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Four Types Of Action Ep: 016

Episode 16: The Four Types Of Action


Hey Friends, How are you? I’m glad you’re here and welcome to Episode 16 The Four Types Of Action.  

Today before we dive into the topic I wanted to share with you something that I love. I don’t know why I do, but I’ve got to be honest and tell you how much I love hummingbirds. Here in Vancouver Canada we get hummingbirds all year long. I’ve got three different feeders with sugar water hanging up outside my house and my she shed.  These little birds are forever zooming around and drinking from the feeders. This morning I had two on one feeder at the same time. If you don’t know anything about hummingbirds, they’re not at all what I expected. First, there tiny balls of energy, are constantly on the go and they are very territorial. These little guys are feisty, you should see them squabble. In the summertime when they’re in full swarm I’ve watched them dive bombing each other, bumping each other off the feeder, just like hockey players check each other. Anyway, they’re fun and I really enjoy sitting at my computer watching them do their thing. 

In today’s episode I want to tell you about the four types of action. 

When I’m coaching, I explain this to my clients because it helps them understand why they might not be getting what they want. Remember The Model. The circumstance or the data is what the story is about, you have thoughts and opinions about that story, each thought creates an emotion, the emotion drives your action. And the sum of your thoughts, feelings and action create your life. 

We think action is where it’s at, society never taught us, that uninformed frantic action may not help us get what we want. Society wants us to do more, to hustle, to push harder to grind it out….action action action. 

But the style of action, the type of action makes a difference to whether you create the results and the life you want ….or not. 

The four types of action are

Passive action


Forced action

Inspired action


I’m going to explain each of these types of action individually so you can start to identify where you spend the most of your time. 

Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these types of action, and we ALL use all 4 types in our life. It’s our normal pattern, Each type of action has a different flavour and a different effect so it’s up to you to decide whether the action you’re taking serves you and where it doesn’t. 

Remember every action that we take (or don’t)  is a because of the emotion you’re holding. Let’s start with


Passive action 

Passive action feels good. It feels virtuous. We think we’re doing stuff, we think we’re getting stuff done but at closer examination maybe not Passive action looks like learning, doing research, planning, creating a colour coded action plan with milestones, dates and goals. When you’re in passive action …you’re thinking about things, thinking about what you have to do, thinking about what decision to make. 

Now of course passive action is important, we need to learn, research and plan. Where it doesn’t serve you is when you pretend that doing research is doing the thing itself.  You pretend that planning your website is the same as creating your website. You pretend that learning about becoming a coach is the same as actually coaching people. 

It can feel safe, because maybe…you just need to know a little bit more before you make that decision. Passive action is when you think you want to run a marathon, but you’re sitting on the couch deciding what training plan you might try and looking at amazing marathon venues….do you see what I mean? Until you get your running gear on and step out the door and start to train…you’ve not actually doing anything…you’re just thinking about it. That’s passive action.



Inaction is kind of like of passive action except it feels terrible. Inaction is the place where we’re NOT doing. Maybe you’re overwhelmed or confused or just plain stuck. But you’re not doing anything. Procrastination lives here. 

And yes, just like passive action inaction is normal, completely normal. We all get jammed up from time to time. Or it can be like the pause before you leap. 

The key here is balance, and only you will know when you’ve been in inaction for too long. When you’re sabotaging what you say you want.

 When you realize you’ve been in inaction for too long, the best way forward is to coach yourself. Do a thought download, write down all your thoughts about the thing you’re avoiding and get some clarity. Get a little bit curious what are you trying to avoid? Yeah, you’re a bit nervous but so what? We all get nervous sometimes, and the longer you wait giving more power to that nervousness the more challenging it can be to get on track.  

Choose one small thing, I’m talking really little. And get started on that one little thing, then onto the next thing and the next and pretty soon you’ll be off to the races. 

Once you get moving you’ll gather some momentum and it will be easier. 


Forced action 

Forced action is like hustle, hard driving working until you’re exhausted and then some more. Forced action is putting your nose to the grindstone and incessantly doing instead of pausing to think if you’re doing the right thing, the most helpful thing.  

Forced action feels like your foot on the gas and now it’s stuck and you don’t know how to slow down, turn the steering wheel to correct your direction or even stop to reassess. 

Many of us are used to forced action. The only problem is we may be like the Tasmanian devil all action, no rest and you don’t even know if you’re heading in the right direction. 

