Why Can’t I Get Started? Why Is Taking Action So Hard?


Online groups can be seriously enlightening. In one private online group I’m part of, members routinely share posts describing their roadblocks and/or inability to get started on projects or initiatives.

These people who post don’t understand why they can’t get started on a desired initiative so they frequently give up on the system they bought into and blame the system for not working.

It isn’t the system that doesn’t work, it is the user of the system that is lacking Activatorⓒ, a specific CliftonStrength™ that approximately 11% of people possess in their top potential strengths.

Activatorⓒ is a built in “GO BUTTON” for those who possess it. Activatorⓒ gives it’s owner the ability to quickly process decisions and to get moving while most people are unable to take action or to move as quickly.

No one potential CliftonStrength™ operates entirely by itself. It is important to know what other potential strengths one has and then to develop one’s strengths into polished, focused, powerful assets.  

Developing one’s strengths can be done individually but remember that only 11% of people possess the required Activatorⓒ “GO BUTTON” required to take action. Odds of developing one’s strengths are much greater when engaging the guidance of a coach who possesses a successful track record of helping others to develop their strengths.

Jeff Snyder Coaching, Performance Coaching, 719.686.8810

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Why It’s So Hard to Take Action 

Man Running.jpg

Taking Action

Fitness advocates, healthcare professionals, your boss, perhaps even your spouse, challenge you to take action. Does this sound familiar?

Exercise more. Eat Less. Lower your stress. Get started on this project. Paint this room. Perhaps you know you need to do these things but you just can’t get going?

Sometimes, taking action or not taking action equates to inconvenience. Other times, taking action or not taking action can equate to life or death.

Do you personally find it difficult to take action? Care to know why? Keep reading.

Steve’s Challenge

 Recently, I ran into a guy named Steve who described his challenge with taking action like this.

“I know the, I think I can, I think I can approach to taking action,

will never work without a goal and a plan.”

This quote comes from a deeply talented relationship building, communicator. He has so much potential to become more than he is today but he has trouble getting started. His inability to get started is keeping him in his current comfort zone.

Alternatively, taking action to step outside his comfort zone would propel Steve to a level of personal and professional growth he’s never experienced before.

Steve was mostly right in his quote. A goal and a plan to execute by themselves are useless until they are attached to taking action. Apply action to a goal and plan and you have forward momentum.


The CliftonStrenghs™ Assessment measures action taking in a trait called Activator®. When the numbers were crunched numbers based on 15,000,000 assessments taken worldwide, .098% of people who took the CliftonStrengths™  Assessment possessed Activator® in their Top 5 potential Strengths.

Stated another way, out of 34 total traits, Activator® comes in at number 29 in overall frequency. That’s frequency of Activator® showing up in a person’s Top 5 potential Strengths.

There are 28 traits that show up more frequently in a person’s Top 5 potential Strengths before Activator® shows up for most people.

Go Button

People who are gifted with the Activator® trait have a built-in “Go Button”. These people who possess the courage, confidence and “Go Button” required to propel an effort or project into motion.

People who are not high in Activator® generally have trouble getting things started.


If you are low in Activator®, find someone who is high in Activator® to partner with to help you get going.

If you possess high Activator®, it is your job to discover, to develop, to mature and to polish your Activator® into a full-blown Strength.

When you take this decisive action to develop your Activator®, you’ll turn it into a game-changing Strength that very few people around you possess. Your Activator® will become a life and career differentiator that sets you apart.

Jeff Snyder Coaching, Career Coaching Blog, 719.686.8810

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Today, I’m Writing to You from The Future

Futuristic Coaching

Looking Back At 2017

Seriously, I’m in the future and I’m looking back at 2017. My top Strength is called Futuristic®.  Futuristic® translates to Visionary. I’ve always seen down the road further than most people. This skill serves my coaching clients well when I'm working with them on developing a career road map that will impact their career future.

Look at a few "C" level job descriptions. Leadership job descriptions routinely ask for Visionary, Strategic, Leadership. 

To make this delivery even more powerful, I slip in my number 2 Strength, Strategic®. When I add this strength to my Futuristic®, I’m able to not only see down the road, I’m also able to build strategic paths to get from here to there.

Futuristic® IN Dallas, Texas

Four years ago, I spoke at a technology event in Dallas, Texas.  Following my talk, a "C" suite executive came from the back of the room to speak with me. He recognized my Futuristic® message and said: "I need that". When I asked what it was that he needed, he replied, "I need all of that and whatever you might have in your back pocket."

