The difference between success and failure

is the difference between knowing and doing. 

This idea was proven to me this morning as I got dressed and realized that my favorite suit had shrunk. While I could still button the jacket, it’s really tight. I couldn’t figure out how something that looked so good two years ago could fit so poorly now. What was the difference? Knowing and doing. 

Of course, suits don’t shrink. Something else had changed.

A few years ago, I got really excited about getting into shape. I researched, read and studied the most effective way to get my health in order and to drop body fat. God knows I needed to. At 335 lbs, I didn’t look well, I didn’t feel well and probably most importantly, I didn’t perform well. I pulled information from everywhere together, learned what I needed to do, made a plan and got to work. I changed the way I ate. I changed the way I exercised. I changed the way I slept. In the end, it changed my life as I lost 100lbs and never felt better in my life.  I gave away all of my fat clothes and bought new ones. I had burned the ships so I couldn’t go back. I was proud of my newly found discipline and how all of this new knowledge had impacted me. That’s when I bought my favorite suit. I looked good, felt good and most importantly, my performance was good.  Today this suit doesn’t really fit and it took me a while to figure out why. It’s tough because I still know all of the things that I knew when I got healthy. I know how I should eat, how I should train and how I should sleep. I have all of the knowledge it takes to look, feel and perform my best. It’s added up to a suit that doesn’t fit because I haven’t been doing.  This is a simple, embarrassing, and true story that highlights something really big with leaders today. Just like me when it comes to the simple disciplines that helped me get healthy, leaders know how to deal with difficult people. Leaders know how to establish credibility. Leaders know how to make people feel important. The problem in most cases isn’t that the leaders need more knowledge, it’s that they need to DO WHAT THEY KNOW.

Knowledge Isn’t Enough

That’s where the difference between knowing and doing becomes such a challenge. We live in a world where knowledge has never been easier to secure. We can get books everywhere. YouTube brings thought leaders to your fingertips. Blogs and online articles fill our social media channels. We’ve never known more than we know now and in many cases, turnover has never been higher, employee engagement has never been lower and the need for true leadership has never been greater. We know enough. It’s time to do.