How to Bridge the Knowing-Doing Gap

It’s one thing to KNOW something but actually DOING something about what we know….well, that’s often a completely different story!

In fact many of us spend a L-O-N-G time hanging around in the ‘Knowing-Doing Gap’ ….straddling the tension between excitement and fear…. keenly aware of a powerful internal force at the same time as doing absolutely NOTHING to make it a reality! (You too?)

I’ve spent large portions of my life pussy-footing my way around things that I KNEW would be best for my life. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this.

So….if we KNOW what we should be doing, and want to be doing, why aren’t we DOING it? Well, that’s a very good question.

It’s a challenge!

It sounds simple but totally isn’t! If it was we’d just get on and DO it for heaven’s sake, so there’s something going on that stops us.

It was a challenge I faced when presented with a decision to make the move out the business I ran with my partner. Do I go for my dream of setting up a business of my own or continue faffing around in that ‘Knowing-Doing Gap’ indefinitely?

It wasn’t a simple decision by any means but I knew deep down I was meant to take the leap into a personally meaningful new career. Luckily, my intuition is nothing if not persistent and after regular and frequent nagging I finally woke up to the fact that it was my responsibility to make this happen – or not.

Knowing to doingAligning insight with action

I read somewhere that the gap between knowing and doing is greater than the gap between knowing and not knowing – and I totally concur!

This is certainly reflected in much of the work I do with my clients – it’s not that they don’t KNOW what to do because more often than not they DO know! It’s that they feel like they’re stranded on the side of a big ravine with ‘knowing’ on one side and ‘doing’ on the other.

In ‘the gap’ between the two lies things like fear, procrastination, perfectionism and overwhelm – all of which are completely normal but challenging enough for them to seek support to help them bridge the gap between the two. (Come to think of it, bridging the gap between knowing and doing is a pretty good way to describe coaching!)

So what’s the thing that you KNOW but have yet to actually DO something about?

Is it that you KNOW…

  • you want to turn your idea into a business?
  • you want to start running groups?
  • you want to take your work online?
  • you want to quit the 9 to 5 and make a living on your own terms?
  • it’s time to turn this thing you call a hobby into something bigger?
  • the time has come to shift things up a gear and double the income from your current business this year?


Well, whatever it is, the question is:

What are going to DO about it?

Was that a sharp intake of breath I heard at the mention of the ‘D’ word? Well fear not if you’re hesitant because there are things you can do right here, right now to help you make a start:

  • Recognise and acknowledge the ‘something’ that’s calling you

    Let’s face it, it’s pretty impossible to get results when you can’t even admit you want them! Instead of repeatedly turning a deaf ear choose to hear it. Don’t keep shrugging it off when it hits you – notice how it makes you feel. Actually acknowledging what you KNOW can initiate a subtle but very powerful shift.

  • Voice it

    Keeping your dreams unexpressed only leads to doubts, resentment and frustration and you begin to loose trust with your self. Voicing your intentions and articulating your ideas is a great way to validate them and start making them real.

  • Take the first step first

    You don’t need to see a clear path to the end to start – you just need to start! I’ve seen it time and time again how the decision to START becomes the catalyst for action, creating possibilities that had zero percent chance of happening before. It immediately shifts your focus from staring at the impossible path in front of you to starting the journey.

  • First, identify your whys

    There’s an essential emotional connection with what you’re trying to achieve, to do with your purpose, your mission and your vision. Getting in touch with the underlying meaning of your work means your motivation comes from a much deeper place. When you know your whys, the hows can’t get in your way.

  • Swap fear for feedback

    Fear is procrastination’s best friend and together they do a pretty effective job of keeping us stuck in the Knowing-Doing Gap! The phrase ‘there is no failure, only feedback’ is one of those gems worth remembering because it means exactly that – every time you make a new mistake you learn what you need to do to move closer to where you want to be. Great things can take a while to get right but if you give up because you’re scared to try, you’ve failed by default.

  • Less waiting, more action!

    ‘Waiting’ isn’t going to make it happen! The ONLY way to get where you want be is by taking action – but you already knew this I’m sure!  Motivation, along with inspiration, possibilities and opportunities only come through taking action – however imperfect the actions may be. Start where you are and do what you can with what you have NOW.

I’ve learned that if something IS calling you, it’s calling you for a reason. It WANTS you to hear because it believes you deserve to have this and that it is totally possible for you to find a way to make it happen.

I won’t pretend it’s easy, because it isn’t. Responding to something deep down in your heart of all places is a scary thing! But I know that living with the consequences of NOT doing anything about what you know is harder.

MUCH harder.

Bridging the gap

Ignoring what you KNOW you need to be doing is actually much more difficult. Because it doesn’t go away, it’s always ‘there’ in the back of your mind, eating away at you, keeping you unfulfilled and frustrated – and of course, making success impossible.

So, will you make the commitment to bridge the gap, to start shaping your professional and personal future in the way you want? Or will you wait and watch another year pass by, stuck in the Knowing-Doing Gap?

Please DON’T do that!

Instead, let’s just talk it through and find a way for you to start moving toward your dream.

Let me leave you with a question….

If I were to ask you to acknowledge and verbalise ONE thing you absolutely KNOW…. ONE thing you’ve been pussy-footing around…. ONE thing you KNOW would be best for you and your business – what would it be?

How about being brave and letting us know in the comments below? Leaving a comment certainly counts as taking action!


How to Bridge the Knowing-Doing Gap — 2 Comments

  1. This is really helpful Karen, thank you.
    I agree with all your steps 100%
    For me also self-knowledge is a key. I know that I need accountability to achieve things so having someone on my side keeping me accountable makes me all the more likely to succeed. In some cases being part of a group works, and in others it’s having the right coach (like you) cheering me on.
    So linked very closely with this is asking for help. I firmly believe it’s almost impossible to do this on your own.

    • It certainly IS a whole lot easier when you enlist some help rather than trying to go it alone – of course, I WOULD say that wouldn’t I?! But I say that as someone who frequently enlists the services of coaches for myself too because I also know I need accountability to keep me motivated and focused!

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