Unintended Consequences and Their Relationship to Taking Action

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You never know what you might find… (image courtesy of pixabay)

Expect the Unexpected…

I’m writing up some notes for a meeting later this month on creating social impact. One of the things we’ll be encouraging participants to do is to not wait until they think they know everything before they start.

Everything we do has unintended consequences and, yet, sometimes we forget this, or we want to plan everything out before we start. Or we become depressed or crestfallen when things don’t work out the way we expected.

It’s impossible for us to know what’s around the corner and it’s impossible for us to know how our creations will be used and which pieces of them will work as we expected and which pieces don’t.

Like software, if we put something into the world without waiting for perfection, we’re more likely to get feedback.

And Act With Humility…

I’m not saying go ahead and be an idiot just because you can do things that might have an explosive or otherwise detrimental reaction.

I am saying be aware that you’ll reach a point where you think you’ve got things covered, a point of proportionate preparation. That’s the moment to go ahead with whatever you’re planning, t not hold back, but do it with an openness and curiosity about what really might happen, and a humility about the fact that there is always something that might jump up and surprise you.

If we hold ourselves and our opinions about our creations more lightly and less personally, then we’re more likely to be curious and not take an unintended consequence as a mark of failure, simple as an observation, a reason to say.

Oh well, that didn’t work out the way I expected! What can we do about it?

Maybe then we’d be more likely to put things into the world, rather than holding them in our hearts and minds?

With love,



About the author

Cathy Presland is a leadership expert and an advanced transformative coach. She has more than two decades of experience in government and international organisations and her focus as a coach is to support individuals and organisations to make more impact with their work — however they define that. Read more and download free courses here.

What if making an impact was part of your everyday? Stories to light up your soul. Read more and free courses: https://cathypresland.com/find-out-more

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