Are you a spectator or a participant?

Today I looked at the calendar and did a double-take.

Um, hello! Where did all that time go?

Unfortunately, time doesn’t stop and wait for us to catch up. (Believe me, there are days when I wish I had a “pause” button.) Time passes whether we’re ready or not.

Take a moment and think back to where you were a year ago.

What were you doing? Where did you think you would be in a year – either in your personal life or in your business. What changes did you expect to happen?

Now compare that to where you are today.

Is it what you expected? Did you make the progress you had hoped to make?

If you’re like most people, you’ve got lots of great ideas that all have amazing potential. Maybe there’s a new service you want to offer, an e-book you want to write, or an idea for a new product. It’s gonna be awesome…just as soon as you get it together…

…so it sits on your “someday” to-do list.

Eventually you’ll get around to making it happen…right?

But how many of those Great Ideas have become a reality? Be honest.

Are you going through the motions, day by day, letting life dictate your path, or do you “take the bull by the horns” and make the life you want to have?

Are you a spectator or a participant in your life?

We can come up with tons of excuses that keep us from making progress, but the real culprit is usually our own resistance.

We’re afraid to put ourselves out there
We’re afraid of being wrong
We’re afraid of being ridiculed
We’re afraid of being embarrassed
We’re afraid we’ll be successful and we won’t know how to handle it.

We’re simply afraid of the risks

Spectators don’t usually stand out in a crowd

As a spectator, it’s easy to blend, to hide, to “go with the flow”. It’s safe. And safe is good…right?

You’re safe, sure, but what will happen to all those Great Ideas you have? Great ideas languish. Growth stagnates. We get bored. Tired. Discouraged. Spectators rarely realize their full potential.

Participants take chances

When you’re a participant, it’s much harder to hide in the crowd. You don’t blend, and you don’t want to. You don’t hide your ideas and opinions, you share them and act on them.

When you’re a participant, you ignore the fear and take the risk – knowing that you might fail.

And if you fail, well, at least you tried, right? You’ll try again. And again. And again – until you get it right.

You’re still going to be afraid sometimes, but don’t let that fear stop you.

So which is it? Do you want to be a spectator or a participant?

It’s your choice. There is no right or wrong answer. Just be true to you.

Photo credit: Gavin Whitner

  • I am a participating and proud!

    Yes I still have a lot left to do this year but It’s getting done! I have been three times more productive than I was last year which is excellent. I just now need a body that can keep up with my mind!

  • Lisa, this post couldn’t have been better timed for me. I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection lately and realizing that although I have met a couple of really significant goals this year, others that I thought I would have accomplished by now have definitely gone on the back burner.

    Ow, ow, ow.

    Let me know if you hear of a Pause Button app.

    This was a nice kick in the butt for me. Thank you.

    • Hi Mary – I’ve been reflecting a lot too, which is what prompted this post. Glad it was helpful.

  • Clearly I’m a Participator and although I haven’t met all my goals for the year, I have spent time re-working and re-framing them (does that count).

    I’ve also gotten much more clear on what I should be doing and what I want to be doing. Those two things should really amp up my productivity.

    Great post, definitely made stop and think about all the things I DID DO even if I missed a few.

    Take the small wins!

    • The key is to be doing something all the time that keeps our momentum going. But you’re the Red.Hot.Momentum expert, so I certainly don’t have to tell you that… 😉

  • I so agree that spectators blend in. They don’t WANT to be noticed, lest they have to do more. I’m a spectator in some aspects but not in others. Since I got laid off yesterday from my tech writing job, I suppose now it’s time to become a participant in the field I am really passionate about – fitness. One – two – three – JUMP!

    • Suzanne, sorry about the layoff – but yes, this is the perfect opportunity to really dig into your passion! It’s funny how life works, isn’t it?

  • For me participating and spectating is not an either/or – it is a both/and…and more.

    I participate fully in many aspects of business and personal life, bringing ideas forward, creating, and being in action to transform. And I also learn greatly from observing, listening and watching carefully, and considering other people’s ideas and actions from the sidelines, lending support and energy where required and empowering others. It’s not always my time on the ‘stage’, as it were, and then I relish the wisdom of others.

    I find it is a cycle and circle, a virtuous one, which brings great rewards for those I am collaborating with and thereby for myself also.

    However, it is vital to seize the day and be courageous about discovering and offering your particular unique gifts to the world when your turn on the podium arrives…being both an active participant and an active spectator, and learning to judge the timing.
    Carpe diem!

    • Christine, thanks for your very thoughtful comment. You’re right, it’s a cycle. We learn by observing and then act on that new knowledge. Great wisdom here. 🙂

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