191. Are you idling on your goals or moving them forward (passive action vs massive action)

When we think about the motivation we have to take action, we can sometimes take action that is more passive. The type of action that feels productive but doesn’t quite move us in a forward direction. This concept from Brooke Castillo contrasts passive action and massive action. 

In this episode, I discuss topics such as:

  • How simplifying the home leads to an aim for intentional living
  • living intentionally and overcoming complacency
  • self-motivation and limiting beliefs
  • the concept of passive action vs massive action
  • the discomfort of taking action

The upcoming workshop on motivation can be found right here at the Life on Purpose Academy 

Related episodes you might like

Sign up for the the Simple Saturdays email (a fun email, twice a month)


Full Transcript (unedited)

Hey friends, it’s Shawna, your nerdy Brooklyn counselor from simple americans.ca. Welcome to the simple on purpose podcast. If you’re new here, welcome. I’m Shawna, I’m a mom of three. And the whole aim of this podcast is to just be a time for us to take a minute, slow down. Take a breath. I know sometimes I just hear that word breath. And it reminds me to take a breath. And my aim is to help you to stop and take stock of what feels like too much. What maybe it feels like not enough. Where are we on autopilot? What is distracting us? And most importantly, what do we want? What do you want? And I aim to help you move forward with all of these questions, I aim to help you simplify and it might start with decluttering, your home, a drawer or a closet. And we’re quickly going to see as I did that, decluttering it helps us to declutter ourselves, if decluttering our space helps us to declutter ourselves. And as we do that, we’re also inspired to declutter our lives. And so I often say, I’m here to help you simplify your home, your heart and your life. But all of that clearing that space so that we can fill it with something different so that we can fill our homes, ourselves, our hearts, our lives, our days, with what matters to us. And that’s the life on purpose part. So I’m just want to acknowledge that this recording is different. I’m in a hotel right now. And right before I was leaving, yesterday morning, I was searching that was everywhere for this special little adapter that I needed. So I could plug in my microphone, my usual microphone to the computer that I was bringing the laptop. I couldn’t find it anywhere. It’s such a mystery to me where it has gone. So when I do finally find is going to be somewhere probably ridiculous. Like a kid’s duffel bag in the basement or an old like, bin of wrapping paper or something i I’m just it’s a mystery of where I could put it anyways, I’m in a hotel right now I’m at a conference, I’m at a counseling conference, and learning some great things, meeting some great people. Anyways, here we are on a Friday night together in a hotel.

