to manage all the unsolicited feedback I got.
So I understand the allure of talking. It’s seductive. It’s exciting.
But take it from me…DOING things and actually completing them is much more satisfying. Plus, that’s what allows you to make a real difference in the world. (Today, through writing anti-marketing ads for my millionaire clients, I get to make a difference in thousands of readers’ lives…all because I shut my mouth and got to work.)
The quickest path is always a straight line. Getting yourself from where you’re at now, to where you’ll be after the goal is completed, requires focus and mental discipline.
Don’t tell a soul what you’re up to. Stay silent.
If you want to tell someone about your goal, you should be a damn good reason for doing so. For example, it’s perfectly OK to tell a coach or mentor (or someone who is truly supportive of you and can help you get the result you want) about your plans. In that case, they can help you formulate a strategy to reach your goal as efficiently and joyfully as possible. (That includes them helping YOU get out of your own way.)
The time to talk is AFTER you’ve finished.