Justin Ricklefs


Our Problem Isn’t a Lack of Information, It’s a Lack of Execution

This new age of information is amazing.  And addicting.

Content is produced at such a rapid clip that I simply can’t read everything I want to read.  My ‘to read later’ folder in Gmail is jam-packed.  My shopping cart on Amazon is a mile long with books I want to buy ‘the next time’.

I have consumed so much content on being a better entrepreneur, sales coach, dad, husband, team member, runner, eater, juicer, you name it.  I hand select exactly what I want to read, when I want to read it.

But I have a major problem.  I fall for the lie that I have an information problem when in reality I have an execution problem. 

Sure I’m smarter now because of all of this content and perhaps a bit more well-rounded.  But for a specific example, I don’t need to read all the ins and outs of a three day green juice diet while I crush a carton of Blue Bell ice cream.

All the information in the world won’t make up for the fact that I have an execution problem.  If the content on juicing leads me to the refrigerator and then the juicer, then great.  But most of us know, at least generally, enough information to take action on the major areas of our lives we want to improve.  And yet we simply don’t change.

When I survey when and where real change has occurred in my life, it was never because I had every ounce of the right information.  It was because I began to take action. 

And more than that, because there was someone close to me that had my back and reminded me to keep going.  A boss, Brooke, a great friend, a team member, a neighbor.  They were there to remind me to take another step.  To ask another question on a sales call.  To lay off the sugar.  To get off the couch.  To help find someone to watch my kids so I could take Brooke on a date.  To send that email.  To make that tough phone call.

You see I have an execution problem.  In the land of unending, amazing content, I stop far too short far too often.  Reading stuff is great.  Doing stuff is better. 

A real story from my life.  When we moved from KC to Florida, I had let a million things become more important than my health.  I was soft, flabby, lame.  I was stressed out.  I ate dessert every day, maybe every meal.  A glass of wine to ‘take the edge off’ each day became the norm.  I felt sluggish and slow.

When we got to Florida, I knew I had to change.  And although I wanted the pounds to melt away fast, I realized they didn’t simply show up overnight.  So I started running.  And eating better.  Pretty revolutionary, huh?  I didn’t need more information to know where to start.

My running was slow and clumsy at first, but I’d get up before the kids woke up 2-3 days a week and get 3-4 miles in.  Before long, I started enjoying it, even looking forward to it.  Within a few months, I was running 4-5 miles, 4-5 times per week.  I’d dropped from 8:30 minute average miles to 6:50 average miles.  I gave myself grace when I’d miss a run, but I kept running.

My eating change was pretty simple on paper but a hard adjustment.  Sunday through Friday, I cut out two ingredients:  wheat and sugar.  That’s it.  Everything else was fair game.  But the coffee creamer was out.  Ice cream was out.  Bagels and sandwiches were out.  Beer was out.  Eggs, veggies, salad, chicken, fruit and water were in.

But then Saturday, oh Saturday.  We called it Sweet Saturday at the house because our entire family started to play this sick little game.  Saturday we’d hit Jupiter Donut Company for breakfast.  I’d load my black coffee with sugary cream.  Five Guys or pizza were mainstays on Saturday nights.  And then when the kids were down, Brooke and I would crush ice cream.  Again, grace was given for the days I fell off the wagon during the week.  But I kept getting back on it.

That was it.  Not a diet.  A lifestyle change.  And something crazy happened over the weeks and months.  Instead of feeling like crap almost every day, I now only felt like crap on Saturday night after eating terrible the whole day.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have a wicked sweet tooth, but I’ve realized that I can do anything for six days because I know Saturday is coming.  I cut down on alcohol.  I lost 20 pounds.  I had to get a bunch of new clothes.  But more than all of that, I feel great now.  Energized.  Less tired.  And it wasn’t even about me, it’s about me being in better health for Brooke and our kids.

Again, my problem wasn’t a lack of information all those years where I let stuff slip.  I knew asparagus was better for you than Doritos, but I chose the quick fix as opposed to the long lens.

Look around you.  Who is in your corner ready to offer support once you decide to take action today on something?  It likely won’t be revolutionary, but it will be worth it.

Start moving. 

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