Lots of us bounce back and forth between hard driving forced action, inaction and passive action. We finally get so frustrated with inaction that we say “that’s it!” I’ve got to do something, it doesn’t matter what but I’ve get something done. 

Forced action can be exhausting and when you pair it with inaction and passive action you get movement that takes a lot of effort and is exhausting.


Inspired action 

Simply put, inspired action is the action that you take that comes from a feeling of inspiration.  The things that you do when you say “you know what I should do and you’re filled with the possibility of what you can accomplish” or “that would be so much fun to create that. What a great idea.” 

This inspired action, often has the feeling of flow too. As you’re taking action, you lose track of time, you enjoy yourself. And inspired action creates the results you want. 

If you’re a new coach, you want clients right? Inspired action will be the action that brings you those new clients even faster and you’ll have more fun doing it to! 

At first inspired action might feel out of reach. Like something that happens to you, like a lightening bolt. But I know you’re experienced it before, we all have. What you don’t know is that you can kindle the flame of inspired action on purpose you don’t have to wait until it lands on you. And here’s how…. 

Remember your thoughts are optional. And your thoughts create your results.  Inspired action is the creative action you take when you are thinking thoughts that create feelings like these. The emotions of …. 






Each of us has thoughts that can create these emotions. Begin by taking a soothing breathe. Try out some of these thoughts and see how you feel. 

It’s possible for me to….(reach this goal)

You know what would be so much fun….(now you fill in the blank)

I love …. (my clients, my life)

I am so lucky that I get to…. (coach, go for a walk today)

I’ve got this.

I can do this.

Just watch me.

Let’s go.

I can help her

It’s up to me. 

Now when you find a couple of thoughts that help you feel inspired, filled with possibility or empowered. You’re going to notice that suddenly you find yourself thinking “you know what I should do” or “that would be neat, I want to do that”. 

That’s a hint, that’s an inspired action that you could take if you choose. 

Feel free to borrow some of my thoughts and be sure to find your own too. 

A second way to use inspired action is to prime your pump. 

What do I mean “prime your pump”. Think of an old style water pump.  You have to lift and push the handle for a bit before anything happens. The first few times you life and push it’s hard and then a dribble of water starts to come out, before you know it it’s pouring out and you don’t have to do hardly anything.  So here’s what I mean in the context of inspired action. Today, I knew I wanted to outline the script for this podcast episode. So I primed my emotions by thinking thoughts that create the feeling of inspired….then I got to work. It flows so much more easily, everything is easier. Both the work itself and the ideas about what to say and how to say it…..And here I am having fun and recording it for you. 

Ok, now do you have an idea about where you’ve been spending most of your time lately. Have you been in passive action, inaction, Forced action? Or inspired action? 

It all starts with awareness. If you want to spend more time in inspired action, then practice thinking those thoughts, holding those feelings and taking action from them. This is a skill you build over time, practice a little everyday it will get easier and you’ll be amazed what your new awareness shows you. 

So that’s it for today friends. And next week we’re going to talk about….consistency. It takes grit courage and confidence to have consistency. I’m looking forward to it. Hope you are too. 

Before you leave! I want to tell you about a gift I offer to all my listeners. It’s my free resource library, an online vault filled with content I created to help you grow and become a coach.  I call it The Coaches Online Business Academy and here’s how it works. 

When you sign up for your free account, you get immediate access to all of my free resources and yeah there’s a lot of them, and it keeps growing every month! You can dive into my ‘narrow down your niche’ quiz. Then jump into the 5-day video training to kickstart your coaching business. There are a whole bunch of PDF guides and checklists. Including 147 proven coaching niches, a checklist for what you need to know as a brand-new coach and ideas for where to find paying clients ….plus more.  

Like I said, each month I add more free resources and you’ll get notified as soon as I load them.  It really makes me happy to share this with you. It’s one of the ways I support my community and support the growth of coaching. 

All you have to do, is go to the episode description or the show notes and click on the link to sign up today. And that’s it. I’ll talk to you next week. 

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Correction: This episode refers to "The Model." I'd like to rectify any errors or omissions by giving proper attribution and credit to the originators, Dr. Albert Ellis, who formulated REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy), and Dr. Aaron Beck, who incorporated it into CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). "The Model" and references to CTFAR should be more accurately referred to as "The CBT Model." CBT is a widely recognized and effective approach that helps individuals understand how their thought processes impact their daily lives.

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