There is a Japanese proverb: Insight without action is a daydream. Action without insight is a nightmare. A fundamental principal of coaching is the premise that when one links insight to action, the possibility exists for transformation. At Xponents, our fundamental coaching program, Context of Coaching, is built on this principal. I believe with insight, we are each in choice about what we will do or not do. From the time insight is present, each of us holds our destiny in our hands.
My own growth and development has been greatly impacted by these ideas. I am action oriented, and for those familiar with strength finders, my number one strength is activator. Sometimes when I see something that needs doing, I can rush right in and engage with the environment without thinking it through. I am fond of saying, “I build the bridge while walking across it.” This strength has certainly been a key to my successes in business and in life. It can also create a great deal of angst for other people.
Recently, my siblings and I decided we needed to do some work at my Dad’s place. He is getting older, and is having some challenges keeping up with his home in the mountains near Durango, Colorado. I dove in, as is my tendency, and quickly had a plan of sorts. I knew there were three big buckets of tasks that needed to be accomplished. I thought the project was fairly well thought out (to my standards). I knew the initial steps we needed to take, and I felt the next steps would become clearer down the road. The work was hard, and we encountered some unexpected challenges. People were tired and working long hours. We feared we would not be finished within our initial time frame (and we were not). The outcome was spectacular, but on the last day my brother said to me, “next time I wish we could plan this out better, and consider all the potential obstacles we might encounter.”
I don’t know if I could have anticipated all the surprises we encountered. What I know now, is that I didn’t consider the impact on others of diving into the deep end of the pool (without a life vest). While I had emotional capacity for that approach, I created a nightmare for others.
On the flip side, I had been feeling that deep awareness for a while that I needed to go and see my Dad. He is a six-hour drive away, in good weather, and I had rationalized that it’s not worth it to try and make the drive on a two-day weekend. I had suspected he needed extra support from his kids. He is nearly eighty, legally blind and frankly, he doesn’t get around that well anymore. I often thought about conversations I would have with him, or I would consider flying over for a weekend to spend some quality time. But I didn’t move into action. I let myself stay in a dream state, and nothing happened because I didn’t act on my awareness.
We can transform physical space, business results, and even relationships when we have new awakenings that we act upon. We can be in choice, and intentional, when we link insight to our actions. We can reflect on the outcome of what we did, and have an even greater awareness of what is possible. This is what I call the Cycle of Transformation. I will always remember a woman named Lou who facilitated a personal development program I attended back in the 90s. She used to say, Get conscious people! Wake up to what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. I think what Lou meant is that many are sleepwalking through life. Daydream or nightmare? Transformation happens when you’re awake.
What do you think? Comment below and share your opinion.
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Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.