Stepping In Do

do or do not- there is no try I’ve been stepping in a lot of do lately. I’m executing more and more. I’m looking at execution as the deciding factor in what makes one successful. Sure we can plan, but if we don’t do, we’re just thinking.

How many times in our life do we hear this: “I had that exact same idea years before ____ did it.”

Know who that person is? Not a do-er. That’s for sure. They’re a thinker, an idea person. That’s great. Ideas aren’t worth a damn until they’re moved forward into doing. (Oh, I can already see your defensive comments, but you show me someone with a head full of ideas who hasn’t done something, and I’ll show you a barrista.)

Do Or Do Not

When I launched Man on the Go, I got a lot of emails from people telling me that I’d beat them to it, and that they were planning a similar site. Great, I said. Do it. Make your version. I’m sure it’ll be awesome.

We are either doing, or we’re talking about it.

Three Phases of Doing

There are probably a gazillion ways to skin how one considers the steps of execution, but I’m going to give you a rather simplistic one that Julien Smith and I talked about the other day, in preparation for the new book we’re writing together. In our model, we think there are three stages to doing:

  • Experimenting – which is often done in private.
  • Executing – which is the doing part.
  • Extending – building a community around the effort.

Companies do this. They have R&D departments. They then bring a product to market. If the product takes off, a community of sorts forms (if they’re lucky). That last step isn’t a guarantee, but it’s a lovely thing when it happens.

When you experiment, do it privately, if that helps. I’ve helped some companies get started with blogging, but suggesting they blog way off topic, without any name brands, so that they can get the feel for what blogging really is and isn’t. That’s experimenting for them, so that they can get comfortable. We all experiment around our kitchen tables, don’t we?

When you execute, that’s how you know it works or not. I’ve talked about this in the difference between recipe and restaurant. If you’re just collecting ideas but not testing them out, all you have are recipes.

When you build community, you acknowledge the people who matter to you. You build relationships with those people who appreciate what you’re doing, and who maybe can extend out what you’re doing. Lego has a lot of community. They listen. It’s a two-way street. There are many others you can think of who benefit from a strong network. You can, too.

Doing Just FEELS Good

Maybe you have tons of ideas on how you’ll achieve escape velocity. Maybe you are stuck at work, stuck without work, just feeling crushed against the things going wrong in your day to day life. Nothing curse the feeling of being stuck like doing, even if it’s phase 1.

So, let’s do. Step in do. Get do all over you.

What do you plan to do?

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  • Juan

    Christ – My mantra is “Do ALL you can Do…and That is enough”.
    Basically it means:
    I have to do absolutely all I can do, everything that is possible to do, if I want to do a sell, it means I need to do everything I can to to make it happen, prospect, maybe knock on home doors 100, 200, or whatever times it takes until I get a sell.
    At the end of the day, at that last awaken moment – I feel in my mind and body that I did everything I could, I feel in peace with me and God.

    • Phil

      Thats very true and said about self satisfaction, but getting that in today’s worlds where exceptions are too high from each end is bit difficult and if you know this art, you have achieved good things

    • Phil

      Thats very true and said about self satisfaction, but getting that in today’s worlds where exceptions are too high from each end is bit difficult and if you know this art, you have achieved good things

  • Mistress Mia

    Enough talking.

  • thomsinger

    Ready, Fire, Aim! Sure, you need to plan (Aim), yes, you need to think…. but at some point you have to “Fire”. If you miss the target, you can reposition and fire again, or you might even be surprised that by missing the target you his something amazing.

    I got criticized by a person when I wrote my first book that the product was not “perfect”. That person is still working on their book 5 years later. I have written several (and fixed the issue he complained about in the first one).

    Doing is better than not doing. Also I find those who do not “DO” are faster to be naysayers of the projects of others than “DOERS”. Those who do seem to congratulate and assist others who do. Those who don't do seem to look for flaws in the doers. Hmmmm, is that a pattern?

    Have a great day.


  • Ricardo Bueno

    Sometimes, you just have to get “it” (that idea) out there. Too often, we shoot for perfection or stall wondering if it's good enough… At some point, you have to man up, and get it out there, period. “Rework” talks about this.

    When you learn to take risks and let go, you can get a lot done.

  • Jodi Kaplan

    No criticism here. I said the exact same thing to someone yesterday, 'Ideas are great. They don't count unless you execute them.” Or, as Seth Godin said, “What you do is ship.”

