January 25, 2022

Episode 23: Passive action

Maybe you’ve heard of people who overthink everything, and you don’t relate at all. In that case, there’s a high chance that you do the active equivalent: doing tons of stuff, but none in the direction of that one task you should actually be doing.

What you will discover

• The similarity between overthinking and overdoing

• The archaic brain mechanism at play in both cases

• What it costs you

• How to notice it at play in your life

• The secret to getting quick results

• And finally, one pro tip that might very well change your life.


Mixed and produced by Adrien Grenier

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Episode Transcript

Hi, and welcome to the Excellent Rider podcast. I'm Mélanie, I'm a certified life coach and I specialize in helping people like you get things done, find ease and motivation again and get unstuck when it feels like you've lost your mojo. So maybe you're familiar with overthinking?

Overthinking is what happens when you want to do something or you need to do something and you are spending your time analyzing all the different consequences, all the different ways that you need to do it and all the different things that could possibly happen or all the things that you might need.

Or we have another name for this in coaching language, it's called analysis paralysis. So basically, when you have the idea that whatever action it is that you're considering taking will have some negative consequences. And your brain is very kindly preventing you from taking that decision by making you consider and weigh all the different parameters of the situation and of the decision.

So basically it's this idea that if there is a bush over there that you're considering walking towards and you are also at the same time imagining that there is a tiger in the bush. Well, your brain will very kindly find all the reasons and all the ways to prevent you from actually taking any step towards that bush.

So it's just protecting you. So. Analysis paralysis, or overthinking, that's one of the mechanisms that the brain has to prevent you from walking towards the bush. It has many others, but one that I would like to discuss today with you, it's something that I will call passive action, which is the action equivalent of overthinking.

So basically it's when you are doing a lot of things. You're taking a lot of action. You're very busy, very active, but you are not actually taking any step towards that bush. So you're walking all around in every single direction except the direction of the bush. So a very typical example of a passive action is procrastination.

So it's when you know, you're supposed to do task A and instead you do a task B to Z, but you're not ever taking any step towards task A, even though you're thinking about it all the time. Procrastination is of course, a very well known example, but I would like you to consider the other aspects of a passive action.

The other ways that you are in passive action, and this is when you are doing a lot of things that sound very important in order for you to reach your goal, but which are not making you do the thing that you're actually afraid of doing. So, for example, I'll take an example from my own life. In the beginning, when I started my business, what really creates a coaching business is when you have clients.

And so of course, you need to go out and make offers of your services to clients. So you need to tell people that you're a life coach, and this is what you can do for them. And this is how much it costs. And are they interested in buying your service? And of course in the beginning, when you're not used to selling that is terrifying for many reasons. I was doing a lot of things that I thought were contributing towards me getting clients.

So I spend a lot of time, for example, building a website because I thought, okay, if I don't have a website, it's not going to be possible for me to sell. But of course I don't need a website to sell my services to anyone. I just need a phone. I don't even need a phone. I can just talk to people in the street, literally like talk to anyone, just go to a meeting, go to a gathering of people and present your services.

And that's the terrifying part. So passive action is when you are putting together a website and when you are considering all the different things that you, all the courses that you need to go, or the research that you need to do, all the things that you need to learn. And of course, some of that is necessary and you, there are things that you need to learn, and there are things that you need to figure out or to put together.

But the real thing is to start doing the thing that you're scared of and or reluctant to do, or are uncomfortable doing. Whatever name you want to put on it. Because when you do it, you are going to learn and you are going to figure out what is it that you need to learn. You're going to be so much more effective at learning because you're going to know exactly the very spot-on thing that you need to get better at.

When you are in passive action, it's typically , you have never tried to approach a customer. You don't, you have no idea what it's going to be like to talk to a customer. You have no idea what are the kinds of difficulties that this might create, or the kind of things that you might need. And you decide that you're going to take a 20 hour class on how to sell.

And it's wonderful to take a 20 hour class on how to sell. And it's in many ways necessary, but nothing beats actually selling to 20 customers. Because once you have tried to sell to 20 customers, then you have a much clearer idea and a much better idea of what is it that you need to get better at.

