– by Matt Leedham
There comes a time when all of the writing, thinking, planning, etc. just needs to be put aside. Sometimes, it all comes down to one thing: action.
Four winters ago, before my wife and I were married, we walked home one January evening after dinner in Dupont Circle (Washington, DC). It must have been 15-20 degrees that night. And it was windy. As we approached my building, my wife noticed a man at the top of some stairs leading to a service entrance of the hotel across the street from my apartment. He was curled up in a ball, with no coat or blanket, visibly shivering. My fiancé (at the time) demanded that we do something. She was right. He might not have made it through the night. We called the city’s hypothermia hotline, grabbed a thick wool blanket from the apartment and ran back outside to let him know that help was on the way.
Ever since that night, my wife and I have casually talked about doing a coat drive among our networks of friends and colleagues. Every year around the holidays it kept coming up, but we never took action. There was always so much going on at work, or with family, or with travel. The usual excuses.
- Eight weeks ago in reflecting on my personal core values and what I wanted to accomplish in the coming year, I wrote down the goal of having a coat drive.
- Six weeks ago, I reviewed my goals and told my wife about it.
- Four weeks ago, I expanded on that goal, jotting down some ideas about next steps.
- Two weeks ago, I started telling some people about my plans.
- Last week I realized I hadn’t done anything about it and the depths of winter were approaching rapidly.
- This past weekend, disappointed that I still had not moved the ball forward, I committed to taking action on Monday.
- Yesterday, I made 3 phone calls: 1) to my friend who used to work in the wine industry, 2) to another friend who is a phenomenal amateur chef, and 3) to a non-profit dedicated to helping feed and clothe the homeless in the District.
- Today, my wife and I will be sending out an Evite to 50 friends and colleagues inviting them to our house on December 18th for our First Annual Holiday Wine Tasting for the Homeless. Price of admission = $20 + all the lightly used winter clothing they can find in their homes.
When I boil all of this down and distill it into the truth, I find that making this dream a reality required me to make 3 phone calls and send one invitation. That’s about it. All together, maybe 30 minutes of my time.
Sometimes, you need to “just do it.” We all have resources and networks at our fingertips. We all have the ability to make things happen. Just do it. If you don’t think you have the resources to pull something like this off (or some other big idea you have), I challenge you. By virtue of reading this, you have the same resources I do. Just ask.
What about money, you say? Well the $20/person will cover the cost of the wine. The food is our holiday gift to our friends, family, and colleagues. And the winter clothing is free to collect and donate. Don’t let money be an excuse. It’s just a brain-teaser with many possible solutions.
The world can ill afford to wait for you to act. You have what you need. It is time to apply your education, knowledge, experience, and resources to improve humankind.
I wrote this one day in my journal a few months ago. The other day, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Just do it.