The #1 Reason the Best Leaders Get Things Done (When Others Don’t)

You probably have something exciting that you’ve been thinking about doing for a long time.

A change you want to make in your church or organization. Or a personal side project or initiative you want to launch.

No wonder…every leader has dreams, goals and hopes.

The problem is you haven’t done anything about it…yet.

And as a result, so few leaders end up with a track record of accomplishment.

Why is that?

Because almost all of us struggle with something the best leaders in their field don’t struggle with.

What is it?

It’s a bias so few leaders have. But the great ones all possess.


A few years ago, I began to notice a trend among some friends that were accomplishing a lot.

One good friend was launching a business and was frustrated with the lack of traction he was seeing that week. So he decided to host a webinar…10 days later. Believe it or not, 600 people joined him for it.

I had thought about launching a leadership podcast for about three years before I launched mine back in 2014. As I was thinking about launching a podcast, another friend took action and launched one. And in a time where almost no one was doing weekly podcasts, he even launched a weekly one. Talk about ambitious.

Now to a third friend. He’s a prolific reader (40-50 books a year) and a super smart thinker and speaker. I told him he needs to write a book. He said he had thought about it.

I urged him to do it and so did another friend. He just texted me the other day that this week, his first draft goes to the publisher.

What do all three leaders have in common?

THIS: a bias for action. When everyone else just talks about it, thinks about it or plans for it, they do it.


This challenges me because I tend to think about things a lot before acting.

I spent my 30s thinking about writing a book and wrote none (I’ve written four since, including my latest one, Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.)

But I still haven’t launched a YouTube channel, even though I’ve thought about it for years.

Shipping beats dreaming. If you don’t act, you’ve got nothing. All you’ve got is a desire.

As Thomas Edison famously said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”


Action is stunning because so few people actually do it. So few people act on their dreams.

Often the difference between you and the leaders you admire is they acted. You didn’t.

And you know what a desire becomes when it’s never acted on, don’t you? It becomes a regret.

Far too many people waste their potential, squander their vision and languish in mediocrity because they just don’t act.

So why don’t you stun someone this week? Act.

I’ll bet you even stun yourself when you do.




Here’s my hunch. You know exactly what you need to do. We live in an age where information is so abundant you have to work very hard not to get caught in paralysis by analysis.

You know what you need to know. Now you just need to act.

So what do you need to start? Come on…you know what it is:

That change you need to make in your church.

The project you need to launch.

That book you need to write.

The blog you need to get started on.

That team member you need to deal with.

The unchurched neighbor you need to have over for dinner.

That series you need to find the courage to preach.

So what’s holding you back?

Maybe it’s fear.

Or a lack of confidence.

Or the belief you might fail.


The only way to get past fear is to move through it.

The brave aren’t the brave because they don’t feel fear. They’re brave because they pushed through it.

The only way to gain confidence is to do something. So go do it.

Truthfully, your dream is failing right now. You have nothing to lose by acting on your dream except the 100 percent guarantee of failure that comes from not acting on it.

Now…before you leave a comment (scroll down to add to the conversation), decide what you need to act on.

Then act.

A bias toward action is a bias every effective leader has. So get moving.



Of all the mysteries we try to crack as leaders, the mystery of leading ourselves is one of the greatest.

That’s why I’m so excited about my new book, Didn’t See It Coming. It’s all about overcoming the seven greatest challenges everyone experiences, and no one expects.

Take cynicism for example. You might already be rolling your eyes at this post and coming up with five reasons it won’t work in your case.

That’s exactly the kind of self-limiting behavior leaders never see coming.

Jud Wilhite, Lead Pastor of Central Church, Las Vegas, calls Didn’t See It Coming “the most important book you’ll read all year.”

Brian Houston and Andy Stanley call it “powerful.”

Check it out for yourself and learn more here.


What do you need to start today?

What are you learning about what holds you back?

This article originally appeared here.


Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof
Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.
Please follow and like us:

Related posts

Leave a Comment