|   +91-9945533822

Leadership and taking action

Small action vs Massive action....

Sometime back, I was coaching a client on developing new habits
She is a senior executive in the technology industry, having a very busy life
One of things she wanted to do was to start a physical workout routine
Something she used to enjoy during her early career
But as she climbed up the corporate ladder, things got really hectic
Travelling, back-to-back meetings, quarterly targets…..
“I just don’t have time” she said
“Understood, but do you really want to resume some of those physical activities” I asked her

“Ofcourse, I do ! I used to have a very active lifestyle” she continued with a sense of exasperation 
“There’s no denying that you have a very busy life. You may or may not be able to get back to that level of active lifestyle” I stated
“Let’s start with something small and easy. Tell me something - what can you start off easily?” I probed

“I can probably start walking within my community” came her instant response

“That’s great ! And how much time can you devote to this activity ? Think of the minimum time you can give – 5 min, 10 min per day” I asked  her further

“I can easily spend 10 min per day to start with” she responded

“Awesome – and when can you start ?” I pushed her further

“I can start from today itself !” she replied with a sense of excitement
You see….
While a hectic corporate life was her reality, what was really stopping her from taking any action was this thought that she needed a lot of time to engage in physical activities
And obviously, she was not in any position to free up that much time
Hence, she was stuck in this inaction mode
This is where I feel most people confuse or get it wrong
Small action vs massive action
When you want to change, when you want to start a new habit....
One of things which stops you is this thought that the change is big and cannot be managed
You are afraid and hesitant that you need to take massive action
Which itself creates inertia and a sense of fear and even, helplessness
The truth is that not every change requires massive action
In most cases, you can start small

You can start really small and then build on from there
Let’s take an example :
Say you used to read a lot of books
But now your life has becoming very busy
You want to read, but you simply don’t have time
The problem in this case is that you are hoping to have enough time to read the book ( like you used to have before )
But the truth is that life has changed – it has become more complex and busier
So you may not be able to give that much time now
But does that mean you cannot give any time at all ?
Absolutely not !!
You can give some time – 5 min, 10 min….
Maybe read just 1 page per day to begin with
That can be easily managed, right ?
And once that becomes a habit, you can gradually increase that time from 1 page per day to 2 pages per day and so on....
But you think the other way around
You think you need to massive action
You think you need to carve out hours and hours from your busy schedule
And that prevents you from taking any action at all
But the truth is that in this case, you don’t need massive action
You don’t need to carve out hours and hours of your time
You need to take small action - something you can easily manage
5 min per day, 1 page per day…..
That’s it !
Let’s take another example :
Say you never had a healthy lifestyle – unhealthy food, no physical exercise, less sleep
For years and years together….
That now leads to a medical condition
And now, you have to make drastic changes in your lifestyle
You need to be on restricted diet
Exercise daily
Regular medication and check-ups etc
In this example, you need to make a massive change
Small action may not suffice
You see….
Small action vs massive action
For some type of change, you can start really small

For other type of changes, you may need to a much bigger push
Having this clarity can help you move out of inaction mode and actually start taking action
Also, this clarity will help you understand why you are not getting results in some cases, even though you are taking action
It is because you might be taking action, but it may not be sufficient
A bigger change maybe needed
So here's your weekly reflection :

1) Think of one area from your personal or professional life where you want a change
2) What is the smallest action you can take from today ( not tomorrow, not day after, but today ) ?
3) Similarly, think of one area from your personal or professional life where despite taking action, you are not getting the results you want

4) What action are you taking ? Is that really sufficient ?
5) If not, what is the real change you need to make to get the results you want ?
Do share your thoughts and feedback


Leave a comment