And then you can find a class that's maybe one hour long or maybe 50 hours long, this doesn't matter, which is spot on targeted to the one thing that you need to get better at. So passive action is anything that makes you look like you're busy trying to reach your goal, but you're not actually taking the one or two types of actions that are the one that you're really afraid of.

So if I take a few other examples: if you are looking for a job, and the one thing that you're really afraid of is to go and be in interviews and people turning you down. So the scary thing is to be in interviews. So you're not going to take any of the action that would actually possibly result in you having interviews scheduled on your calendar.

So you're going to avoid, or limit the number of resumes that you sent, but you're going to spend a lot of time making that resume look really nice. So you're going to spend a lot of time talking to people who are specialists in resumes. You're going to spend hours looking at the design.

And I just want you to bring your attention to the fact that in your mind, these are things that are very important, very, very valuable. And you're going to think it's super critical that your resume is really well presented because if it's not, you're not going to end up on the top of the pile. You're not going to get the interviews, et cetera.

But what I would like to suggest instead is, do a quick work on the resume, like give yourself one hour or two hours max, to do the best you can do with your resume and then spend all of that time, instead of making your resume beautiful, spend all that time spent sending massively your resumé to as many job postings as you can, so that you get many interviews.

And this is where the fun actually begins because this is by taking all the interviews, this is where you're actually confronting your fear. This is where you actually get an opportunity to improve at the things you need to improve at, to become the kind of candidate that everybody wants to hire. Or I'll give you another example.

This is when you have a presentation to do to a client in a couple of days. And what you're doing is that you're reading tons of material online on how to make a killer presentation instead of delivering your presentation to a dummy audience, for example, because you're terrified of doing this and you keep on telling yourself that you need to improve it a little bit better before it's ready to be presented.

So pay attention all the time to whether you are in massive action or in passive action. So massive action is the opposite. Massive action is the type of action that you take directly in the direction of the bush with the tiger. And it's called massive action because basically it's the kind of action that you take until you get your result.

And usually you need to take a lot of action until you get your result. So massive action, when you're looking for a job, it's taking many interviews and you take interviews until you have a job. And so of course, taking interviews requires a lot of work ahead of that, right?

Sending resumes and making sure that you speak to the right people, et cetera, so that you are offered interviews. In the case of selling to customers, well, massive action is talking to people and telling them that you're a life coach and that you have an offer. And that you, This is your price, until you have somebody who actually accepts to, to buy your services or is interested in buying your services, until you have somebody who is actually interested in buying your services.

And passive action is the things that you do that don't produce results of the kind that you actually, where you actually will measure your success. So passive action is for example, consuming information, learning, planning, researching.. All of that is useful. And some amount of it is necessary, but what will create the result that you're after?

It's massive action. It's actually confronting your fear, confronting your reluctance, going directly into the discomfort. And this is what you should be doing most of. So what I want to suggest to you is that you start by paying attention to what kind of action am I in right now? Am I taking the kind of action that will directly deliver the result that I'm after? Or am I taking some detours and pretending for myself that all of these other things are necessary before I actually feel ready to get in front of the bush with what I think is a tiger.

I have a little tip for you. You're never going to be ready. The only way to be ready is to actually have done the thing. So you need to, talk to clients. You need to be in interviews. You need to present your presentation to a dummy audience.

You need to do that as many times as possible. This is what will make you ready. Not the reading of stuff, not the planning of stuff, not the researching of stuff. So make a deal with yourself: When you start to notice, really am I in passive action? Am I in massive action?

Make a deal with yourself and tell yourself that from now on for every hour of a passive action that you take, you have to give yourself one hour of massive action, and you're going to watch your life become completely transformed.

If you found this episode helpful and you want to help the podcast, well, the best way to do it as always is to share it with other people. And this you can do directly by tipping a friend about it, or sending a link to the podcast to somebody you think might be interested; or you can also leave me a review on the podcast platform that you're using to listen to it.

That's very helpful. And I really appreciate. Thanks a lot for listening today. And remember that even when you can't get yourself to do what you want, even when you're stuck in negative emotions and unpleasant thought loops.

And even when you don't believe it, especially when you don't believe it, you're not broken. You're not flawed. And you're definitely not jinxed. You're just learning how to be an excellent rider. There are no bad horses, only untrained riders.

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