A few weeks ago, I described my theories and my experiences using massive action.
I’m pretty proud of that post. I got some really great feedback plus a request for a Massive Action notebook. So thanks to you if you were one of the people to share your enthusiasm.
As I think about that post, I realize sometimes there is a piece that goes before massive action, sometimes there is a prerequisite to taking massive action, not all the time, but sometimes.
And then, in an unrelated story, a few months ago, I was doing my morning journaling and I flipped over to a new page. The prompt that was planted on that page for me was “what are your top three confident areas?”
Top 3 Confident Areas
I’ll just sidestep here a little bit and I acknowledge that that question was actually kind of hard for me to answer that morning. I had to work through some of my own personal resistance about not feeling confident in hardly any areas. So, that was an interesting thing to pay attention to. But once I got over my initial resistance of allowing myself to feel confident in some areas, and when I put my brain to work to discover what are my top three confident areas, I was delighted to discover that one of those confident areas that day was that I take inspired and massive action.
I’m confident in this area because I know it is good for me. I know I have nothing to lose. I believe inspired action works. I know massive action leads to learning and growth. I like it.
Inspired and massive action is so fun for me. So now I’m thinking: “It’s about time for an episode about inspired action.” I’ve already given you my take on massive action. Let’s talk about inspired action.
But First, Intuitive Nudges
Since I seem to be working in reverse, I will just mention, I do also think that there is an element that comes before inspired action, and that is an intuitive nudge.
An intuitive nudge for me, is a little thought, a little piece of a sentence, a tiny slip of an idea that floats into my awareness and suggests something to me. Sometimes I go for it and sometimes I dismiss it.
Oftentimes, if I dismiss an intuitive nudge, I learn later why I got that intuitive nudge. Sometimes the intuitive nudge comes back repeatedly and more strongly until I do take action, which leads to inspired action. I define inspired action as when I take the first tiny (or sometimes major) step towards something without really understanding or needing to know why.
Resistance and Inspired Action
It’s when I take action without knowing a full intention or purpose. Sometimes I cannot even imagine what I think the outcome will be. I just know I’m doing this thing, whatever it is. And, sometimes it’s tiny and insignificant (seemingly) in the present moment. Sometimes it could be an investment of my time or energy or money or something else. Sometimes it could be a risk. Sometimes it could be risk-free. Whatever it is, inspired action means taking an action from my inspiration, usually based on an intuitive nudge.
Taking action of any kind can be met with resistance. When I think about taking inspired action, I realize sometimes there’s no resistance whatsoever. When I take these inspired actions, I’m just doing it. There’s no question. There’s no reason not to, even if I don’t know why I’m doing it, I’m still doing it. Other times when I am inspired to take action, and then I go for it, I do notice that there is some resistance.
When I do have resistant thoughts, when I notice some fear or nervousness or warning alarms, they don’t overpower the inspiration of this inspired action. It’s just a force. Those resistant thoughts cannot overpower the force of the inspired action.
How Inspired Action Feels
So how do I feel when I’m about to, or when I’m in the midst of taking inspired action? I notice that I feel curious. Curiosity is probably the number one feeling. I’m probably wondering “what am I doing and why? Am I really doing this right now? What’s this about – what’s going on here?” But I’m still doing it.”
There’s no question that I’m going to do it. I just don’t really get why. And so I’m curious about it. Sometimes, but less frequently, I’m excited. There is definitely a buzz or a vibration of excitement.
I probably don’t experience the full emotion of excitement because I don’t really know why I’m doing what I’m doing and I don’t really have an expected outcome. There’s not much to be excited about. I definitely feel open because there is no expected outcome because I don’t know why I’m doing what I’m doing and because I don’t know what’s to come.
Maybe a subliminal layered emotion under those three -curiosity, excitement and openness- is knowing.
What I don’t feel when I’m taking inspired action? When I’m taking other kinds of actions, I might feel resistant. When I’m taking action out of spite or out of fear or out of obligation
When I’m taking inspired action, I never feel ashamed. I do not feel guilty and I don’t feel afraid.
