“All I Did Was Pick Up the Phone…”

Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath

If you deal with any kind of change—whether personal or organizational, internal or external—this book is really amazing.

One of the key concepts that Chip and Dan Heath communicate is that in order to achieve really big goals you have to “shrink the change.” Our brains can get overwhelmed with the enormity of some of the “big things” we are trying to accomplish, so in order to keep from being paralyzed, we need make change manageable, turning it into small bite-sized chunks.

For me, an unexpected result of “shrinking the change” was that sometimes I lose a bit of the sense of doing some crazy, enormous thing (the goal or change), and instead acquire the thoughts of doing these seemingly meaningless tasks.

Sometimes it actually feels less inspiring to me.

But then I got to thinking: I wonder if people who do really amazing things are aware that they are doing really amazing things.

I wonder if they just know that they are simply following the next logical step in a sequence in order to accomplish their given task…

  • To write that book…
  • To lose that weight…
  • To change their character…
  • To complete that record…

It’s tempting to focus on the “Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals” in our lives, and to use that focus as motivation to do them.

But it’s more important to actually accomplish the goals than it is to dream them up…

… and that’s considerably less sexy.

So, the irony is that to accomplish really cool things—to change your life, to produce something, to “ship”,  you have to sometimes surrender the thought that you’re doing really cool things, and simply do the next thing that’s in front of you.

  • Taking 10 minutes out of your day to pray can change your character forever
  • Picking up the phone to call someone who is lonely and isolated can send a powerful message of significance and love
  • Writing for 10 minutes a day can unlock the creative ideas for a book or a song
  • Going to bed 30 minutes earlier can give you the added energy you need to be more engaged at work

Is it sexy? No.

Does it work? Probably.

Surrender a little of the grandiosity of your dreams in order to actually achieve them.


2 thoughts on ““All I Did Was Pick Up the Phone…”

  1. One of my favorite quotes from Elizabeth Eliott is, “Just do the next thing”. She applies it primarily to waiting on God, but then, that’s what life ought to be about anyway.

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