A Place to Think and a Place to Do

I started going to a new gym recently, and the coach I was working with yesterday did something I’ve never seen before (but that I am absolutely going to steal for my own coaching.)

We were working on a technical part of a weightlifting movement, one that I really struggle with. He said: “Okay, when we’re talking and thinking about the lift, I want you to stand over here, off the lifting platform. When it’s time to do it, step back on the platform.” 

This is genius.

There is a time for abstract thinking, for talking, for figuring it out, and there is a time to leave the intellectualization behind, and just do. This coach’s approach is to physically designate spaces for each of these things to happen, and not to conflate the two. 

I was really taken by this idea because many of my clients are comfortable with the talking part of our coaching, but the doing? Not so much. “Oh, you want me to stand up and deliver my presentation? Like, right now?” They would love to stay in the abstract, maybe forever. By designating a place for talking and a place for doing, it’s clear what’s expected. It also helps us shift our mindset when we literally move our bodies.  

Sometimes it’s not feasible to separate the spaces physically, so what do you do? For example, I have many clients I only work with virtually. It doesn’t make sense to have two different Zoom rooms for talking and doing, especially when the client is in the sane desk chair the whole time.

But I can delineate that we’re shifting from “talking” to “doing” in other ways. We can stand up and stretch. We could do a short breathing exercise. We could even have a word or phrase that indicates “now we’re moving from one to the other.”

At the gym yesterday, we moved back and forth between the two spaces. Each had its own purpose, and they complemented each other. I needed them both. We all need them both.

Do you have different physical or mental spaces for thinking and for doing? How do they help you?

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