This is Only a Test


Today I spoke with Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of The Happiness Project, about her book, happiness, and coaching. Our conversation touched on the importance of taking action. Gretchen’s project was all about test-driving a wide range happiness theories and practices to see if DOING things made her FEEL HAPPIER. In pursuit of happiness, she read a lot (I mean a lot), and thought a lot, but the focus was on doing (a lot!)

In my coaching practice, I expect my clients to get into action right away. Sometimes clients are caught off guard by the need to take action before they have figured everything out. But getting into action is PART of figuring it out. The truth is, there’s only so much you can figure out if you stay in your own head, or even if you discuss things with a friend, therapist, or coach. So you look inward to your values and your desire, you hypothesize something that might produce your desired result, and you try it out. Your experiment then gives you data that helps you decide your course. In Co-Active Coaching, the coach helps the client “forward the action and deepen the learning,” and neither one has primacy. They are both necessary to creating fulfilling change. Just like buying a car, you can research the heck out of it — decide what qualities you want, compare models, consult Consumer Reports, etc. But then you need to go and get behind the wheel and take her out for a spin.

Being willing to test-drive an idea and experiment can reduce some of the pressure you may feel about making a big decision, and it can inject some much-need lightness and fun into the process. A “failure” loses some of its weight and becomes just more data. And a success is a step closer to fulfillment.

So whaddya say? Hop into the driver’s seat!