Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can speak about the importance of follow-through when making big decisions at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.


Full Video Transcript:

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about making big decisions and whether or not you should go for it or whether or not you should not go for it. So when you make a big decision in life, there’s almost always an easy first step and a whole bunch of really hard second, third, and fourth steps. There’s something usually very easy that you can do at the beginning.

Let’s say, for example, you want to lose weight, just as an example. Well, you can go buy and a gym membership. That’s super-easy to do. You can walk down the street or you can drive down to the gym, spend some money, boom, you’ve got a gym membership. And you know what’s going to happen? You’re going to get an endorphin rush because you took action. You’re actually going to feel better. People study this stuff. You’re actually going to feel better because you took action. You got a gym membership.

But the fact is that that’s the easiest thing to do. All the rest of it is actually quite difficult. You actually have to go to the gym. You actually have to exercise. You actually have to fit it into your schedule and go three times a week or four times a week and actually do the exercise. That’s much more difficult. And what happens? Most people don’t take action. They do the easy first step and then they don’t take action.

This is also very true, frankly, where I speak, because I always have my books available for sale and I absolutely don’t like pitch my book or sell my book. I don’t do that kind of stuff at all. But I have them available and if people would like to buy a book they can.

Here’s the statistics. When people buy a book, there’s only roughly a 20% chance that they’ll ever actually read it. But what happens is they go to the event, they’re immersed in that topic, they hear a speaker, they get fired up, they’re getting motivated, they get excited about something. They want to take action. So what do they do? They do that easy first step. They buy the book, but then they don’t do anything else with it.

I always try to think, “What can I do to get people to actually take action?” My book is full of actual checklists of how to do things. If people actually read it, they can make progress really easily. It’s a step-by-step—but anyway, the specifics don’t mean anything. It doesn’t matter. The point is that when people are making a big decision they take that first initial easy step, but then they don’t follow through.

So was that first step—because it’s almost always spending money. Let’s say you have a new hobby, like skiing or snowboarding. So you buy a snowboard, you buy all the gear, you spend 500 or 1000 dollars on all the gear, but then you never go to the mountain. Or you buy a gym membership and you never go to the gym. Or let’s say you want to start your own business, so you quit your job or you reduce your hours, but then you don’t do the hard work of actually growing the business. So was that first step a waste or not? In many cases, it was.

Now, there is a subset of people—some percentage greater than 0 and less than 100—that actually does take action, and I’m a huge fan of that. This is what I talk about in half of these videos it seems like, is taking action, being willing to take the risks, dong what’s necessary, all those things. The road to being is through doing, so do the things that you want to become and it’s going to happen. It’s all about taking action. Most people don’t take action but you know if you do or if you don’t, and what I encourage you to do is to be honest with yourself. You know yourself. Are going to take action?

If you take that first easy step, are you going to follow through? I hope you do. I hope you’re that person. But if you’re not, you have to be honest with yourself and don’t spend the money on that gym membership if you’re never going to use it and don’t spend the money on that snowboarding equipment that you’re never going to use, or don’t reduce your hours or quit your job if you’re not going to follow through or don’t buy the book if you’re not going to read it, because it’s just a waste of time and a waste of money.

I want you to do those things. I want to surround myself with people who take action. That’s been my goal for the last eight years now, is I want to surround myself with people who take action, people who are ambitious, people who are motivated. So if you are one of those people, I applaud you. I want to know you. I want to be surrounded with people like you. But if you’re not that person, then be honest with yourself and say, “I’m not going to be that guy. I’m not going to do the things that are necessary. I’ve done this too many times before. I’ve seen this pattern.” Unlike the stock market, this is one place where past performance is a good predictor of future results.

If you look back on your life and you’ve never taken action before or rarely, then don’t waste your money. Get a regular job. I’ll tell you what – earning a regular salary is a luxury and it is remarkably easy to earn a good living working for someone else. Just getting back to a reasonable income, being self-employed was extraordinarily difficult for me. Took me like five, six years to get back to just a regular lifestyle where I was earning my own money but earning a similar amount to what I earned as an employee. So you’re not compromising your life. You’ll probably live better for a half a decade or more than if you did it the other way. There’s no compromise there. Just be honest with yourself.

Most people will work harder for someone else than they will for themselves, just like most people will work harder in an office than they will at home because people get distracted. It’s in their nature. Some people aren’t like that but most people are. So be honest with yourself and do that self-evaluation and say, “Okay, you know what? I’m probably not going to do the hard, hard work that’s necessary, so I’m not going to waste my time and money on that first initial easy step and create that illusion for myself even though down the road it might end up being a waste of time and a waste of money.”

So, hard advice, but hopefully it’s advice that you can use. I do appreciate you watching this video, and if you know someone else who is in this situation who could use this advice, then please pass it along to them because it’s hard advice but it’s advice you need to hear sometimes. My name is Patrick, reminding you as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.