The Power of a Nudge

For improving well-being and engagement

on improved well-being and engagement

Have you ever experienced days where you seem more agitated than usual? Perhaps unfocused, not connected to your work, or impatient with others and not able to truely listen? 

If yes, then you are not alone.  The question is, if you reflect on those days, are you aware of the state of being from which you are operating, in that moment?  When it happens, do you allow yourself to pause, breathe and reflect on what the underlying thoughts and feelings are, which could be the cause of the situation? And are you able to shift gear back into more balance, focus and connection? That part is, for sure, easier said than done!

In our busy lives running between work, home and social responsibilities, it is easy to miss the signs and ignore that feeling of pressure building inside. A pressure which, if left unattended, develops into greater moments of inner conflict and more frequent friction with others. It can start to drain energy, reduce the lust for life and before you know it, everything feels sluggish and heavy on a daily basis. It should come as no surprise that we ALL experience such situations regularly. Very often we leave our mental, emotional or physical needs unexpressed and left to linger, surpressed under the surface for too long.  The impact manifests in many forms such as performance and engagement at work, or a declining sense of connection and fulfilment in relationships and other areas of life. Well-being starts to decline and early signs of burnout or other physical issues can start to show.

Inner pressure can start to build in any area of life. Regardless where it begins, if not attended to, it starts to impact all other areas too.

Pressure comes from suppressed thoughts, feelings and hesitation to act 

At work, for example, it could be about the hesitation to have that difficult conversation and make yourself heard. It could be about making a request for more time to complete a piece of work, or saying no to increasing demands from others, in an empowered and constructive way. It could be a lingering frustration at not being recognised or feeling sufficiently valued.

Outside of work, there could be other desires which are put lower down the list of priorities, as we funnel all energy into work. Very often the reason why an element, which is so important to our well-being and happiness, is considered of lesser importance, is due to beliefs which we have adopted from our past.  For example,

  • working hard and earning a good living may be considered more important than investing time to nurture a great connection with our loved one;
  • working long hours as opposed to ensuring the day includes time for physical movement or thinking time alone, meditation or being in nature; 
  • needing to be included and recognised at all the best places, putting on an image, instead of being able to let go, relax, be playful and do something which just makes you smile from the inside.  

What does it take to get into action?

Developing an awareness of when we are not in flow is a first step. Noticing the signs -how we are feeling, what we are thinking and how this is impacting situations around us.  These signs become nuggets of gold, which entice curiosity to explore what exactly is underneath. Once we start to question and gain insight on what is behind the pressure, we are more able to make conscious choices, get into action and instil new behaviours as a result – behaviours which support more balance, lightness, increased energy and flow.

However, how do we overcome the obstacles which prevent those healthy and confident decisions for change? Patterns of behaviour and limiting beliefs about our abilities, opportunities and future potential get in the way. . . . "I am not good enough", "I don't have time", "I need to learn a new skill and get qualified first", "if only . . .".  We even resign ourselves to the perceived fact that a situation is not even a possibility for us - end of story!

Just consider for a moment, what if it were possible? What would it take to move in a new direction to create flow again? 

Having the desire, combined with courage is vital. An opportunity to share with a trusted person can prove an invaluable practice. Someone who challenges those fixed thoughts, helps a person see other perspectives, and provides that all important nudge to take the next step. 

What exactly is a Nudge?

A nudge, in the context of a connected coaching conversation, is supporting a person to shift themselves from inertia into a state of openness, self-confidence and action. The nudge does not come from external suggestions or comments such as “why don’t you” or “have you tried”. It comes from the coach posing questions that spark the individual to access their own wisdom and intrinsic motivation which is aligned to them. The role of the coach is predominantly focused on three things:

    in a specific and intentional way, refraining from judgement or providing guidance towards a solution. Hearing what is being said, how it is being said and sensing what is not being said. It means being aware of tone, movements and body language on a deeper level to truly GET where the person is coming from.

    for an open and real conversation which feels safe to share personal issues or weaknesses which could stand in the way of moving forward.

    questions which support the person to come to insights themselves, on the issue, possible options and the right decisions, which resonate best for them at that time.

What impact can a nudge have on well-being?

Even a short conversation helps. It facilitates a moment of reflection and connection to an underlying issue. It is the catalyst to many benefits, which include: 

  • Becoming aware of signs, thoughts and feelings ,which have a direct effect on well-being of self and others impacted by a situation

  • Releasing stress by expressing and letting go of the suppressed thought or desire

  • Raising confidence and motivation as the person envisions their own feasible steps forward

  • Ownership as the person creates and implements the solution themselves

  • Empowered action in a conscious way, coming from a place of knowing how to show up so that the best possible outcome can materialise.

The beautiful thing is, that from one nudge, comes so much more. As one person raises their awareness and well-being, chosing to act differently - it has a positive knock-on effect on others too.

It all starts with a little awareness.

If this resonates with you, I invite you to consider, where in your life or in the workplace, do you sense pressure or lack of movement?  What holds you back? And what would become possible if you just had a nudge?

Helen Steptoe
Founder The Company Coaching Cafe

Feel free to contact us to expore more!