ACTION VS MOTION: HOW TO STOP PRETENDING THAT PROCRASTINATION IS PROGRESS
When tackling a complex problem, it’s natural to want to learn more about the problem you’re trying to solve. This is especially true when it comes to understanding and trying to overcome complex chronic health issues.
But it’s very easy to think that as we’re learning about something, that we’re making progress towards our goals when we’re not. Sitting down and reading isn’t the same as moving forwards.
We can listen to another podcast, sign up for another course, actually watch the course, ask for reading recommendations. All of these actions sound diligent, rational, helpful. And they can be, when they’re in the right relationship to actual forward motion. But none of these steps directly lead to progress.
Planning a road trip isn’t the same as actually driving the car towards your destination.
Speaking with a trainer isn’t the same as doing push ups.
Reading a book about autoimmunity isn’t the same as making changes in your behavior.
Learning about ADHD isn’t the same as following a process to improve your attention.
We need to understand the differences between Action, Motion, and Progress so that we’re clear on what we’re doing at any given time and intentionally choose behaviors that will lead to solving problems and transforming into the person we want to become.
For those of you who are practitioners, there can be an extra pitfall baked in: it can seem like learning how to treat a condition is the same as healing your own. It’s not. It’s another layer removed. The Action vs Motion vs Progress tally is actually progress on a different outcome than the one you’re trying to move towards.
The process for treating others with autoimmune conditions, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, ADHD, mold, Lyme, chronic pain, digestive issues or anything else in your practice is completely different than the process for overcoming it yourself. It doesn’t even have any steps in common. Some information may overlap. The process and motions are different.
When my burn out / post-concussive syndrome / ADHD / PTSD symptoms were at their absolute worse, what was I doing? Attempting a certification in Functional Neurology. Tell me you can see how sad and funny that is.
Do you think trying to learn how the nucleus accumbens interacts with the anterior cingulate gyrus was directly reducing the raging inflammation in my brain? Of course not! 🤣
Learning how to help others overcome an issue can actually be a way to distract or dissociate from healing your own issue. If I were pregnant and incredibly anxious about giving birth, I could decide to become a Certified Birth Doula and tell myself that I’m going to be the most prepared woman for having a child ever. But this could be a complete and total distraction from actually preparing to give birth to my own child.
Your experience of successfully overcoming your health issue will be extremely valuable as you lead others through their own process. But these are actually different journeys and different skills. Thinking that their journey is your journey (”I’m climbing up this mountain anyways, I might as well bring some folks with me!”) may be keeping you stuck for years. And it’s not helping those who need your help, either.
Because you’re actually climbing different mountains. The same is true if you’re focused on helping your child, partner or friend rather than focusing on your own healing.
But all journeys have commonalties, which is why we can use the same process for successfully undertaking lots of different journeys.
If you’ve been dealing with chronic health issues for any period of time and you’ve already seen multiple practitioners, read multiple books, even received certifications, it’s unlikely that what you need is more information. You’re almost certainly better informed than 99% of Industrial Medicine doctors on how to treat the issue.
You need to start making forward progress. Information is useful but does nothing on its own. Having a map and a compass does nothing if you’re not putting one foot in front of the other towards your goal.
Taking forward steps on an individualized, flexible plan based on reality, with a clear progression of stages and milestones is how you heal from complex chronic health issues.