The Bigger Picture: There is No Try

Yesterday, I was speaking with a business partner who owed me some data. I had been waiting too long for the overdue analysis. As we were wrapping up the call, he said to me, “I will try to get that to you by the end of the week.” I laughed and asked, “But when will you get it to me?” He responded by repeating himself, “I said I’d try to get it to you by end of week.” I explained that I wanted to share the numbers with my team and was going to schedule a meeting to do so. I needed to know when he would actually get me the data, not when he would “try”.

When my sister tells me, “I will try to show up at your party….”
When my daughter says she will try to clean up her room…
When a friend texts saying that she will try to give me a call tomorrow…

I know what this means.
It means that they might try, but they probably won’t, and they definitely will NOT show up, clean up or call me up.

I know that we have all been taught to try our very best, but sometimes trying isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to go the Nike way and just do it.

This became clear to me many years ago when I heard Yoda say, “Do or do not. There is no try.” He really is so wise, isn’t he? He’s my hero.

Do or do not. There is no try.

With many things in life, you can do it, or not do it. Period. No one cares if you tried. Although I do sometimes call out friends and an occasional business colleague, I am more likely to leverage this wisdom internally. I never say that I will try to do something. I make a decision. Is this something that I want to commit to? Yes or no…and then I commit…or not.

I admit to being a bit of an organizational nerd. I have ongoing lists of professional and personal tasks that need to get done every single day. The title of my to do list? “Do or do not. There is no try.” It’s my to do list, not my try list. So, if I say I am going to do it on that particular day, I do. It’s simple; it takes the decision making out of the equation.

Over the next week, listen to yourself. Do you catch yourself saying that you are going to try? What do you really mean by that? Would it be possible to turn your intention into action by simply omitting the word try and making a commitment to yourself and to others?

Oh, two more things:

  • If you want to see Yoda in action in a video we made, go here and wait until the end of the 30 second video.
  • I have launched a series of “21 Day Projects” to capitalize on the concept that new habits can form in just three weeks. Or, at the very least, you can get a lot done in that time.  If you want to receive tips like these to help you get more done, check out the “Get More Done” 21 Day Project.
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