Am I Out of Control?
There is a sense of “out of control” when I’m taking inspired action. I do feel a little bit out of control, but not in a manic, scary or negative way. More likely, I’m thinking “this is happening and I am doing this”, from a place of confidence and sureness and knowing, and I might also think “I can’t stop this. I couldn’t stop this even if I wanted to. I don’t know why I’m doing this. I don’t know where this is going to lead. This doesn’t make any sense and I’m still doing it.”
That’s how it might feel a little out of control in that sense.
Am I Nervous?
There’s also (sometimes) a feeling of nervousness, like a nervous energy, but again, it’s not a nervousness coming from fear or doubt. It’s maybe just regular nerves, regular awareness that I am starting something that’s a little unknown and a little unsure, but at the same time, I feel pretty sure. Not of the outcome, not at what’s going to happen next, just sure that I am doing this.
Personal Examples of Inspired Action
Hopefully with the descriptions I’ve given you so far, you have an idea of what I’m talking about and maybe you can even think back to a few examples from your personal life of when you have taken inspired action.
Just in case you are wondering, I have some of my own examples to share with you.
The Life Changing Walk to Campus
When I was a teenager, I had dropped out of college for a while. I was living my life and working and trying to figure out my next step. One night, there was a problem with the electricity or the phone or something in my apartment.
I decided I would just walk to the nearby college campus to use a payphone. There were so many other things that I could’ve done that night. I didn’t need to go make that phone call. I could have waited till the electricity or phone turned back on. There were other places that I could have walked to, like a convenience store or a grocery store within walking distance.
But that night, there was just no question that I was going to the campus to find a phone and make a phone call. When I got to that campus I looked around, and even at night, I liked what I saw. I liked the grassy lawns. I liked the buildings. I like the layout. I just felt so comfortable. I just decided – in that moment- after that walk to that payphone: I’m going to school here.
This was after I had already started and dropped out of a different college the previous year. And suddenly I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to enroll in the school. The next weekday, I walked back to the campus and went into the admissions building and got the paperwork to start the process. That decision definitely turned my life around from that one inspired action of taking that one walk.
Time to Buy A House
Another example of taking inspired action was years later. I got the nudge, the intuitive hit, and also the external suggestion, to buy a house. My first house. I was single. I had just started a brand new job within the previous month. I had just moved back into the Phoenix valley. I was living with a friend and I decided I’m going to buy a house.
I don’t even remember exactly the order of events or who I talked to, but basically I got a hold of a mortgage broker and started talking about what I would need to do to qualify for a loan. That first step got the ball rolling. That was the start of my personal real estate investment portfolio. And basically supports my financial independence today.
A Night Out Alone
Here’s another example of inspired action that happened that same year in 2001. But upon thinking of it, I’m wondering if there were other precursor inspired actions that I took years earlier, but only by looking backwards, am I able to connect the dots and see how one thing led to another.
Here’s the short version though: I decided to go out by myself one night to go to a club and go dancing because I liked dancing and I liked to go out. A normal reaction, a non inspired action, for someone in my situation at that time, might have been to stay home because I didn’t have anyone to go with.
Who goes out by herself to a club or a bar? That’s just not done. That’s just not how things work. Right? You have to go with a group of girlfriends or with one other friend or on a date or something like that. You just don’t show up alone to a club or a bar and just go to have a night out on the town. But I did. I did that multiple times whenever I couldn’t find a friend to go with me and I really wanted to go. And, lucky for me, on this one specific Sunday night I’m thinking of, I reconnected with someone who I had met the year before when I was out with a girlfriend and we were having a girls’ night out.
But on this specific Sunday night that I decided to go out by myself, despite not having anyone to go with, despite it not being something that people do- this was the night that I ran into someone who I had met months earlier. And that person is now my husband. So I definitely consider going out that night -instead of staying home- inspired action.
