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The Gap? Knowledge and Action

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I was reminded this week of how many of our challenges can be summarized by the interaction of knowledge and action. There are two opposing situations that can slow our progress toward success.

Sometimes, it can feel like we’re really slogging through the muck to reach our goals. It feels like that gap between you and your success is growing wider and wider with each day. Yet there are ways to close that space. Like Jack Klemeyer said, you have to cross that gap and become intentional with your actions. His examples are very helpful:

  • If you want to learn and develop your thinking and skills, you might read books and articles, take time for webinars and workshops, participate in group studies or a mastermind group.
  • If you want to be a conscious capitalist, you have to develop a way to support, nurture or contribute to a cause or program.
  • If you want to get new customers, you have to find ways to meet and build relationships with those people and businesses that are your ideal customer. You have to put yourself in their path and interact with them.
  • If you want to get a new car, or a new home, or a new whatever, you have to make a plan to consistently save for it or designate certain income or sales toward that goal.

© Flickr user Edisni.

Let’s take a look at those two opposing situations:

1. Action that lacks knowledge. At times our actions don’t generate the right outcome. Afterward, we may learn something that would lead to better actions in the future. Knowledge can come from many sources. Better results can occur just by using the knowledge of other people. If we are taking action but not getting the results we desire, then knowledge and resources can help.

2. Knowledge that lacks action. The second situation is when we know what to do, we just don’t do it. This is also very common. When I exercise first thing in the morning, my day is more productive, and I feel better. Do I exercise first thing every morning? No. There are many reasons, or I should say, excuses. If we have the knowledge but fail to take action, then finding a means of accountability usually helps.

The interaction between knowledge and action can ultimately define our success. As a coach, I help people continually navigate both of these situations. For complex challenges, we experience a fluctuation between both of these situations. On a day when I feel stuck, I find a way to shift my energy to either action or knowledge. This helps me achieve success for the day. What helps you get through these two situations as you go through your week?

Do you, at times, feel like your creative spark is being snuffed out at work? Does that lend a hand in your action and knowledge gap? You’re not alone. Many workers feel completely unmotivated in the workplace which will only widen the gap. An interesting bit of research from Gavin R. Slemp and Lara H. Mossman at the University of Melbourne has cast a critical eye on the type of leadership that creates self-motivated employees.

A controlling leadership style is restraining and suffocating, whereas an autonomy supportive style is empowering, treating the employee like a self-directed agent who can think and act for themselves. Leaders may not entirely conform to one style over the other, but the more autonomy supportive a leader can be, the better the outcomes for their employees.

So what does this mean for you and reaching your own goals? If you’re being stifled at work or find yourself lacking knowledge or action, it’s up to you to make that change. Only you can give yourself that push!

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Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown is an executive coach who is passionate about personal development. He works to make a difference in people's lives by empowering them with skills and knowledge that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. Mark has been coached, mentored, and certified by John Maxwell and his team. This coaching certification allows Mark to successfully coach and train individuals, groups, organizations, and companies.
Mark S. Brown


Executive and Business Coach at New Roads Leadership. A founding partner of the John Maxwell Team. We coach for your personal success!
Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown

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