  • Thesomersteam

    Great reminder that being proactive and “doing” is what it is all about. Sure, it is fun having ideas but without executing them, that is all they are. Results rarely happen without both executing and extending. The extending part I guess is several other blog posts : )

  • Joni_In_MN

    This came into email when I was “wasting” time watching stupid videos on the net!!! LOL Thanks Chris! I Love U too! :-) Do? Today, I will DO the finishing adjustments on on my blog layout. I will DO the email I need to send out. And DO the U/L (& organizing) so I can DO a pc clean sweep!!! Thanks again for getting me back on “good” time track!!! :-)

  • Daniel Decker

    Side note… We should hold an IDEAS TO EXECUTION Virtual Workshop and help people learn how to go from Idea to Implementation.

    Back to my comment… One of your potentially most life changing posts for a lot of people out there. I struggled with ideas versus doing for a while. Ideas flowed easy. Execution took time, work, $, resources, potential for failure. Procrastination and busyness where the biggest killers though.

    Over the years I've gotten over that. I've learned to ACT and how to narrow down the right ideas (for me) and turn them into realities. I've learned that talkers talk and doers do. There are people who move the ball forward and those who just sit on the sidelines as a commentator. I want to be on the field moving the ball in everything I do.

    The biggest break through for me was finding ways to multiply myself through more collaboration, using freelancers, finding partners, etc. They help me execute the details to make ideas materialize. If you try to do it all yourself, you likely won't get much done. I think that blocks a lot of people. They are overwhelmed and want to execute but often just don't know where to begin due to having little margin in their lives, as well as the perceived lack of resources.

    I have a big poster on my wall that says “Stop Talking. Start Doing.” Serves as a daily reminder that results matter. It doesn't have to be the perfect idea. You don't have to have it fully figured out (because you never will). Just go. Just do. Start somewhere or miss out.

  • Daniel Decker

    And BTW… I'm not just “talking” about doing an “Ideas to Execution” workshop / teleseminar. Let's do it. Chris, would love to have you as the main contributor. I can co-host and coordinate. Perhaps we can get a couple other of your blog readers who have become efficient with making ideas into realities and have them on to share their insights to. If you (or blog readers who are interested) want to roll this out… let me know. @danieldecker or I'm going to move forward with it and set a date.

  • katbrogan

    sorry Daniel
    as a wife of chris i am taking this chance to say “No.”
    If that man takes on another project his family will see him less
    I am saying “No.” with much love and respect
    Even if he says “Hmmm, let me consider that.”
    I am vetoing that and saying “NO. No. A thousand times no.”
    I am sure that you will do amazing things with this!

    • Nanross

      You go, girl! Sorry Daniel, wifey said “No”.

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  • Julie Diaz-Asper

    A great read with my first coffee of the day. And timely. Just this week I got the “you're an idea person”. I was insulted. Truly insulted. I pointed out that I am the person with the good idea that got it done. And that's a huge difference! I do have to admit that I love the “ideation” part of the program. A blank page of paper waiting for ideas is so much more fun than a spreadsheet with action steps. So I need to force myself to move on to “the do” more quickly. So thanks for the reminder and great tips.

  • Daniel Decker

    Haha Kat. I hear you loud and clear and as a dad of 2 girls, ages 10 and 7, I make it a personal priority to minimize anything that takes away from our most important responsibility as men and fathers… that being to be there for our families. My “idea” above was simply more so a 45 minute tele-seminar (done by phone). Nothing invasive. If Chris can do it, great. If not, no worries. He's already contributed plenty. :)

    • katbrogan

      45 minutes??
      my god man
      are you insane!?
      when is he supposed to eat!

    • katbrogan

      45 minutes??
      my god man
      are you insane!?
      when is he supposed to eat!

  • Ron De Giusti

    Execution is everything. And … forget all that talk about the long-tail theory. “So what” if you start executing and it's not perfect.

    So many people told me when I started out blogging that I had to worry about the “long tail” of what I was doing. They would say, “don't start blogging till you've figured out your audience and what your 'ask' is.”

    Screw it. I started blogging about things I found interesting at work. Things that I could write about with some authority. Things I thought I was giving back with and helping others.

    My big inspiration when I started blogging was my 4 year old learning to ride his bike. He would get frustrated. He would fall. But, he would just keep trying. He wasn't worried about the long-tail of what people would think about his original attempts at riding a bike.

    I'd like to propose the following:
    People are more forgiving than we give them credit for! That it is OK to start out stumbling when you first execute. And that it's not your “starting point” that is important, but rather where you end up and that your journey of executing is done in a positive manner.

  • Ricardo Guerrero (@ggroovin)

    Dude! That's what I'M talkin' about! (That is to say, so glad to be in sync with ya, man.)