Inspired by Solar
A few years later, after a few years of marriage and a few more house purchases, I was flipping through an adult education catalog from our local community college and something caught my eye about a solar course, a course about the energy supply in Arizona and using solar energy.
I don’t even remember the exact title or topic of the course, but something about it caught my eye and I thought, “oh, I’m going to go to that course.” It was very interesting. It was just a one night class and I went to it and I loved the information that was shared. The instructor was so knowledgeable and such an expert and shared the information so easily. I got super interested in the topic and wanted to know more. At the end of the class, the instructor gave us ideas for other resources if we wanted to learn more or get more involved. One of the things that he suggested was a solar meetup group and he gave us the group’s website.
My inspired action of flipping through that catalog and seeing that class, and then deciding to enroll for the class and going and showing up that night for the class, and then listening to the instructor and hearing him talk about how to get more information led me to the solar group’s website.
Their website led me to their meeting platform that they use to announce their meetings and their classes and tours and things that the solar group was doing. It was on a site called meetup.com. So, I ended up joining meetup so that I could get announcements from the solar group.
New Social Life and Friend Group
MeetUp led me to a complete overhaul of my social life and my friend group and how I spent my free time.
I’ve had so many other positive and life changing outcomes as a result of checking out how to get notified of the solar group’s upcoming events, which I learned about by going to that solar class, that one night at the community college.
Ironically, I still haven’t ended up getting solar on my own house, which at the time I thought might be the reason that I was interested in the topic that night, but I have had so many fun non-solar related experiences and met so many wonderful people and made friends for life and had plenty of things to do when I was bored and I’ve learned so much. I’m so grateful for that solar meetup group-even though I haven’t followed them in years.
Am I a Dog Sitter?
Here’s a more recent example of following an intuitive nudge and taking inspired action.
A few weeks ago I was scrolling through social media and I saw that a woman, a stranger on the internet, had posted a request for anyone available to dog sit for her starting the next day.
My thought was “that’s crazy. I like to plan things in advance. I like to know all the answers up front. I like to have things figured out.” I thought “Why would someone ask for a week long dog sit the day before the trip?”
But something about it just called out to me. I responded to the post. I messaged the woman. We had a back and forth. We started texting each other and wouldn’t, you know, at 6:00 AM the next morning, the dog gets dropped off at my house and spent the next week with me.
We had so much fun and it was such a great experience. And I love that I got to have that friendly, fun, constant companion for that week. And that I got to help someone who was in a tight spot. It just worked out all the way around.
Resistance to the Action I Was Taking
There was a little resistance for me in this last example. The whole time that we were setting up the drop-off for the next day, I was thinking thoughts like “is this a scam?
This is a stranger on the internet. Is this really happening? Is my husband going to be okay with bringing this stranger’s dog into our home? What’s going on? Am I even a dog sitter?”
I was having so many resistant thoughts, but I was powerless to stop.
It was just flowing and unfolding and I’m so glad it did.
Those are some both major and minor examples of how inspired action has shown up for me in my life.
Your Inspired Action Examples
Now that I’ve shared these examples, I’m really curious if you can think of ways that you have taken inspired action that has maybe led to some massive action for you?
Maybe your inspired action led to you coming up with a strategy and a plan and a goal for yourself, or maybe it led to a new, unexpected opportunity that you could never have even imagined. Or, has your inspired action led to a great experience, or a life partner?
What do you think about inspired action?
I’m so curious about how it shows up? How do we recognize it? What happens when we don’t follow through. What happens when we do follow through? I just want to know everything about inspired action.
Notice Intuitive Nudges
If you’re now curious and interested in the idea of inspired action, I have three suggestions, for myself and for you if you want to play along.
The first suggestion is to be on the lookout for intuitive nudges. I’m sure we have all had them.
I’ve had these nudges where I get “do this, call, respond, go there.”
But sometimes resistance might pop up and say, “No, you don’t want to do that. You’re not a dog sitter. You shouldn’t go to a bar by yourself, wait until you have a friend to go with.”
