toe in poolI have a pool at my house in PA, just beyond the Poconos. Now that the summer is winding down  the temp is in the 80’s during the day and the 60’s at night. That means the pool water is cooling down. Ohh! Pretty chilly when I’m getting in to swim my laps.

I like to be warm so cool water shocks my system. So I ease in slowly, going down the steps to get used to the water 7 inches at a time. Now I’m at the last step and walk onto the floor of the pool and the chilly water is about waist deep. I’m getting used to it. I can feel the coldness on the lower part of my body. Do I really want to subject the upper part of my body to the same shocking coldness? All of the following rushes through my mind in 10 seconds.

YES, once I start moving I’ll warm up.
NO, it’s just too cold.
YES, I’ll feel really good about myself after I get this exercise.
NO, why do this when I don’t have to?
YES, it helps me be more fit and trim and I want to lose the weight.
NO, not worth it.
YES, take a risk, do something uncomfortable, it will be fine once the initial shock is over.

Finally, I do what I’ve trained myself to do. Count to 20 and at that point just dive right in and keep swimming.

stop making excusesAt some point we all have to put aside the unnecessary self talk and just take the plunge. Hiring a new employee, forming a business relationship, borrowing money, ending something that’s not working out, etc. We weigh the pros and cons, decide what we’re committed to and then take action.

The procrastination and sitting on the fence could take forever. The analysis paralysis could tie us up in knots and we’d never move forward. It pays to give yourself a deadline (like counting to 20, or by Friday at noon) and decide that action will take place at that time and not a moment after.

You’ll make the best decision to act based on the information you have and you’ll move forward. The worst decision is to not make a decision at all and never generate action.

Do you put things off because you don’t want to make a decision?
Or because it’s uncomfortable to take action?

Where are you looking for perfection instead of progress? Would it pay to give yourself a deadline and take action at that point no matter what?

I feel so much better after a good swim, happy with myself, exhilarated with the exercise, and the water no longer feels cold. There’s a new normal. Swim again tomorrow?

Jeri Quinn

Jeri Quinn from Driving Improved Results is an executive coach, management consultant, speaker and author who focuses on communication in her work with executives and companies. She is the author of The Customer Loyalty Playbook, 12 Game Strategies to Drive Improved Results in Your Business. With more than 40 years as a serial entrepreneur.

Quinn has worked with executives and teams in over 40 industries, spoken at major business expos including New York City’s Javits Center, facilitated business development and extraordinary customer service at institutions such as MoMA and AIG, and has partnered with New York City, The Kauffman Foundation, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, HSBC, and Signature Bank to educate their clients.


She can be reached at:

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