And I am also going to say it’s been a long day for me my brain. It’s Monday, it’s been a long day, and seven o’clock. And I thought yeah, maybe I can just push this episode back a week. But I needed to tell you about the motivation workshop I’m holding on Friday. And I needed to get this done so that it could be edited this weekend. So I need to get it done tonight. So I had to motivate myself. I had to use all my own tools to get this done. Do all of my motivation tricks. Here we we talk a lot about being on autopilot, and about moving into living intentionally living on purpose. And I think sometimes about who I was pre life on purpose, pretty simple on purpose. And just how complacent I was how reactive I was. I was living in a house that had a lot of stuffs. And I didn’t really question it, I just kept accumulating it. And when I felt like it had lived its season, it went to the basement or stuffed into an already stuffed closet. Like it didn’t even occur to me to be clutter for the most part. But I also noticed this complacency, this autopilot in my relationships. My parenting, it was really reactive and fear based. My marriage probably the same because I was reactive and fear based. And I just was living with a lot of like the weight over me of all the things I should be doing in my life. I think I was at that stage where I was aware that there was things I should be doing, but I wasn’t doing them. A lot of like, I should be fit, I should play with my kids more I should bake from scratch. I should organize my whole house, I should be a better friend, I should have a better marriage. Like I knew all of the things I should be doing. Why am I not doing them? How do I do them? That was my question. How do I do the things I know I shouldn’t be doing but I’m not doing? And my answer was well find out how other people are doing this because I see them out there. They’re running. They’re getting up early. They’re drinking smoothies and protein shakes, they figured it out. So I don’t most of us do and we know we want to make a change. I flip on Pinterest or YouTube. For me it was Pinterest especially, and motivation. That was the search term I would put into Pinterest many times over the years, especially when I was at the beginning stages of living life on purpose, so to speak, because I had this contrast of all of the things I shouldn’t be doing could be doing. And me my lack of motivation. How unmotivated I was. I was really on Pinterest a lot and we had this cultural messaging It was this like era where you’re getting up and doing things like morning pages like I, that’s when you get up and you just start writing. And it’s supposed to be, I don’t know, really relieving or something I don’t really actually know, people are getting up early to exercise. I tried doing that, too, turns out, two of my least favorite things to do get up early and exercise. So stacking them together was just like a double hurdle for me, in showcasing how little motivation I had. This was an era where decluttering was just starting to become a big thing. This was a self help season of kale juice and bullet journals and positive affirmations. And so we really had this cultural messaging at least on Pinterest, that we should have this great big checklist of everything we should be doing. Get up early morning pages, devotion, green smoothie exercise, put your laundry through all before your kids even got up, right. And I think all of those things have value for short. But in my mind, I needed to be all of these things. And every day that I woke up without meeting this checklist, it just confirmed how unmotivated I was. I constantly called myself lazy and viewed myself as undisciplined. Eventually, I would have some perspective on this and stop calling myself lazy, I would understand that I was actually just quite overwhelmed. I wrote a post on that a few years back. And a lot of people at that time reached out to me to thank me for it because I think it was probably a post that we needed in response to the Pinterest productivity culture of the day. So I was operating a lot with these limiting beliefs I had about myself being lazy and undisciplined. And so again, turn back to Pinterest, find the hacks for willpower, find the hacks for discipline, because if I had more willpower, I would fill in the blank. Usually it was get up earlier, for some reason for most of my life, I thought that was the gold standard on like, quote unquote, humans who have their life together. If I was more motivated, I would fill in the blank. I asked this question on Instagram the other day. And if you’re following me on Instagram, thank you, I love sharing that space with you. But man, Instagram can be frustrating, because I’ll post something. And sometimes like, three people comment, and sometimes like 30 people comment, I just don’t know, it’s so tough to know if that’s a place I should stay. Because it’s so sporadic for me anyways, there were a few comments, I had to sleep back, if I was more motivated, I would get up earlier, clean my baseboards get outside, you notice the theme here though, these are all very active things. No one said, pin more pins about motivation. Listen to another TED Talk, talk to my friends about the things I want to do that I’m not doing. And so I want to talk about that difference between the types of action that we can take. And this is concept I heard years back from Brooke Castillo, and I still find myself taking stock of it in my own life. And this is a concept of massive action and passive action, the two types of action that we can be taking. So passive action is when we are doing things that feel productive, but they aren’t actually moving the needle so to speak, they aren’t actually producing results, so to speak. For me in my life, passive action would look like reading books on decluttering. And don’t get me wrong. This was valuable, helpful and necessary for me to get motivated. But eventually, I had to put down the book and open a drawer and start decluttering. It