I've been privileged to work with this "C" suite executive in a coaching capacity ever since. This is where he is today after working with me to understand his Strengths, to improve his Self-Awareness and to improve his Emotional Intelligence.

• I now pick up on other’s behaviors that I
didn’t notice before because I was too busy
focusing on myself.
• You learn to break through other’s acts. It’s
like you learn the code to decode other’s
sincerity or lack thereof.
• I’ve become much more efficient and
effective in my relationships.
• Knowing your Emotional Intelligence causes
you to make a lot of adjustments to yourself.
• Developing EQ has pushed me to learn how
to be a Strategic leader and I no longer feel
the need to convince others that I know
— "C" Suite Executive

Just to be fair, it turns out that the person who made his way from the back of the room is also Futuristic® and Strategic® as I am. We've worked hard to achieve what you just read above.  This is not how the "C" Suite leader was thinking when we first met.

Futuristic® in Denver, Colorado

Just over three years ago, I stood in front of a group of smart cyber security professionals as their invited speaker. I talked to this group about the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EI) or sometimes called, Emotional Quotient, (EQ) and how working with a skilled Emotional Intelligence Coach to develop higher EQ would become a career differentiating decision.

Futuristic® in Las Vegas, Nevada

Three years ago, this month, I stood in front of a group of “C” Suite executives in Las Vegas as a speaker. I talked to this group about moving past sole reliance on their high IQs to develop high EQ as well. Did anybody hear me?  Yes, a few people did.

Articles I’ve read recently predicting the future in 2020 and 2025 suggest that Emotional Intelligence is a hot skill to possess in the future.

Experience the Future Now!

The 2020 and 2025 articles aren’t wrong. I became trained and certified to coach Emotional Intelligence skills in 2014 because I saw EQ becoming a must-have set of skills not for 2020 or 2025 but for now.  Right now, in 2017.

Don’t Procrastinate

Yesterday, I received a message from someone I originally spoke with in August of 2015.  I distinctly remember the 2015 conversation. I recall that the person on the other end of my phone resonated with what I was sharing at the time but he didn’t take immediate action. Our conversation centered around Self-Awareness, Strengths, and Emotional Intelligence topics.

Yesterday’s message to me from this person read like this:

“Jeff, I’m ready for some professional coaching if you are still providing consultation. My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. I’ve learned a lot the past 2-3 years, the hard way. I should have called you sooner.”

Do It Now!

The issues referenced in this email include this person’s Strengths, Self-Awareness and his need to develop more polished Emotional Intelligence.  I can help this person today. I could also have helped this person two years ago and he likely would have been able to skip some of the lessons he has learned the hard way”.

Looking Back From the Future

As I look back at 2017 from the future, I’m 100% certain that those high IQ professionals I’m privileged to serve today, where we’re working to develop stronger Self-Awareness and stronger Emotional Intelligence, will already be ready for action when 2020 and 2025 arrive.

The truth is that those who engage in this type of coaching today will be well-ahead of the curve when 2020 and 2025 arrive.

Don’t wait for tomorrow to do what you could do today. That’s my Activator® (Let’s Go) speaking!

Jeff Snyder’s, Jeff Snyder Coaching Blog, 719.686.8810

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Taking Action…Why It’s So Hard for Some People to Do


Taking Action…Why It’s So Hard for Some People to Do

  • He says, “I’m stuck in my career.”  The career coach, who is built with Visionary and Strategic abilities, knows precisely how to get his prospective client un-stuck.  Sadly, the prospective client doesn’t take action.
  • He needs to lose weight. His life literally depends on it.  Why is it so difficult to leave one’s comfort zone of over-eating and not exercising to do better? He has such a hard time acting to do what he knows he needs to do. He’s been reprimanded and held back in his career because he comes across too harshly to his peers and subordinates. He knows he has a problem, but rather than taking action to identify and address the problem with someone who specializes in solving such problems, he continues repeating the same behavior.  Why is it so difficult for this person to leave their comfort zone that includes bad behavior to pursue behavior that others will appreciate?
  • She wants to get in better shape.  She doesn’t like to exercise alone and she knows that if she tries, her get-up-and-go and motivation won’t last long.  Rather than finding a way to connect with someone to exercise with her to create accountability, she keeps putting the idea on the backburner and fails to act.


