Consultants who must be in action to win business, deliver value, and build a thriving firm, often find themselves stuck. Stopped. Zippo progress. Has that ever happened to you? If so, read on.
If you ever find yourself at a standstill, you may be feeling overwhelmed or uninspired. Worse, even when your enthusiasm burns bright for your highest priorities, you may find yourself procrastinating.
The real problem? The wrong person is in charge. In terms of your actions, you’re always in the driver’s seat; however, when you’re feeling as stuck as a turtle in a glue trap, it’s because the wrong version of you has control and is stomping on the brakes.
You’re complex. You think; you feel; you act. (And, if you’re me, you play hockey and eat chocolate. But we’ll stick with think, feel and act.)
Research shows that emotions drive actions, with cognitions racing to catch up and rationalize behavior. Other studies prove thoughts determine emotions and, therefore, are the root of action. Still other research demonstrates that when you take action, you change your feelings and thoughts to align with your behavior.
Everyone’s right. There’s a feeling you, a thinking you and an acting you.
The feeling you directs your passion by setting strategy, marshals your confidence so you can win new business, and urges you to deliver the highest quality work. This is you, the Therapist.
The thinking you balances risk against reward, casts away idle dreams that could siphon energy away from real progress, and prioritizes your to-do list. This is you, the Physicist.
The acting you moves plans into action, powers through obstacles, and notches concrete accomplishments. This is you, the Bricklayer.
Each you affects the others. Each is important. Changing any version of you will alter your trajectory as a person and a professional.
The trick is deciding when each you has priority. When to feel more than you think and act. When to push the Therapist off stage and let the Physicist carefully ponder your decisions. When to put your brain in park and simply stack bricks.
Consultants have a tendency to let the Physicists run the show long past the time those logical voices should have been locked in windowless closets with their accelerometers.
Getting and staying in motion requires you to decide to be the Bricklayer.
Designate specific times each day to assume that role, and in those moments let action lead you, not feeling or thinking. Refuse to indulge in the luxury of being the Therapist or the Physicist.
The Bricklayer has to trust the Therapist and Physicist.
When you step into action mode, accept that the strategies and plans you’ve formulated are sound. The temptation to question what you’re doing is actually the siren song of your Therapist and Physicist clamoring for attention.
Choose to be the Bricklayer. Set aside introspection, indecision and procrastination by committing to acting on your prior decisions.
Laying bricks—being in action—is meditative, nourishing and rewarding when you embrace it; when you step fully into the role and turn off your buzzing mind and demanding heart. There is joy and accomplishment in simply doing.
There’s not just how to being in motion, there’s who. You can be the Bricklayer because you are the Bricklayer. Just let that part of you take control of the car, and when it’s time to change drivers, you’ll be thrilled with how far you’ve traveled.
How do you put the Bricklayer in charge and surge into motion?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.