You Do What You Gotta Do

It was a chilly, dark December night. 
The store was about to close for the day, so I sent the ladies home and went to my office to count the tills. 
No sooner than I walk into the storeroom, I was accosted by this screaming, gun-waving, masked maniac. 
My first thought was, “Oh, great.” 
He frantically waved me into my office. He made it absolutely clear that he wanted all the cash I had. He took what was in the till. He wanted what was in the safe. And to make sure I didn’t call the cops, he took my cell phone. 
The safe was on the floor. It weighed some 800 pounds so he wasn’t going to be running off with it. With the gun pointed into my back, he issued a nonstop string of profanities that were supposed to make me open that safe right now. 
There was a problem, though. 
I couldn’t think with all that yelling. So I turned around, looked him dead in the eyes, and said matter of factly, “Listen. If you want me to open this safe, you’re going to have to shut up.” 
He did. 
I opened the safe, gave him what he wanted, and lay on the floor like he asked me. 
I got up once I knew he was gone. 
You do what you gotta do. 
So what can we learn from this? 
Well, all of life’s situations won’t be this serious. But we do need to take life seriously, don’t we? 
Whenever we do what we have to do, we do it because it seems like the best choice at the time. Those choices are based on what we know, how we view the world, and what we want out of life. 
There are three things then we can take from my horrible experience. 
First, know what you want. 
It’s critical if you want to accomplish anything to know what you want. That’s how you’ll know if you were successful or not, right?
In my situation, I wanted something pretty basic but pretty important – to stay alive. 
Let’s say you want to run a 5k this year. Or maybe you want something a lot of us want – to go to Hawaii. It all start when you decide you want it bad enough to do what you gotta do. 
Next, you need to think backwards. 
Not two weeks before I got robbed, I got a flyer from a police officer with instructions on how to behave during an armed robbery. I took the time to read them and they may well have saved me life. 
If you want to run a 5k, you need to know where you are now? Can you run around the block? Or are you already logging 3 miles a day? What do you need to do to build the stamina for a 5k? 
Want to go to Hawaii? Where will you go? What sites will you see? How much will it cost? 
Just knowing what you want is not enough. You’ve got to have a map to get there, don’t you? 
Third, take the first step forward. 
You’ve got a destination. You have a map to get there. But unless you leave your house, you’ve just got a dream without a deadline. 
I managed to stay alive. I don’t want to go looking to get robbed again. The first step to recovery was to go back to work. I went back the very next day. It felt weird. I spent time looking over my shoulder for a while. The whole experience nearly ruined the fun I could have had at a church Christmas party. It was a lot like getting a bone bruise. I was numb at first. Then it hurt for a while. And after a few weeks, the marks it left on me were gone. 
If you want to run that 5k, run around the block tomorrow morning. The next day you can go a block and a mailbox. And every day you can add a little more. Get through the first two weeks of soreness and you’re home free. 
Spend time tonight looking at Hawaii vacation packages. Go to a Hawaii tourism website. Start putting away some cash every week so you’ll have enough to go next year. 
It all starts with one step. 
To get whatever you want, you do what you gotta do. 
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I’m a Writing Coach, a Promotion Strategist, and an Entrepreneur. I help writers engage readers, sell their ideas, and build their tribes. I design non-sleazy promotion plans for artists, writers, and other creatives. When I’m not writing, I love coffee and conversation.