Feature | Do the Work

Do The Work

After taking the first step and figuring out your own business idea. The next step is to do the work. How exactly do you start? Read on and find out.

Does this apply to you?

You’ve got a task ahead of you.

Do The Work

Steven Pressfield “Do The Work”

It might be a new product you want to develop.  It might be that you want to start a business.  It might be a burning desire to write a book or create a piece of art.  Maybe you want to drop a few kilos and get yourself in shape.

You are committed to your task yet…

You spend a lot of timing thinking about what needs to be done.  You read articles and books about the subject.  You talk to people about it.  You research; search the web; download lots of great information and free “how to” guides.

The task remains unstarted.

I see this with clients all of the time and I’m guilty of doing it myself.  Weeks, months and sometimes years go by and the task remains unstarted.   It looms.  It turns from something we eagerly anticipate to something we dread.  We know if we complete the task, the rewards and satisfaction will be great.

But still, we find reasons for not starting.

Here are some of the reasons excuses you might come up with:

  • I need to understand more about my topic
  • I want to get my head around it
  • I want to see what the competitions are doing
  • I want to find the best way
  • I need time to plan and think
  • I want my website/brand to be finished first

While these are all well and good, none of them result in output or action.

So what’s that all about then?

Have you read Steven Pressfield’s book “Do the Work!“?   If not, I highly recommend it.  It’s available as a Kindle eBook and it’s a really quick read.

In the book, Pressfield tells us that the reason we do all of these other things rather than taking action is due to resistance (i.e.  self-doubt, fear, procrastination, perfectionism, narcissism etc.) and that’s the real reason we do all the other “stuff”.

He tells us that “Resistance” is the enemy and we need to deal with it as such.  It will be with us always so we must be on the lookout.

He says “The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.”

This reminded me of a post I wrote a while ago “I Wish I Had The Guts To”.

Just Get Started

As you can probably guess from the title, Pressfield tells us to just Do the Work.  Get started, even if we’re not ready.

Put pen to paper, paintbrush to canvas, fingers to keyboard, face in front of video, feet in your runners!  Just start.

So, after reading the book, I started.

That day and the next I sat and I wrote.  I focused.  I didn’t tweet, post comments, do status updates or research.  I wrote.  The more I wrote, the more motivated I was to write.  I felt a huge sense of relief.  I was on fire!

The result?  I finished my latest eBook.  How to Start a Small Business – 5 Steps to Save you Time and Money.

It’s not ready to “ship” just yet because I want to tweak it, have it edited and a professional cover designed.

Now, you may be thinking “ahhhhh, she’s resisting” – but you’re wrong .  OK, you may be a little bit right 😉  But I’m pushing that enemy away.  I’m going to face the resistance head on and I’m going to officially launch the eBook the week after next.  I’m also going to do something very generous for all of my subscribers.

Are you in the game?

My favourite part in Pressfield’s book is where he shares the story of having written a screenplay which was a dismal failure and was slammed by the critics.  He was obviously gutted until his friend helped him see things differently.

His friend told him “That’s the price for being in the arena and not on the sidelines.  Stop complaining and be grateful.”

I love that advice!

So many people fail before they even start because they allow resistance to take over and destroy them.

It’s scary putting yourself out there. What if no one likes it?

Fine.  I’ll learn.  I’ll improve. I’ll try again.

But I won’t sit on the sidelines watching everyone else play wishing I had the courage to get in the arena.

A Personal Challenge

What tasks do you have ahead of you that you’ve been resisting?  It doesn’t have to be something huge.

If you “Do The Work” and share it with me.  I will post it here and promote it for you.  Whatever it is (well as long as it’s a G rating).

Write.  Create.  Draw.  Record. Launch.  Ship. Publish.

Let’s see how many people we can get to take action.  Please share this post widely.

Book a Discovery call now and let’s get started with your business!


*Editor’s Note: This post has been updated on August 2020 for accuracy.

  • Catherine White
    Posted at 16:46h, 07 July Reply

    Great advice Suellen, love it. Very proactive, and just what I need to hear right now.

