Sometimes the Best Action is No Action

Human response innately drives us to relieve discomfort as soon as we feel it. A stone in your shoe, get it out of there. Have a headache, take a Tylenol. Criticized for something you say, stop saying it (passive) or lash out (aggressive). We naturally want to fix a problem in order to feel better about ourselves and/or the situation.

There are many times when pushing forward and taking action is completely appropriate. But there are times when it is not and pushing only exacerbates or complicates the problem. Some situations call for a full-on Stop and the best action is to take no action!

I know that statement sounds counterintuitive for a life coach. My job is to help unpack challenges and collaboratively brainstorm ways to move my client’s life forward in a healthy, balanced way as soon as possible. The coaching culture, in general, is one of proactivity and “do it now!” but a number of my own personal experiences recently have shown me that to push forward simply because I think I should may not be the best strategy.

A great deal of change occurred in my life in 2018. And as we all know, change mostly takes us out of our comfort zone, our status quo, and often into the realm of the unknown. And, man oh man, the unknown can be pretty uncomfortable! I found myself in that realm several times and most often, after sitting in quiet and meditation, I chose to take “no action” first.

Rather than jump in and attempt to fix things, I did the opposite. I took a step back and became an observer of all the parts and pieces that created the scenario. A bit like letting the dust settle after a windstorm. Then, instead of trying to remedy immediately, I chose the path of due diligence ~ more watching, listening, questioning and collecting information. Is all of this a form of action? Yes, I suppose it is. But the approach is considered action based on ease and trust in the natural evolution and revelation of an issue, not action based on discomfort, fear, impatience or a sense of obligation.

Did I feel uncomfortable? Fearful? Yes, of course. The key for me was to acknowledge these responses but refuse to be controlled by them. By doing so, I gave myself time to do my “due diligence” which provided greater understanding of the issue, a wider perspective and the opportunity to make an informed, care-full choice on how … and when … to move forward.

There is a wise old saying, Don’t push the river, it flows by itself. I’ve referred to it often this year – my mantra, if you will. The point is, sometimes you just need to let situations unfold and, with the eye of awareness and a diligent heart, trust that the right action will reveal itself.


Author: Plynn Gutman

Plynn Gutman is a certified coach with a refreshing and holistic approach to achieving an Integrated Life. Specialized retreats, workshops and classes are all a part of Plynn’s wide array of resources that she offers along with useful life lessons, tips and advice through her blog. A writer at heart, with several titles available, Plynn's variety of work appeals to everyone.

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