Articles and News

Lights, Camera, Action…


I have recently set up a Facebook Group for people who are interested in exploring their strengths in a deeper way.  I decided that we would look at a Spotlight Strength each week, focusing in on each of the 60 strengths alphabetically.

In the first week, we looked at Action.  People with an energising strength in Action feel an overriding compulsion to act immediately and decisively, being much more comfortable with forward momentum than with careful strategy and reflection.  As soon as they get an idea, they don’t want to wait.

I have this as an energising strength and it really resonates.  It’s how I decided to move out of London (we can move back if we don’t like it), buy a campervan (let’s just extend the mortgage) and started my business (yeah, no business plan at the beginning)!

The benefits of action taking

There are many benefits of simply taking action.  You get stuff done!  In my last corporate role, I remember overhearing someone saying, “Just give it to Ali – she gets stuff done.”.  It’s a nice reputation to have.

As a strength, it feels useful, positive, optimistic and with momentum.  It’s kept my business going during the pandemic where I’ve had to pivot into different delivery methods with new services and new clients.  Over the last 14 months, my modus operandi on many occasions has been to grab my trusty triumvirate of energising strengths: Adventure, Courage and Action.  Let’s get on with it!  And, honestly, that has kept me sane.

So, this is an energising strength that I’m truly grateful for.  However, as with most strengths, there can be downsides. 

The downsides of action taking

The thing with action taking is that it often happens without much forethought.  I have mentioned before how I’m not great at planning.  I set my destination and I get into action.  Often, I do not have a clear path to follow but trust that I’ll end up in the right place. 

There are two potential problems with this approach. 

Firstly, I could possibly steam off down a path that’s not heading in the right direction.  Whilst I’m very happy (and almost relish) having to recalibrate midway through, I wonder how much time and energy can be wasted in this way.

Secondly, imagine what it would feel like to work with me if I were given free rein!  I could lead you careering down the wrong path with no explanation or forethought at all.  Exciting for some, very frustrating for others I imagine (it’s OK, you can tell me).

Achieving balance

Reflecting on all this has been beneficial – every day’s a school day, right?

I believe that I have learned to control my impulses when I need to. 

I have also learned the benefit of having a plan before getting into action.  Oh, and if someone else can write the plan, even better!

I’ve also learned that Action can be a stress response for me and I need to be aware of this.  If I start action-taking without a plan … I need to stop and think.  Where am I heading and why?

Now you

Are you an action taker or do you like to plan, organise and strategise first?  Here are some reflection points for you:

  • On a scale of 0 (I love to stay in planning mode) to 10 (I just take action without forethought), where do you naturally sit?
  • What are the benefits of being in this position?
  • What are the drawbacks of being in this position?
  • What one thing could you do differently that would have a positive impact?

Lights, Camera, Action

I used this phrase as the subject line to this email with flippancy.  I can now see that it’s a good pause for thought for me.  Before getting into Action, remember to organise the Lights and the Camera!

If you would like this weekly blog sent directly to your inbox, as well as receive a copy of my “Top 3 Ways to Boost Your Career Happiness Right Now,” please click here.