Seth Godin’s great commandment “SHIP IT” looms large in my leadership. The truth is it’s so much easier said than done. That damn “analysis paralysis” gets me, and if not, the list of hindrances is long: feature creep, the resistance, planning, meetings, distractions, emergencies…you know the story. I was thinking about people that get ship done. What makes them effective? How do they overcome these obstacles? So many questions. Then this quote popped into my head:
Sometimes Wrong, but Never in Doubt
Growing up, my dad famously recited this quote, often. More importantly, he lived it. With plenty of shortcuts and errors in his wake. My dad did his own thing. Surefooted, he carved his path, and he seldom doubted his decisions. He shipped.
I can remember Saturdays when he would set his mind to complete some project that popped into his head. A few hours later, voila, he would kick out a three-legged stool from a tree that he fell the previous week, or he would pull an old-growth tree out of the earth by sheer force, a chain, and a V8 engine. He just did things; not always perfect, but he did it.
About five years before he died, at dinner one night my dad declared, “no more broccoli! I’ve lived into my 70s, and I don’t have to eat things I don’t like.” There was no debate, maybe a little subtle admiration. Never in doubt, he decided his path, and he never retreated.
As a result of living his life with resolve, my dad always rose as a leader in nearly every group. He committed to lead his Sunday School class, and he shipped. He led the SWAT team in the FBI. Although he was a little 5’9” guard, he was the captain of his college football team. He led because he instilled confidence in his resolve.
It’s easy to hold a conviction loosely. We have mountains of points and counterpoints in front of us; suddenly, we aren’t definitive, and we can’t ship. “Don’t let perfect stand in the way of good enough” as they say. People will follow you, and some will judge you. You will get ship done.
By the way, if you don’t want to eat the damn broccoli, you have permission to push it away.