How Do We Act Effectively in Our Action-Oriented World? The Sensitivity Cycle Part 3
Editor’s Note: This is the third of a five-part series examining the Sensitivity Cycle, and how to use the cycle to overcome resistance and the dreaded feeling of being stuck. Click here to read Part 1, click here to read Part 2, click here to read Part 4, and click here to read Part 5.
Each aspect of the Sensitivity Cycle presents different barriers or growth edges, depending on the person, personality and the environment from which they operate.
In my last article, I explored Insight and the importance of creating space for clarity and learning. Now, I will delve into the next phase of the cycle: Action.
Action is an interesting part of the cycle because we as human beings are constantly acting. It’s an innate part of being physical beings living in physical reality. Whether or not we have growth edges around Action, at the end of the day, we have to take action in our lives (even choosing not to act is a form of action). Understanding how we engage in Action is a gateway to greater awareness, effectiveness, and impact in our world.
Because action is in our nature, it’s essential to focus on effective action. When honing in on this part of the Sensitivity Cycle, the goal is to get more purposeful and more precise about what drives your actions. It’s less about doing for the sake of doing, and more about doing with purpose. This distinction is important.
A person with a learning edge around Action may see it manifest by:
· Grinding out work day-after-day
· Being overly-focused on checking items off a to-do list or moving through the list too quickly
· Doing without understanding or connecting to the “Why?”
· Feeling stuck and unable to decisively move forward
I worked with a client recently who was struggling with her corporate career, working too much and feeling undervalued by those around her. By the time she came to me, she was ready to burn it all down.
In working together, rather than oversimplifying the solution to her work stress with the extreme action of pushing the eject button (which was really tempting), we focused on developing awareness around the impulse to eject, and skill-building at that edge. As a result, she was able to create more-empowered relationships with her co-workers, establish boundaries around her time so she could focus on other areas of the cycle, and find more fulfillment in her career path.
Unlike Insight – where the time and space is being made for it or it isn’t – Action can have more nuance. The four common areas I see are:
· Acting impulsively (like my client)
· Being slow to act
· Not acting at all
· Acting effectively
I, myself, struggled with Action early in my career. Working in a corporate environment, I often placed too much emphasis on Action, to the point of staying overly late or just trying to look busy if a manager was present (ineffective action). Or, I didn’t connect well to the Insight phase of my work to create an overall vision for my efforts, which often led to disinterest, resistance, and inaction (this is a great example of how the Sensitivity Cycle weaves together from phase-to-phase).
For me, I was so hot or cold with Action that I felt like I was in the middle of the ocean being tossed around by the waves, even though I perceived myself to be hyper-effective in this realm. Struggling with this area of the Sensitivity Cycle always feels like a whirlwind, whether you are acting too much, not enough, or not at all.
When I sense this type of overwhelm in a client, I encourage them to step out of the storm and assess whether their Action is effective, impulsive, procrastinating, or non-existent. Then, we focus on mindfulness, building moment-to-moment awareness, and adjusting where needed. This could be slowing down, speeding up, or simply taking a baby-step forward. It’s also necessary to examine where you can take responsibility for actions, and hold yourself accountable for what you want to accomplish.
When you look at Action in the Sensitivity Cycle, and examine your relationship with it, you’ll see opportunities for growth, more effectiveness and more overall fulfillment in your career and life journey.
If Action feels like an overpowering whirlwind, or even a sludgy mess, and you’d like one pro-tip for bringing more clarity and ease to this phase, connect with me at www.somamike.com, where you’ll find links to schedule your free Exploratory Call.