Action isn’t taken on what we are told we SHOULD do, 
it comes from CHOOSING the actions we want take to deliver a result 
Action isn’t taken on what we are told we SHOULD do, 
it comes from choosing the actions to deliver a result 
 
This week the conversation started like many other typical conversations, a simple follow up on a previous action step. Something which had been previously discussed, advised and agreed in order to get a desired outcome. 
How are the exercises going? 
 
The response was fairly typical too, a simple justification of why said action step had not been achieved. 
 
I try to do them and fit them in but I’m so busy and I don’t really feel like I’m getting anywhere, I mean I know I should but that would mean having to give up time with the family. I know that I should do them more but it’s so hard. It’s not the first time I’ve been told to do them and they never worked in the past, but then I know I’ve never really stuck at them.” 
 
There was a sadness and sigh in her voice which touched me. 
 
“I know I should do what he says, but it’s so hard.” 
 
The exercises and the advice had been received in the same way you would read the instructions for a washing machine. There was no personal ownership, no focus on the outcome just a simple un-motivational instruction. Every day we are bombarded with many similar instructions the latest research and proof about how we should think, raise our children, what we should eat, only for the exact opposite to be announced a few months later. 
 
Simply dumping truck loads of information on people does not lead to action. Why would you want to make sacrifices, put in the effort and make changes to the familiar only to be told that you should do it all differently now as the latest information now supports something different. 
 
Let’s be honest, we all know lots of things that we are told we ‘should do’ and have no intention of taking any action on. Even when we know logically that an action is beneficial an emotional response can prevent us from taking it. 
 
If I had the option I would remove the word should from the dictionary! 
 
We know the equations surrounding diet or finance. I should be eating a salad or I really shouldn’t buy this shiny new handbag. Or the actions to take to get the result we want. I should be going for a run instead of sitting watching telly, I should be completing the tax return, cleaning the house whatever it is that the little voice is telling us to do. 
Should’ always knows just how to trigger our emotions and predominantly it is linked to guilt. It robs us of our ability to choose with confidence. I will let you into a secret. In reality it really doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do. 
 
If, and it can be a big IF, you are prepared to stand by the consequences of your decision. 
 
That means no moaning or crying when the dress doesn’t fit, and no pity party when you can’t afford the holiday or surprise when your relationships suffer. If you want a different outcome you choose to take different actions. When you are happy with your situation you choose actions that will protect and support it. 
 
Regain the power to choose, you can always make a different choice tomorrow.  
 
Many times people decide that others will fail, because “we already told her that” and then she changed nothing. Then you were 'shoulding' all over somebody else. So instead of dumping another load of ‘you need to’ and ‘you should do’ I asked a different question. “If you think you know what you 'should' be doing why do you think you don’t take the action?” 
 
After a little probing we quickly established that the external factors such as time and money were not the real reason. (They seldom ever are) in any case here 
 
1) The physical pain wasn’t that bad, therefore there wanting a big enough desire to move away from something. 
 
2) She had never considered the consequences of what could come next, this meant the focus was on the immediate situation instead of the desired out come. 
 
3) Many people in her life were telling her what to do, the only control she felt she had was not to do what they wanted. This was the light bulb moment. 
 
If we reframed the information received from instructions to an option we then we have the control make a decision. To choose to take an action or not to say thanks but this is not my choice. Realising that no one else is really affected by her taking the action or not. So take the personal responsibility, do what you want to do, or don’t do it. 
 
Give yourself permission to ditch ‘Should’. 
 
And if you can't do it for yourself, I give you permission to ditch the 'should'. The excuses or reasons you made before such as time becomes a conversation about scheduling and priorities. 
The difference between this conversation and others she had experienced was that she wasn’t at any point told what she had to do. When the intention behind the conversation is about passing on the message it will rarely be received. 
 
Ask about a situation; be curious about the space where people are sitting including with your own thoughts. Be genuine in connecting during conversations and encourage thoughts to transcend from the obvious to an internal understanding. This week ask a different question,  
 
Where are you ‘shoulding’ all over yourself? 
 
What actions are you prepared to choose in order to receive a desired result? 
 
Who can you empower into taking an action Vs giving them in instruction? 
 
I’d love to hear from you and if you enjoyed this post why not share it with a friend. 
 
Until next time  
 
Much love 
 
Wendy 
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