Mind the gap

The other week I publicly made some commitments that are important for me to keep. In a way I used the publish button to keep myself accountable for my commitments, because I knew there was a risk of having nice intentions that go nowhere. Too much talking, too little action.

I have seen this happen to me many times. I get frustrated by what is happening in the world, wanting to change things, having lots of good intentions and then there is not action, inertia kicks in and I go back to normal until is too late.

This gap between intention and action is something I have been exploring lately. I feel, after observing myself and talking to others, that many times what stops us from jumping that gap is fear, the voice of our own internal saboteurs and a need for taking more personal responsibility, a need for personal leadership.

As part of this exploration I have been testing how to avoid the void and have found these steps helpful:

  1. Acknowledge the gap and recognise I am not my internal dialogue, I am not my thoughts. Yes, I have fears - depending on the the situation I will have fear of failure, fear of not adding value, fear of commitment, of not knowing enough. I could probably categorise most of my fears under impostor syndrome. The question for me here is, do I choose growth or do I chose safety? Do I choose to play small or to face my fears and raise my own bar? What is the worst thing than can happen? And I remind myself of Dawna Markova’s words “I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.”
  2. Align with my values. Remember what is important to me and take action based on my values. What value/s do I need to live to get into action? How would that value support me to bridge the gap? By aligning with my values I can make conscious choices which move me forward positively, allowing me to act in a way that reflects what really matters to me. “Values‐based decision making allows us to create a future that resonates deeply with who we are. It creates the conditions that allow authenticity and integrity to flourish”- Richard Barrett.
  3. Bias towards action. This is one of the design thinking mindsets we live and breathe at amity. This is about building your way forward, rather than talking your way forward. Instead of talking or thinking about doing something you do it, you try and test things out. Everything in life is a prototype, an experiment, life is constantly changing, you are constantly changing. The key for me while adopting this mindset is not to be attached to the final result or outcome, but instead take one step at a time and if it does not work I learn from it and try something else, as quickly as I can.
  4. Reach out and lean in. This also builds on a design thinking mindset, in this case, radical collaboration. I found this challenging, being vulnerable and facing the possibility that none will reach back to me. But once I followed the previous steps I found the courage to reach out. I have been surprised by the level of support and care people have offered me. I don’t have to do things on my own. Other people supporting us, collaborating with us and keeping us accountable is fundamental to leaning in to the fear and moving into action.

Whether my intention is to practice yoga regularly or co-create ways to empower others to collaborate for the good of the whole, following these steps helps the action to reflect who I am and how I want to be in the world. I call this Being in Action. This is the best way I have found to work with my fears and take personal responsibility to mind the gap.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions about the steps I would love to hear them!

Thank you to all those who have encouraged me with your messages and likes to keep writing. Thank you Katie for the grammar edits and constant inspiration! I love you