looks like pinning all the ideas I had for organization and Pinterest me the Pinterest version of me. If you look at my pin board, oops, she’s living life. She’s productive. She’s the best parent, she’s got all the fitness routines, or home is organized with the beautiful containers and the labels as Pinterest me, it’s not really. But that was action that I was taking to make all those pins to put those boards together. That was passive action. And Pinterest is great. It’s got all of the ideas. But it is the ID all like I can’t actually do all of those things and do all of those things. I need to decide what works in my actual life. Turns out I hate the canting things into smaller containers. But I was pinning all of these ideas. Eventually I’m going to have to decide how I want to organize my house how it’s going to work. For me. Researching exercise was something that I did a lot of because I had zero motivation to work out. But it was one of those things that we put on our list of something we should do. This became I’ve shared in the past something that I felt even heightened pressure to do because my mom had dementia and people are saying oh the risks of dementia can be lowered with exercise. So in order to motivate myself to exercise more, I needed research I needed data I needed science I needed to see On paper, that it would be necessary, almost like physically and medically necessary for me to exercise. So I spent a lot of hours on researching when I could have eventually said, I’ve read enough. Now I need to go for a walk. In my home passive action has looked like talking about all the ideas for my home, but not actually even learning at start or making a budget for it to save up for it. In my earliest days of online work, it was a lot again, research and ideas and dreams, I would fill out content plans, I would make calendars, but I wasn’t showing up to do the work that would really move me forward, I was just kind of maintaining things. And that’s passive action. It’s easy, it’s comfortable, it’s kind of status quo. It’s the color coded calendar that you never follow. It’s the meal planning notepad that you bought, but you never use it style workout subscription or the gym membership that you pay for, but you don’t actually use it. It has very little risk. And just enough movement to make you feel like you’re doing something. But not enough movement to actually produce the results that you want. And I’m not here to knock your something, if you’ve done something, something is not nothing, something is something. But I am just here to remind you that when we want to live intentionally, we do need to get uncomfortable, we do need to start taking massive action towards the things we want. We need to get uncomfortable. And I’m I’ve talked about this in the past about how we have to choose our discomfort, if we’re uncomfortable where we are, but we’re going to be uncomfortable doing the work, we got to choose our discomfort, I won’t, I’m going to link those episodes in the show notes. Taking action that moves us forward will be uncomfortable, but it is a discover that has a purpose. And only you can decide that purpose only you can decide how you want to be living, how you want your home to function, what feels like wellness to you. Only you can decide what matters in your life, the goals you might have, the vision you might have for how things can be, I’m going to share a few ways that I find myself taking massive action this weekend. I do a lot of passive action. Still. I love a good calendar color coding session. I love a good Pinterest session, I still read the books, I still listen to the podcasts, I am taking all of that in. But you gotta pair it with actually moving forward with actually moving your body to get the results you want. So some things that I’m doing this week, getting this podcast with you here I am recording it. I’m proud of me. I’m dropping a bag full of stuff off at the thrift store this weekend. I’ve got it in the truck with me here, the city I’m in. This is something that I will just start to compile stuff for the thrift store and let it sit in the basement until my husband is like, I’m putting this in the truck and you need to not come home with it. And then I have to get rid of it. When I get home, we’re going to finally put flooring in our bedroom, we’ve had the flooring in the basement, we’ve had to rip out our carpet years ago in our bedroom. So that is something that’s finally happening. And on Friday, here what we’re what I really want to talk to you about, I’m holding a workshop for anyone who is interested on the topic of getting yourself motivated. I want to a normalize your lack of motivation, your normal turns out and to teach you about willpower, oh and three give you a toolbox on how to get motivated when your motivation is low when it’s moderate. And when it’s high. I want you to walk away with practical tools that you can always turn to. And we will do a live q&a and coaching session with this workshop. So this is a great deal. If you’ve been curious about coaching if you want help getting unstuck. If you have specific questions, plus you get this workshop on motivation, it’s going to be fun and informative. My two favorite things. If this is of interest to you, it is on this Friday the 27th I changed the time of my workshops a little bit this one is at 12:30pm PST, Pacific Standard Time. So if you’re on the East Coast, you’re looking at around 9:30am There will be a replay available if you can’t make it live. So if you’re interested at all, stop by the link in the show notes and check it out. And if you can’t find the show notes in your podcast player, go to simple on purpose.ca Click listen. And you will find all of the episodes there with all of their show notes and all of the transcripts and of course the you know the two places to find me in the Facebook group if you’re part of the Facebook group, and on Instagram you can always meet at some blunderbuss.ca Alright friends have a great week.


Leave a comment