“The shortest answer is doing the thing”

Ernest HemingwayWhat should you dedicate your life to? What’s your passion? Which of your ideas will really pay off? Which one can actually make money? Do you actually have the skills or even the confidence to pull it off?

These are the kind of questions that can seize us when we’re trying to choose something new to start. Sometimes they grip us once we’ve actually got into motion on doing the thing we love.

Where do we find the answers to these important questions?

Well, this month I’m sharing “5 things I’ve learned in the 5 years since Screw Work Let’s Play was published” and the third of my five is summed up by Ernest Hemingway’s classic quote:

“The shortest answer is doing the thing”


As I’ve led thousands of people through my programmes over the past 5 years it’s become increasingly clear just how powerful it is to find your answers in action.

The key is to “Get version 1.0 out there” as Screw Work Academy graduate Pete Linforth summarises it. Pete did this and ended up creating anxietybuster.co, attracting 8000 Facebook likes on his Anxiety Buster Page, and even writing a book that reached #4 in the Stress Management bestseller list on Amazon (as Pete put it, “That really made my day!”)


So how does it work?

Over the last couple of years I’ve been teaching something I call the Play Cycle – a way to get into action right away and learn as you go. People on my paid programmes have found it so helpful that I’ve decided to share it here.

Here’s what it looks like:

The PlayCycle

Firstly you’ve got to act – find a way to put your idea out into the world, perhaps in a scaled down form. Then reflect on what happens – did you enjoy it? Did it use your skills and talents? Did other people respond positively? Then use all of this to adapt what you’re doing, improve it and go again.


So if for example you want to help people improve their time management, get into action and find a willing victim to be your first test client. Try out your ideas and help them as much as you can. Then reflect on the results and how you enjoyed it and adapt accordingly to make it even better. No need to have all the answers at the start! And if you find you don’t like working one-to-one at all, perhaps you adapt by running workshops or becoming an author or blogger instead.


This requires you to “Be willing to dive in and see what happens before you’ve worked everything out” as Screw Work Academy graduate Rachel Kerr put it. She used these strategies to both boost her copywriting business at welcomewords.co.uk and start a new Brand Definition service by teaming up with a creative web & design agency.

And because you’re starting in a more manageable way and not trying to make everything perfect it’s much easier to get the thing going even if you’re short of time. Screw Work Academy graduate Amanda Harrison (who is the world’s only female commercial Tiger Moth Pilot!) said the key is to, “Do something everyday towards your dream or passion even when you don’t feel like it. Start with 20 mins and it will soon gain movement. Grab every opportunity as they arrive, even if you’re not ready for them. Nothing is perfect, just do it.”.

Amanda has now been booked for 2 speaking events, appeared in the press, launched her website www.AmandaJHarrison.com and had discussions about her idea for running a Dream flying day – all while continuing her day job in pilot training.


Here’s what you can do now:

Don’t muse too long on what to do and where you’re heading. Choose a project you can do in a few weeks that appeals to you (use the Playcheque formula as your guide), and get out there and do it. See how it goes and how you like it. Be willing to adapt on the fly. Then you too will find the answers are in the doing just as Mr Hemingway promised.

Need help unlocking the Playcheque Formula?

Get my new step-by-step programme to find an idea you love and start making money out of it here:


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