Let’s be on the lookout for these intuitive nudges and as they come to consider taking inspired action. What would be the next step, the first step, the tiniest little step that you could take? Would it be aligning? Would it feel good? Would you feel curious? Would you feel excited? Would you be open? Would you feel powerless to turn around?
Reverse Engineer your Inspired Action
My second suggestion of a way that you could play with inspired action is to consider and think about the great things that you have in your life right now. What is so perfect about your life? What is so amazing about what you have done and created and, and achieved?
Take some time to backtrack and reverse engineer to figure out what was the inspired action that caused this really flowy or perfectly unfolded or resistance-free situation to come into existence.
What was the very first step that you took – the very first action that you did that eventually led to what you have now?
The Rest of the Story
So back to the story about how I reconnected with my future husband that one Sunday night when I just decided to go out by myself. When I told you the short version, I implied that there were some previous examples of inspired action. Here’s the prologue of that story.
I don’t think the inspired action of that particular Sunday night would have been as resistance free and flowy as it was if I wasn’t already in the practice of going out and doing things on my own.
That habit or willingness started years earlier. Years before that Sunday night, when I decided, “oh, who cares that no one is available to go with me. I’ll just go by myself.”
Before that, for years, I had been going to movies by myself, going out to eat by myself, taking vacations by myself. I didn’t have any problem going out and doing these things by myself where someone else my age or in my life situation might have felt less comfortable doing that.
So now I’m thinking, I wonder if the real true inspired action initially happened years earlier. The time I’m specifically thinking of that could have been the original inspired action is when I had a trip planned to go to Euro Disney with a friend when I was in high school. I was a senior in high school. It was prom weekend. I had decided not to go to my senior prom and instead, because we were in Germany and it was very accessible, a friend and I decided we would just take a bus trip and go to Euro Disney. It was just a few hours overnight.
Then we could spend the whole day at Disneyland and then come back the next night.
So we set it up. We had it all planned. On the day of the trip, my friend told me she wasn’t coming. So then I thought, “what now, what do I do now? Do I go on this trip that I’ve planned and paid for as my replacement for prom? Or do I stay home or figure out something else?” And I decided to go to Disneyland. So I ended up taking a bus from Germany to Euro Disney by myself and had a great time.
Paving the Way for the Future
Now, I’m wondering, if that inspired action of going on a trip alone and doing what is normally a group activity all by myself as a teenager helped pave the way for future solo experiences of going to movies by myself and going out to restaurants by myself, which then paved the way for, oh, I’m going out dancing by myself. And that decision and action caused me to randomly run into my future life partner!
Reverse engineer some of those perfectly unfolded resistance-free situations in your life and look for what was the original inspired action that you took. Then, figure out if you can replicate that inspired action in other ways in your current, present day.
Get Curious about Other People
My third suggestion is one that I haven’t tried for myself yet, but now I’m curious so this is a suggestion for me as well as for you.
I want to get curious about other people. I want to listen for their examples of inspired action. And again, consider their examples as maybe like a template or as an option to see how I could use the elements of their example of inspired action in my own present day or in my own situations.
Paying attention to how inspired action happens can help us get more familiar and strengthen this muscle of following the intuitive nudge and then taking action on it.
Maybe it will lead to something, maybe not.
Maybe the next step after taking that inspired action will be coming up with a massive action plan.
Maybe something completely unexpected will happen.
Who knows? It doesn’t matter. It’s just a fun thing to do.
What About You?
Now I am so curious to hear from you, have you taken any inspired action recently?
What was it? I want to know! I’m curious.
If you are an inspired action taker -what am I missing or misunderstanding or not explaining fully in my examples or in my explanation of the value of inspired action?
And finally, as always let’s do a resistance check.
Do you have any resistance to hearing about inspired action or have you noticed any resistance to taking inspired action of your own?
How does that show up? Why do you think the resistance shows up stronger than the powerlessness not to take that inspired action? What is going on there?
If you want a notebook to track your intuitive nudges, check out Intuition: Inner Wisdom for Beginners