Global Leadership Network UK & Ireland

GLN UK & Ireland

Why Is It that We Don’t Get Round to Doing Things We Really Want to Do? – Harvey Leach

Picture of a dramatic and cloudy sky

This was a question I found myself considering quite deeply last week when a friend of mine – let’s call him Dave – was talking about a business idea that he’d had for years.

Pretty much every time I’ve met him he’s talked about it.

He sounds passionate about it.

The idea won’t leave him.

He describes it as something he’s “made to do”, his “life purpose”.

And yet, how long has he had this idea and done almost nothing with it? Over 15 years! Fifteen years of dreaming, longing, imagining success . . . . . . . . . and doing nothing about it! What is going on?

Dave then went on to describe all of the reasons why he hadn’t got it done– other projects, not enough money to fund it, getting caught up in doing all those other little jobs before he gets started.

And yet, in the same conversation, he more or less described how (relatively) easily he could overcome those; indeed he had, at various times, almost had enough money, time or whatever he needed.

So there’s clearly something else going on . . . . . . What could it be?

In my experience, the answer often has something to do with fear. The obvious ones are:

  • fear of failure
  • fear that the idea isn’t as good as we think and people won’t want whatever it is
  • fear that we’re not really up to it.

However, I wonder sometimes if we’re actually afraid of being successful. We create this great product or service, make those significant changes in our business and they really work. Maybe our subconscious is wondering:

  • What if we can’t cope with the changes?
  • What if we can’t meet the demand?
  • What will we do next, once we’ve done this great thing that was so important?

So far, I’m not sure what the real reason is in Dave’s case, but we’re working on it.

I wonder what’s holding you back from doing that thing you really want to do?

Maybe the real reason isn’t that obvious, so here’s a more step-by-step approach to getting to it that I often find helpful when working with clients.

  • Make a list of all the things you think are stopping you.
  • From all these “reasons why not” – e.g. lack of time, money, training etc – turn them round and make a list that starts “I can do this when . . . . .“

For example, if your “reason why not” is “I don’t have enough time”, you’d write “I can do it when I can make some time available.”

Note I didn’t say“when I have more time”; sadly we all only have 24 hours each day, so we have to look at what else we are doing with our time that we are giving priority to – but that’s a whole subject for another time.

  • For each of these “when” statements, think about how you can achieve that step. In the above example, you might ask yourself “what other activities do I need to stop doing to make some time?”
  • If you find yourself coming up with another list of “reasons why” you can’t take that action step, go one level deeper and again make another “can do when . . . . .” list, more detailed actions and so on.

If you keep going with this – and it can sometimes be a bit of a struggle – you will either unearth some of the “real” reasons why you have not made progress or realise that getting started isn’t quite so daunting after all.

And if even doing this part sounds challenging, why not give me a call or drop me a line and I’d be glad to help.




Harvey Leach is passionate about releasing the potential of people and organisations. An engineer by profession now practicing as a business improvement consultant, he is increasingly realising that, in the end, it’s all about the people. He’s spending more and more time working out what motivates and inspires people and releases them from those things that stop them performing at the level for which God designed them. Harvey is particularly interested in the impact of faith on business, having realised many years ago that the best business and leadership practices seem to come straight from the Bible, whether those teaching them realised it or not, and that good business leadership has a lot to offer churches. No wonder then that he has added “GLS Event Manager” to his portfolio at our newest GLS location in Witney.