One more concept that I loved from Atomic Habits by James Clear: the difference between being in motion and taking action. Being in motion suggests that you are doing something, but what you are doing is planning or preparing or thinking about what needs to be done. Taking action is the behavior that actually produces an outcome.

If I read Marie Kondo’s book about tidying up, that’s motion. If I actually take everything out of my closet and purge things, that’s action. If I determine the topics for all the dots I will write next week, that’s motion but it’s not action until I actually sit down at the computer and compose them.

We have all personally been guilty of being in motion while giving ourselves credit for being in action, and organizations are even more culpable. They create committees, task forces, project teams and a host of motion-inducing tactics to appear that something is being accomplished without any viable outcomes to show for it.

Clear suggests that motion allows us to feel like we’re making progress without running the risk of failure. If we don’t actually take action and try something or put a product out there into the world, we avoid any criticism or chance that it will be less than the perfection we are planning. But for results to occur, we must put in the work.

Where are you fooling yourself – thinking that you’re taking action but really you’re just in motion? Stop the ruse today and get in action on what matters to you or your organization.

Atomic Habits by James Clear, 2018

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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