    Left the corporate/agency world altogether & working 100% on my own thing. Still trying to focus Stwittergy as the tool to help folks find influencers following them or their competitors, but it was too focused on Twitter for general social media work. Dilemma? I didn't want to say I'm a Consultant. Feels too much like, “Those who can't teach, consult!”

    So, I thought of synonyms of Do-er (not a good company name, for the same reason as your post title alludes to): Implementor. Synonyms of that? Dynamo – an apparatus that generates direct current electricity / a person who's very energetic. Hence, Social Media Dynamo – Generate excitement & Power your Brand! (& I'm the Chief Buzz Generator =)

    Now it's on to all the actual tasks of doing what it takes to start a successful solopreneurship, including with to hitting the pavement every day & every opportunity to meet folks, tell them my story, and why I made the tough choice to leave the security of a 9-to-9 job for the thrill of an 8-to-midnight one!

    Any advice for the new transitioner? Cheers, man, & say “hola” to Julien for me.

    – Ricardo (@ggroovin)

  • Rufus Dogg

    Just popping in to say that dogs were doing DO way before most do was being done. Anyone who want to roll around in DO, I shamelessly ask for the sale as Rev. Brogan himself would advise and go read my blog at And while you are there, why not cover yourself thoroughly in DO and subscribe. And Brogan? Quit stepping in front of my DO. I own DO :-)

  • Brad Morrison

    Apparently there's a corollary to stepping in do, e.g., knowing when to step over do, or to scoop up the do and hand it off. This thread response to the article is at least as valuable as the article itself.

  • Dianecameron Info

    I'm so glad I am reading you now. Been writing my blog ( so privately for several years..time to step into some”do” and take it public. Thank you for this.

    Diane Cameron

  • Christy

    Chris – I love this post! We met when I was lost in the land of “what the heck am I going to do”. I lost my job exactly one year ago – I knew I wanted to do something and I knew that something would be huge, I just didn't know what that something was. I had a crazy idea right before Christmas. Everyone told me it was crazy, I was nuts, I didn't have enough time, it wouldn't work.

    It was crazy but I DID it anyway. That idea turned into another idea which created many more ideas. This week, my crazy idea was featured on TV:

    I'm happy I didn't listen to anyone and let myself DO!

    Peace & Peas, Christy

  • Dara Bell

    I agree I feel the better one can execute the more successful. This does seem to be the topic of Linchpin (waiting for Postman for this). I like Godins qoute that plumbers do not get writers block and say I things like I am just too blocked to unblock.

    I think what you said about “Man On The Go” is right on, Godin said everyone of his books someone else was working on a similar idea he just stuck it out longer and shipped on time, while others gave up. Execution and not executing can sometimes come down to small things like being a single mom or needing to look after someone who is down or a homestudy in the evening or other things. What about getting the small things sorted to move to the larger picture (execution). You have someone look after your kids and you execute and become known for it. I would urge people to get things like child care or unnessacary study out of way to execute more, it is not being put down on CVs and included in Skillsets for companies but time and time again is listed by Fortune 500 and UK Top 40 CEOs as inmportant.

    It should seems to come up time and time again among CEOs and Mavens like Seth Godin as something they find important. It is unhuman to feel ineffectual some people feel this way on major issues like Climate Change or urban crime.

    Good points too from Kat, think you are really killing it with the projects you have on the table already Chris.



  • Rex

    I do do a lot.

    The problem is stickiness.

    I often can't stick with something long enough for it to get traction. Maybe that's a subject for another post – how do you get through 'the dip'? as Seth Godin describes in his book with that title.

  • John Richardson

    Great post, Chris. Something I've had to learn the hard way… Instead of blogging about what you are going to do… Do it first and then blog about the results. Works much better that way…

  • John Richardson

    What a powerful story! Thanks for the motivation to put aside the naysayers and just DO!

  • Matthew

    May I suggest an excellent book that will help you put some science behind a lot of this great thinking? It's called 'Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward' and lays out the scientific steps one needs to change (or in your case … “do”)

    I hope you'll find that helpful.

    Matthew Lampros

  • Blaine Rumsey

    @chrisbrogan Excellent article as usual. When you execute “DO”, it feels great! If you just sit around wondering if you did something what would happen, you will never know for sure all you can do is speculate. There is also another flaw that is just as bad and sometimes worse. That is being a “Serial Quitter”. You set out with big plans you put in a lot of hours into something, then you never finish it. The repetition of this is what defines the “Serial Quitter”.

    @Readers If any of this sounds “like” you, run to your local library or bookstore or hop on Amazon, and purchase Seth Godin's book “The Dip”. It may change your life, but how will you know unless you try.

