Are you missing a step between awareness and action?

Posted by on June 27, 2022

Are you missing a step between awareness and action?

A lot of folks want to spring into action the moment they learn that there is something they are doing wrong. Maybe it’s because they are a high-performer or maybe they are trying to avoid more criticism. Either way, they need to slow down, because there is an important step between awareness and action.

It’s called acceptance. It looks like this…

Let’s say you’ve noticed that you tend to worry about looking foolish in front of your colleagues, so you hold back with your ideas at work. Maybe you even got some feedback from your boss that you need to speak up and participate more in meetings.

If you move straight to action without thinking, you may blurt out any old thing at the next staff meeting. And “I like pickles!” probably won’t add much to the conversation. Nor will “that idea our CEO had was terrible” help your career move forward.

But what if you went into the staff meeting with the intention that it would be a good idea to try to share something relevant. As the meeting progresses, you are aware that you are feeling hesitant to speak. Here’s where acceptance comes in.

Acknowledge that hesitation, and accept it without judgment. Self talk might sound like, “I feel a little afraid to say something dumb. Although, this is a pretty safe group and safe topic.”

When you accept that this old behavior and feeling is where you are right now, your options for action open up. The self-talk might be: “Maybe I could offer an idea I am having that differs from what is being shared. Or I could support my colleague’s idea and say I was thinking something similar. Or maybe today I choose not to speak, and that’s ok. Or I could make that pickles announcement.” (Note: not all options are equally good or appropriate.)

The point is, after you have awareness, don’t rush into action. Pause in acceptance, and you will be better able to see what good options are open to you. Some days, you will try a new behavior, and that’s great – regardless of the outcome. Some days you might not feel like you can do it; give yourself some grace. Yes, we want to nudge you outside of your comfort zone, but we don’t want to push you off a cliff.

Where do you have some awareness about a new behavior you need to explore? Could pausing in acceptance assist you in moving into action?

Aim for progress!

p.s. As always, your comments are welcome on this post at