The problems of our world are so big, urgent, and disruptive that they demand disruptive thinking, collaborative effort, and a bias toward action. The word bias is defined as “prejudice in favor of or against one thing.” We need to learn how to say yes to God even when it appears to contradict our own paradigm. For all you dreamers out there, impossible is just an opinion.
The challenge we often encounter when we feel that we are to engage our cities or launch a project is simply saying yes to God. Saying yes is the prerequisite to favor from heaven. In Acts chapter 10, God gave Peter a vision. This vision would begin to break down the separation that existed between believing Jews and God-fearing Gentiles. Peter’s vision was not about being able or unable to eat unclean food. It was about God accepting the Gentile believer coming into faith and community. God was preparing Peter for a massive paradigm shift.
Acts 10 is one of the most pivotal passages of Scripture in the entire New Testament. We are presented with a Gentile God-fearing man named Cornelius who was centurion of the Italian regiment. God speaks to Cornelius, the Gentile God-fearer, in a vision instructing him to send men to Joppa and bring back a Jewish man named Simon, also called Peter, to Caesarea to stay with Cornelius and his family in his home – an unacceptable thing for a Jewish man to do.
Peter’s bewilderment concerning the meaning of the vision soon gives way to revelation and understanding. In Acts 10:15, the voice from heaven spoke to Peter a second time. “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” God was trying to prepare Peter for his meeting with Cornelius. It was time for the whole world to hear the Gospel. So why do you think Peter was given a vision about diet? Perhaps he was so entrenched in his own perspective that he wouldn’t open himself to the new way of seeing. So, God used something like diet restrictions to help Peter see the bigger thing that He wanted to do.
What is the resistance in your life that may be keeping you from saying yes to God? Philippians 2:12-13 encourages us to keep saying yes to God. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” When you say yes to God, He goes to work in your heart and untangles fear or the things that are keeping you from moving forward with him.
Having a bias for action simply means you act. You spend more time executing, learning, and improving. You test quickly instead of debating via endless meetings. The faster you act, and the faster you execute, the more quickly you will deliver innovation, results, and growth.
Here are 5 steps to help you create a bias for action.
- Self Lead: The effort it takes to push forward when it feels impossible and the faith it takes to believe in your vision when you can’t see the forest for the trees, can leave you lethargic and unmotivated. To lead your vision forward, you often overlook the biggest leadership challenge you will ever face — yourself. Sometimes the effort to grow your actionable effort is about building your capacity to lead it. You will only work on a certain number of projects in your lifetime, so you owe it to yourself to take your ideas to the highest level possible.
- Leverage your contribution: What you do matters! Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and inspiration comes from Holy Spirit direction. Most entrepreneurs create value for their project from their core routine activities perfected over time. You will get more done quicker if you leverage the learning and the relationships you have cultivated. We often miss the return on the invested contributions we make every day. When you hit the wall or run low on motivation, you can draw from the story you are living and the contribution you are making to fuel your effort.
- Finish what you start: If you can find a path that has no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. You can and should expect roadblocks that hinder the culture of execution you are cultivating. Successful initiatives deliver the goods, get the job done, and satisfy the needs of the end user. Tomorrow is a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation, and achievement are stored. People like to know what you’ve done, not what you’ve worked on. Finish what you start!
- Give something: To see our dreams realized, we must give something in return. No one has ever realized a dream in isolation. Others help you face your fears and push your limits. You need help, so reach out for it. And yet, remember to pay it back. When you give yourself to helping others see their dreams realized, you will be amazed at the good that flows back your way. If you attempt to do something bigger than you, it will require help. Live a life filled with fears faced, limits pushed, and relationships cultivated.
- Remember, you’re not crazy: It takes courage to act on what you see when others don’t. Your entrepreneurial challenge is not keeping your idea concealed, it is convincing people that you’re not crazy and that you can pull it off. Work as if you’re the only one who can see it and prove it to others. Successful initiatives focus exclusively on efforts that matter and can tune out the rest.
Lastly, don’t forget that inertia is a great force in your leadership as well as in nature. Things at rest tend to remain at rest. A corollary of that physics property is this: It’s usually easier to stop things from happening than it is to make them happen. That’s why the first step in creating a successful culture of execution is creating a bias toward action. After all, it was Wayne Gretzky who said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”