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Posted on May 18, 2011 in change | 6 comments

The Stop Doing List, Part I

by Jill MacGregor


I hate it that this word ever needs to be said but it does. And when it’s said it is usually because someone was not reading the room, someone was pushing or greedily grabbing, ignoring the looks and the signals.

Sometimes it’s you. Sometimes it’s me. So much for being perfect…

But enough, already.

I know I’m calling this The Stop Doing List but we could just as easily call this The Start Doing List. Consider these recommendations your next steps right after you’ve said enough, already.

Understand that success requires more than your lucky pants.

Sure, I’ll give you *being in the right place at the right time* when it comes to accomplishing all that you want to in life. But in return, you have to put the following on the table: dogged determination, ongoing skill development and creating connections with the people who will mentor you to your next version.

Because your success will not occur in a vacuum.

Boy, a plan of action makes me feel good. I love to chart a course and Plan A/B/C my way through it mentally. Ever *forget* to put that plan into action? You’ve worked out the details in your head which is such an important first step. But it can be very easy to stay in the safe cocoon of planning—instead of what can sometimes be the trickier stage of cracking that whip and making it happen.

If you’re going to sail around the world, your ship has to leave the dock.

Don’t get pissed at me…I do not make the rules.

When it comes to your success, don’t be a leaf on a river, just drifting where you may, seeing what lands at your feet, crossing your fingers that it will be interesting.

Your life is not meant to be a casual walking tour.

This is about your happiness. This is how you signal to the world who you are and what you’re about. It’s about satisfaction and getting what you want. And although I am a firm believer that the Universe plays a hand in our lives—whether we ask for it or not—it’s also about being an active participant in getting what you want.

Pray to God but row for shore. Fight hard for how you want your life to be. Are you the one person you can always rely on—that one person who will battle to make your success happen?

Boy, I hope so. Nobody’s going to do it for you.

Stick your hand in the woodpile.

Snakes, I was always told by my Granny. Don’t you go putting your hand in the woodpile—it is full of snakes!

Now, you and I both know that snakes need the sun and they are not going to be hiding in a cold woodpile, waiting to strike. But that warning sure kept me from finding out. It made me afraid to investigate further.

Snakes, people!

I grew out of that…quickly—and life got more interesting. How can we not praise naughtiness, the breaking of rules and mild civil disobedience? Sticking your hand in the woodpile is just another way of saying: take risks. Do things in spite of knowing how it’s going to turn out. Don’t always do what you’re told—really, it’s just someone else’s opinion and your opinion carries just as much weight.

Get surprised—better yet, surprise others by your actions. It will only give them food for thought.

Hot dog bun or croissant?

You know those croissants you get at the grocery store? They look like croissants but they taste like hot dog buns—yes, those. We’ve all bought them once because they looked so tasty…until we took a bite.

Please. It’s so disappointing to be wrong like that. To expect one yummy, wonderful experience but to be met with a dry, flavorless one instead.

It’s not that we have a *wolf in sheep’s clothing*issue here. You already kind of know it’s going to taste like a hot dog bun. Consider the facts—it’s wrapped in plastic, for God’s sake. Flakiness is a thing of the past. Your *croissant*is sitting in a case next to a doughnut.

Come on.

But you were optimistic. Maybe THIS time it will be different… You know the only place to get a good croissant is the bakery. Its nothing but hot dog buns at the grocery store.

It is so important that you call things as they truly are, not what you’d like them to be. And this goes for identifying people as well. How many times have your hopes led you down a merry path? It’s good to be optimistic, but sometimes your rose colored glasses get in the way. How many times have you called a person a croissant—you’ve hoped, made excuses on their behalf, coached them—but, they’re just a hot dog bun.

Think of the time you could have saved.

Discern quality when all the markers are there. And they are ALWAYS there.

Make sure you know who and what makes you feel at home in the world.

Call it a security blanket. Call it your soft spot to land. Call it what makes you realize who you really are. These are the people and things that ground you to who you are, they are mirrors that reflect the true you back as a reminder when your own vision gets a little hazy.

They are your litmus test about doing the right thing with the right people. Your sounding boards, your go-to’s, your ports in a storm.

They are the only voice you hear when you find yourself on the ledge, the first person you think of when there is joy to share, the ones who help carry your worries when they feel too heavy.

What a huge and important job.

The great thing: it’s reciprocal.

You’re theirs, too.

Part II of The Stop Doing List will be out this Friday. I obviously have a long list of things I need to stop/start doing…

If you liked this post, you may want to read:

  • Spectacular Balls
  • Fixing All That’s Broken

  • Image Credit


    1. As always, you are so insightful. I still want to wear my lucky pants, though.

      • Oh my friend–you can wear your lucky pants any time you like–just watch out for your **** shoes!!

    2. Were you peaking through the window of my therapist’s office yesterday, around 5:00?

      • Oh Leah,
        I get accused of things like that sometime! So glad to hear from you!


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