Do the Next Thing

Shannon Hughes
2 min readMar 11, 2020


So often, when we think of our Passions, we think of them in terms of outcome; the final product. We gaze at them across long distances; talk about them in if/then sentences.

If I do these things , then I’ll achieve great things. If I generate this social post, then I’ll get more followers. If I get a certification, then I’ll know enough to call myself an ‘expert’. If I hustle/work/study/network/plan/write/build harder and better…then I’ll get closer to making my passion into something that matters.

Because I’m here working, and the product of my passion is way, way over there. Out of reach.

I can see it! It’s there, just around the next bend, over that horizon. If you crane your neck just so, and squint your eyes a bit…you can see. It’s not finished yet, no. I’m making it right now; pouring all of me into it. And it’s been hard, sweaty, magical, heartbreaking, scary, glorious work.

Isn’t it fantastic?

Now, if only I could time lapse my way from here to there. Or hop in a Learjet or just kind of close my eyes and let prayer take me there. I mean, it’s my Passion. It’s where my commitment is. Where the money is. My sense of accomplishment.

But what if we take these if/then sentences and only use the first bit? Drop the outcome intrinsic to “then”?

If I do this…
If I do that…
If I try…
If I move, get curious, go wildly off course, try these things…
What if I step over these things, tread lightly around those…
If I give it a shot and fail (gasp!)…

Then we’re using the superpower that is our curiosity. And we just start doing the next thing. No longer playing the long game, but rather a series of smaller, more obvious short ones. No time travel, no Learjets. No far away result that may change into something entirely new by the time we get “there”.

Do. What’s. Next. The thing that’s right in front of us. Yes, that one. Do that. And then the next, and the one after that. Iteratively expansive and powerful and genius.

Because Passion allows for that. In fact, Passion encourages it. It says, “Go slow. Take your time. There’s joy and growth here. What’s the rush?”

Passion is forgiving and lovely and borderless. A little curiosity here, a dash of flexibility, risk, change, fear, play there.

Do. What’s. Next. And we’ll get “there” — only to find that the outcome isn’t what we thought it was at all. It’s bigger and brighter than we ever thought possible.

See? It’s right here. I made that. Isn’t it fantastic?