It’s easy to know and understand what we should do:
· We know we should exercise.
· We know we should sleep more.
· We know we should eat more whole foods.
· We know we should be kind to others.
· We know we should save more money.
· We know we should show gratitude.
We understand on an intellectual level what we should do. Yet, we don’t always take the next step. For example, I believe overall health is a great idea. Am I actually practicing it? Am I sleeping 7-8 hours a night? Am I getting cardio and strength training in my workouts? Am I eating more fruits and vegetable instead of my beloved ice cream? No, not all the time. Okay, probably not most of the time. Yet, it’s not because I don’t know what to do.
Or, I always think back to a former boss who talked extensively about leadership and could recite the traits of a great leader. She could quote Stephen Covey and John Maxwell like they were her best friends, but showed zero of the traits herself. She knew a lot about leadership, but didn’t really “DO” leadership.
Knowing is easy. Most of us have access to an unlimited supply of information (via the internet) and can learn new information at the click of a button. We can spend hours learning information and even deeply know and comprehend information. Yet, we can still see little change.
What stops us from actually doing?
· Confusion is a huge barrier. Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with information that you couldn’t take action? I remember once my BFF called me to talk about how much research she’d done on painting her kitchen cabinets. She said she felt so overwhelmed that she decided to take a nap instead. That happens. Lack of clarity on first steps or next steps can hinder action.
· Talking vs. doing. Another barrier to doing is equating talking about doing something as actually doing something. I’m going to let you in on a secret… I don’t love meetings. I love talking with people, and I love interaction that comes as a result of meetings. However, they normally last longer than necessary, and sometimes very little productivity come from them. People will mistake meetings with action. Meetings may be a step, but the action normally comes after. Sometimes, there is no after, which means lack of action.
· The biggest barrier is fear. At the root of all of our inaction is fear. Fear of worthiness. Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. FEAR. Breaking through fear with a new belief is an essential key to success.
Mind the gap.
There is a tremendous gap between knowing and doing. The path to doing looks like this:
Knowledge → Belief → Decision → Emotion → Action.
All of those steps have to happen in order for us to move from simply knowing to doing.
· Knowledge: We receive the information.
· Belief: We develop a belief about our self and our ability to take action.
· Decision: We decide whether or not we want to take action.
· Emotion: We develop an emotion about the action. NOTE: Sometimes fear can be positive emotion here.
· Action: Do what you know.
People tend to be unsuccessful when they try to skip a step in the process or avoid the process all together. Look at the path from knowing to doing, where do you feel stuck? What can you do today to shift from knowing to doing?