Closing the Gap from Intuition to Action

A Simple Executive Coaching Exercise

There are moments when we realize a truth. We recognize in ourselves that we’ve learned something about a person or a situation that’s “real” knowledge, i.e. we’ve learned it on our own rather than being taught by another person. Once we realize a truth, it becomes so apparent that it’s hard to unsee it. For me, these realizations appear in everything from hiring decisions, to strategic planning, to determining where my kids should attend school.


One thing to clarify is the time we spend before the truth shows itself and after. What I’m referencing is what we do once the truth is uncovered. For the time we spend in the process of learning the truth, there’s been some interesting work that validates spending as much time as you need sitting with the decision and waiting for that moment of clarity. Adam Grant studies the power of procrastination and has shared that procrastinators are 28% more creative. To me, this procrastination comes when we’re sitting with an idea or a decision, and we haven’t yet found the truth. We should absolutely take the time needed for that truth to expose itself. This time differs from what I’m discussing, which is that moment when you have found that truth, and you know it’s time to make the hard decision.


In a recent executive coaching session, I realized that I sometimes sit with a truth without taking the action I need to capitalize on that learning. My executive coach led me to uncover that sitting with these truths without taking action clutters my mind and stifles my energy.


What echoed in my mind upon this realization was the KonMari method we’ve come to know and love of surrounding ourselves physically with items that spark joy. When we do this, we recognize our power to surround ourselves with even more impactful decisions — the people, jobs, and ways we spend our time should all bring us this same sense of joy.

When we have a long gap between the point of discovery of a truth and the action we take, it prevents us from experiencing the bliss we deserve. We know we can and should take action, but something is holding us back.


My executive coach guided me through a helpful visualization exercise that I’d like to share:


She suggested I sit with my truth. Think about what it will feel like in a month if I continue to sit on it. Write a few words to describe that feeling. Now think about how I’ll feel in a month if I take the action I know I need to take. Write a few words to describe that feeling.


When I wrote down the words “relieved, free, happy” for the scenario where I take action, it created the palpable feeling I needed to take the steps that honor my intuition, acknowledge the truth I’ve learned, and make what formerly seemed like a challenging decision. The path became obvious, and I felt at peace.


If anyone is struggling with a decision, give this exercise a shot. I’d love to hear what realizations you come to by using this simple executive coaching exercise.


Image Creator: erhui1979 | Credit: Getty Images