    Thank you

    • Suellen Hughes
      Posted at 14:18h, 08 July Reply

      Thanks Catherine. You are such a talented photographer. If you don’t Do the Work you are robbing us all 😉

  • Nat Duncan
    Posted at 17:18h, 07 July Reply

    Suellen, my blog http://www.350-risks.blogspot.com is my attempt to blog 365 thoughts about risk, embracing change and taking action rather than playing with procrastination. I’d love to feature your previews of Steven Pressfield’s book. Spot on! My favourite saying is “Action precedes Clarity” but as you mentioned, its easier said than done!

    • Suellen Hughes
      Posted at 14:17h, 08 July Reply

      Hi Nat,

      I’d be delighted to be featured on your blog – thanks. I clicked the link in your comment but was sent to a page saying “Blogger not found” 🙁

      I did check out precinkt.com and it looks great.

      I love the saying your shared too. I think clarity comes with action and sometimes it takes a few goes but unless we start, we never know.

      • Rebecca Leigh
        Posted at 11:43h, 11 July Reply

        As a friend of Nat’s I can correct that link to: http://www.365-risks.blogspot.com/

        • Suellen Hughes
          Posted at 10:14h, 14 July Reply

          Hi Rebecca,
          Thanks for the correct link. I should’ve realised as I’ve been following Hollie’s 365 risks blog for ages! Didn’t make the connection.

  • Jen Brown
    Posted at 23:14h, 07 July Reply

    Great post & great advice Suellen!

    I’m certain that every single one of us is guilty of doing this in some aspect of our life (if not more). I actually have a few things on my “to do” list at the moment.

    I wonder where the line between “resistance” and “life” sits. I have a number of things on my list of “to do” items at the moment which I have been unable to get to due to life (and accidents) in recent weeks (and certainly will not get to in the next 10 days). I’m sure there is an element of resistance (some of the things scare me) but there is a point when you (I) need to stop pushing myself & allow myself to accept that there are times when resistance is futile.

    Your post has given me the little push I probably need to recognise “resistance” (as opposed to life circumstances) and push through when I see that resistance.


    • Suellen Hughes
      Posted at 14:24h, 08 July Reply

      Hi Jen,

      You’ve certainly been through a rough time. Hope things are on the up for you.

      It’s important to remember that “life” just sometimes gets in the way sometimes and we need to pause.

      You’ve been amazing juggling your sport, a job and a start-up business (along with all of the other things I don’t even know about!) and I’m sure that once you get the chance to focus, you will achieve loads.

      Looking forward to seeing your “to do” items unfold over the coming months.

  • Suellen Hughes
    Posted at 14:20h, 08 July Reply

    Thanks Robin. That means a lot coming from someone as Diamond Focused as yourself. Your productivity and output is inspiring.

  • Hollie
    Posted at 20:41h, 08 July Reply

    loved your post – exactly what I needed to read right now! I have my product ready, have researched and it’s tried and tested but was resisting just getting out there and telling everyone about it – why I don’t know as I absolutely love what I do and have had nothing but great feedback. Just that first large step of getting out there has been a huge speed hump. I have hid behind getting the branding right, getting the website right etc which at the end of the day the product hasn’t changed with all these things not being done!
    Thanks so much – the kick up the butt I needed! I’m off to get the mailing list ready and spread the word!

    • Suellen Hughes
      Posted at 10:03h, 09 July Reply

      Hi Hollie,

      Thank you and I’m so pleased my post gave you a kickstart to take action. I had a look at your blog and it looks great. I bet the kids love it.
      Well done for making so much progress with your product. Please let me know how you get on when you “ship”.

  • Linda ~ Journey Jottings
    Posted at 16:15h, 13 July Reply

    That pesky chattering brain is definitely the lawyer in all of us managing to devise the most amazingly believable and persuasive reasons why its perfectly reasonable not to ship ‘today’ 😉

    What you say brings it all together – the fact the biggest motivator is momentum so your managing to stop – to focus – minus all distractions – got that trickle happening, leading to the stream, the river and soon – the launch to the big wide world.

    Its fabulous having the world come to me via my computer, but as you can attest, its the first thing that has to go if we’re going to get any ‘important’ work done 😉

    • Suellen Hughes
      Posted at 10:19h, 14 July Reply

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It’s such a tricky one isn’t it? As we do business online, we communicate with our customers via our computers. If we worked in a shop, bank, even an office we can’t just turn the customers off. Having spent many years in a corporate job, I remember how difficult it can be to “do the work” when customers/clients are always present. At least in online business, we have the luxury of unplugging for a while without being rude 😉

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