The Clifton StrengthsFinder™ measures 34 traits that each one of us possesses.  The StrengthsFinder trait that leads to taking action is called Activator®. A person who is gifted with this trait “can make things happen by turning thoughts into action.” This is the person you want to call on when you need to get a project out of paralysis of analysis mode and get it moving forward.

If you have trouble getting things started in your professional life or in your work life, chances are that your Activator® trait as measured by the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ may not be high.

Take Action

Why not find out where your Activator® sits amongst your 34 traits?  Once you know, you’ll develop clarity around why getting started might be difficult for you.  A strengths coach can help you to build a strategy to compensate for your lack of Activator® if that’s who you are.

Out of 34 traits that make up the Clifton StrengthsFinder™, Activator comes in at number 29 out of 34 in terms of frequency of landing in a person’s Top 5 traits. 

What this means is that only 11% of people who have taken a StrengthsFinder™ find Activator® showing up in their top traits. If you possess this trait high in your traits list, you have something special.

If you’re not an Activator® but you need to get an effort moving forward, find someone who has high Activator® and/or consider hiring a personal coach who is gifted with Activator® to help you get moving in a positive direction.

Jeff Snyder’s, Jeff Snyder Coaching Blog, Strengths Coaching, 719.686.8810

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Do You Possess a High ACTIVATORⓒ Score on the Clifton StrengthsFinder™?


Activatorⓒ is one of my top scores on the Clifton StrengthsFinder™. The more I coach people who have this strength and the more I learn about this strength, the more I understand just how unique it is.

Putting my opinion aside, here are the facts.  Out of the 34 traits measured by the Clifton StrengthsFinder™, ACTIVATORⓒ comes in at number 29 in frequency out of 34.  What that means is that 11% of people out of more than 15,000,000 who have taken the assessment have ACTIVATORⓒ in their top 5 strengths out of 34 possibilities.  In other words, having Activatorⓒ in one’s top 5 strengths is somewhat rare.

The more I understand about how ACTIVATORⓒ works, the more I like it. 

  • People who have this particular strength are always thinking about how to get started and how to mobilize others. 
  • They turn ideas into action and they often possess contagious energy. 
  • They make things happen!

If you are deeply gifted with Analytical traits as defined by the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ and you have a difficult time hitting the “GO” button, you might need to partner with an ACTIVATORⓒ in order to get your brilliant ideas into motion.

If you have this trait yourself, you should be in a position where you have the ability to get things going.  Remember that most people don't have the "GO" button to push that you possess.


Jeff Snyder’s, Jeff Snyder Coaching Blog, 719.686.8810

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Do You Have the Achiever or Activator Strength High on Your List of Strengths?


The Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment has been taken more than 13,000,000 times around the world.  That’s a lot of data from which to learn about people.

I don’t have recent numbers handy but when the StrengthsFinder had been taken 8.5 million times, Achiever sat at the top of the list in terms of frequency in which it sits on the list of people’s top 5 strengths.

Activator on the other hand sat at number 29 in terms of frequency in which it sits on the list of people’s top 5 strengths.



Activators are people who possess the ability to get things started.  They are gifted at turning thoughts into actions and they can push paralysis of analysis situations into motion.



Achiever describes people who work hard, possess significant stamina and people who like to push efforts to the finish line.

If you’re building a team, it would be a great idea to have an Activator on the team to put efforts into motion.  You’ll also need an Achiever on your team to bring efforts to the finish line. Sometimes activators like to get started but they get bored before they reach the finish line.

Jeff Snyder Coaching

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Do You Ever Have Trouble Pushing the “GO” Button?


If you have trouble getting going or if you’re part of a group that has trouble turning ideas into action, there’s a reason.  It is very likely that you and/or your group is lacking someone who is gifted with the Activator strength. 

From the Clifton StrengthsFinder there is a strengths theme called Activator. People who are strong in this theme are generally impatient for action. They are people who get things started.  They are quick to turn thoughts and ideas into action. 

If you are stuck, you might need to partner with an Activator.  If your group is stuck, you might need to add an Activator to your group to turn the group’s thoughts into actions.

Out of the 34 strength themes that make up the Clifton StrengthsFinder, 11% of the population has Activator in their top 5 Themes.

You can find out how you’re wired and you can learn how to turn your unique set of strengths into leverage that comes out in your personal power!

Jeff Snyder Coaching

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