A Coaching Power Tool created by Justin Rayne Nash
(Executive and Life Coaching, INDIA)
action |ˈakSHən| noun
- the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim:
[ also as exclamation ] used by a movie director as a command to begin: lights, camera, ACTION! ]
delay |diˈlā| verb [ with obj. ]
- I. make (someone or something) late or slow: the train was delayed.
- II. to postpone
inaction |inˈakSHən| noun
- I. lack of action where some is expected or appropriate: future generations will condemn us for our inaction
There is a (BIG) difference between delay and inaction. This power tool focuses on inaction, and it’s presence in our lives and it’s consequences.
Inaction – and our lives
Ever so often we have the best of plans, and intentions, to do things. To complete tasks, to reach our goals, to ‘ Check off’ things from our long TO DO lists.
The late Steven Covey in his book ‘First Things First’ wrote that the feeling of ‘Checking off’ a task from your TO DO list is often exhilarating’ – and that is, often, a trap. But even being able to ‘Tick off’, or complete a task, is often a challenge for many people. Simply because they struggle to begin, and sometimes, never do. This is Inaction.
People go through their life with hopes and aspirations often converting these hopes and aspirations, by themselves, into frustration and failure.
And soon your ‘To Do’ list , is now transformed into a ‘Regret’ list.
How often have we reached a stage in our lives when we wonder ‘WHAT have I done in my life?!’
How often have we compared ourselves to our friends, colleagues or ‘successful‘ family members and felt a pang of regret, jealousy or anger?
Yes it’s true, that circumstance or fate, sometimes play a part in providing, or not providing you, with an opportunity or a resource, to help you realize your dream.
But the BIG question is, ‘What did YOU not do?’
As the saying goes “We are EXACTLY were we are supposed to be in life” and we are a “product of our choices”. What we choose to do OR not do leads us to where we are now.
The world is a context for every individual to express their talents, realize dreams, achieve their goals and fulfill their potential. Every situation has a field of action choices, of which some choices lead to this fulfillment. Recognizing which choices lead to fulfillment and which lead to constriction and to act decisively on these choices, many believe, is really the key to success in life.
This calls for awareness or insight and trust in our own abilities. Unfortunately, many times, we don’t trust our own abilities. Our past experiences, our beliefs, our judgments about ourselves, and the world, all cloud our ability to think, and see, clearly and to act decisively. We tend to doubt our feelings, our vision and our convictions. We tend to fear the consequences of our actions and so fall into passivity, and sometimes, worse still, inaction.
Other people also play an important part in the inaction in our lives. The ‘Nay Sayers’, the doubters (this role is often played by ourselves too, when we become self doubters), the one’s who have a vested interest in us NOT taking action, are every present. It’s important we recognize and understand this.
Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams. – Bobby Roncketti
Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will – Anonymous
Why inaction feels right
Some often lived truths, that hold us back are –
- We fear failure
- We fear rejection AND
- We fear the unknown
Because of these truths we cover our hearts, because of the hurts and emotional wounds, that we may have experienced. We stay in our cocoons, our ‘comfort zones’, in the boxes of the mind. This however, only reinforces the pattern of passivity and inaction and of not responding to our situation. We postpone action, or procrastinate and play a waiting game. We learn to begin to ‘play safe’ and gradually become ‘risk averse’.
And so often we wait. We wait for the ‘perfect moment’. The perfect time, to do, to show, to engage. We wait, sometimes, for the other to ask, give, present, or make a(often the first) move.
And then sometimes – circumstances force us into action!
Much against our choice, or natural preference, but now, out of sheer lack of choice, or necessity.
Lyrics from ‘Waiting for an invitation’
If you’re waiting for an invitation
You’re gonna wait a long time, wait a long time.
If you’re looking for an invitation
It’s never gonna come,
You’re never gonna get one
But what is the real threat that ‘inaction’ poses?
The reality is that the environment we live in is dynamic, and a lot may have changed by the time we mobilize ourselves into action. Technology is driving change, redundancy and obsolescence in the environment rapidly.
Internet, mobile and communication technology are not only changing the rules of the environment, but they are also demanding that we redraw our maps we use to think, feel and relate.
We are now expected to play in a new playing field, whose rules we may not be familiar with at all. And we will be expected to perform, and to deliver, in an entirely new situation!
The change is not only in the environment. With the passage of time, our physiology changes. We age. Our bodies and our minds don’t remain as resilient as before. The blows and shocks we could face easily earlier, now tend to shake us to our roots. We no longer have the temperament or the stomach for the many uncertainties and insecurities that emerge as we move from one life stage to another.
Slowly the realization sets in, that the price we pay for staying in our comfort zones and of passivity and inaction is high.
We are always getting ready to live, but never living – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Inaction has its consequences….
- Opportunities slip by, sometime never coming back in the same form
- Our risk aversive mindsets are reinforced, and start to crystalize
- We feel stuck, and even frustrated - our potentials and abilities plateau
- Our life goals are not achieved and time seems to pass us by
And when we compare ourselves, with peers and others, we end up feeling ‘cheated by life’
Normally, we do not so much look at things, as overlook them – Alan Watts