  • Blaine Rumsey

    You lean really hard into and keep pushing until you break through. Anything worth doing has a dip. Furthermore the book focuses on the fact that successful people quit all the time. They just “quit the right stuff at the right time”.

  • Andre Natta

    My biggest issue recently has been doing. It's weird because I got to this point by doing and not necessarily worrying about what would go wrong. It's looking like it's about to finally pay off, but in order to do so I've got to keep doing for a little longer and I wonder if I've got the mental stamina to do so.

    One thing I have found is that doing is easier when you've surrounded yourself with others that do and who don't just say why something has or will fail. I found myself in one of those environments for a while and now that I've removed myself from it, I'm slowly getting back the ability to ship and complete tasks.

    It's always nice to be reminded about what matters and how important doing is… Hopefully I'll see you when you're here in Birmingham in August!

  • Christy

    Thank You John! I appreciate you taking the time to respond. Yes – just get out there and DO!

  • Alexandermearle

    Just do it

  • Omar Alam

    I'm trying not to laugh as so much of this true, especially the DO part. Thought I think with online projects/endeavors/hustles, more people are stuck in a planning/strategy development loop. With no escape.

    I'm not going to say I don't get caught it planning and don't take action, though I also do believe in a phased approach and seeing what results area before taking major steps.

    And doing is all that matters in the end. Good or bad.

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  • Robinmallery

    Juicy comments, reflecting an understanding of the value of balancing our lives. It's simply not all about “business success”, although DO is certainly a worthy work ethic. However, taking care of ourselves, nurturing our physical and emotional well-being by prioritizing time to be mindful about what how we feed ourselves, move our bodies, and quiet our brains, this is the DO that often gets missed, with a significant long-term consequence…

  • Craig Jarrow

    Chris – This post really resonates. I especially like the part about the people that said you had “beat them to it” with the Man on the Go concept.

    The reality is that you beat them to DOING IT. I cannot count how many people have said they had a great online idea and then never DID IT.

    Just yesterday, someone asked me why they couldn't do the same type of site as mine. I really didn't give it a second thought. Because the chance of them DOING IT, and DOING IT long term was basically zero.

    Don't listen to the static from the talkers, instead run with the doers!

  • Nanross

    Good post! In the past, I found myself always experimenting, but never executing. Then I would ask myself to this day, was I passionate about what I was experimenting on in the past? No! You have to have passion “stepping in do”.Passion will overcome fear and lead to execution.

  • samrosen

    Awesome, Chris. As a Gen Y “idea-list” with lots of big ideas and a penchant for entrepreneurship, I can really relate to the mindset of seeing “having a brain full of ideas” as being of primary value, rather than executing the idea(s) itself. I think our generation is probably the most pampered and lucky of all time, and we've grown up with the internet, which gives us access to an unlimited source of information and ideas. But placing the value and emphasis on execution–and appreciating that ideas in and of themselves have no benefit to others–might actually be a radical notion for my peers and I, and the one that can propel us from simply thinking big to truly helping others and creating a more positive future.

  • MissMich

    I like this post and I think we all, can appreciate the sentiment and I have head it a lot across the internet … “I have got this great idea but it is in the planning stages”, and then nothing happens. I think if you have the time great and as you mentioned above different people can have a different take on the same concept and reach different people to your following so I think it is great that you have that thought, most people don't like their ideas to be used (as a copy idea).

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  • Clara Mathews

    Such good advice for people like me who tend to let self-doubt keep them for doing what they should do.

  • Lea Jones

    I like that Star Wars Yoda Costume. I have bought the Yoda Costume for my daughter.

  • Leon Noone

    G'day Chris,

    Years ago, I read something that's relevant. “Creativity is thinking about doing something new. Innovation is actually doing it.” Years later, I discovered “paralysis by analysis” These days, all I'll say is that creativity is merely inventive plagiarism.

    Perhaps Nike's had it right all these years. And, just make sure you have fun



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  • Gabriella O'Rourke

    Loved this – and agree absolutely! When all is said and done, more is said than done (hmmm, second time I've used that quote today!). Anyhooo, one addition I would make is that sometimes thinkers need to find a doer to complement them. The best and most intuitive thinkers are not always the best to bring the idea to full fruition. Does that make it a bad idea? I would encouraging doing, and sometimes doing anything is better than sitting around just thinking, but if you recognise the limitations of your doing capability, try engaging with others who will bring accountability and practical execution. As someone who often finds themselves translating strategic vision to concrete reality, I don't criticise the visionary thinker for not being able to follow-through. I enable them to share their ideas and pour passion and energy into a real-world fabrication on their behalf…

  • electronic display

    That's right .Go ahead ..

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