By Ashley Northington
I love red velvet cupcakes. I especially love the red velvet cupcakes from the Cupcake Collection in Nashville. So, imagine my surprise when Mignon Francois, owner and CEO of the Cupcake Collection, offered me free red velvet cupcakes and I didn’t take her up on the offer.
Here’s what happened: I was a panelist at the Nashville Small Business Expo. Immediately after the panel, a luncheon was held featuring Francois and other prominent entrepreneurs.When it was her time to speak, she said, “Everyone always asks me if I have free cupcakes in my purse. Today I remembered, and I do I have free cupcakes in my purse. So, who wants free cupcakes?”
A few people rushed to the stage. The first two people who got there were the recipients of free cupcakes. I had squandered an opportunity to get the very thing I say I loved. Francois told the audience that what we had just experienced was a valuable business lesson. She said that nothing is business would just fall in our laps. She told us we had to get what we wanted. And this is where it got real for me: “The only people who wanted the free cupcakes were the two people that got them.”
Noooo!!! I really wanted the cupcakes. Remember, I love red velvet cupcakes. I really, really, really wanted them. Didn’t I? She was right.
While I do love red velvet cupcakes, I didn’t want them bad enough that day. Instead of trying to guess the process, I should have jumped up to get what I say I love – especially when it is ready for the taking. I could have taken action. Instead, I grappled with process. I looked around to see what everyone else was doing. I heard the information a second time, and by then I was too slow. I didn’t focus on results. I didn’t focus on getting what I ultimately wanted.
That day, it was just about cupcakes. But how many times has this happened in your business? How many times have you delayed or halted action, while watching what others were doing? How many times have you stalled dealing with information overload while neglecting to move? How many times have you been too slow to act and then missed an opportunity? If I’m being honest, this has happened to me far too many times. While I sometimes call myself ‘the ultimate dreamer, learner, and do-er,’ I certainly failed to live up on that day.
Here is the good news. There is always another day and another opportunity to get red velvet cupcakes or whatever you want. To that end, here are a couple tips to get you moving:
Study by doing. I’d like to caution you into consuming too much information—so much so that it cripples you into being a vegetable. Read what you need to read. Watch what you need to watch. Hear what you need to hear, and then move. Be a great student … of implementation. This is how you get what you say you want.
Get going. If you’re anything like me, then you know process and details are critically important. But what is even more important is that you actually do take action. Taking action is how you get the cupcakes. Yes, figure out the process and details. But don’t wait until it’s perfect to move. Sometimes you have to be willing to jump off the cliff and pray you grow wings on the way down.
A version of this post originally appeared on Northington’s website.
Northington is the owner of DENOR Brands and Public Relations,boutique public relations firm that serves Nashville, Memphis, Shreveport, New Orleans and Baton Rouge. She also hosts the #LiveYourBrand podcast. Find her online at AshleyNorthington.com.