From A-Ha! to Action

When I first started on a road to self-discovery back in my 20s, self-care, therapy and wellness were widely seen as self-indulgent and a waste of time and money.

Luckily, most of us now agree that cultivating and maintaining your healthy mind and body is an essential part of leading a productive and successful life. 

The breakthrough moment is often called the ‘A-Ha!’ because you might literally say out loud ‘A-ha!’ meaning: I get it, I understand! You now KNOW at a deep level the cause for difficulty or block to transformation you have. Oprah Winfrey uses the phrase a lot and it’s become associated with her, but the phrase goes back more than 100 years, to the Gestalt psychologists’ first experiments. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘aha moment’ as a moment of sudden realisation, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.”

“I had one of those light bulb A-ha moments while screening Good Will Hunting in Camp David in 1998. Madeleine Albright and the Clintons were there and I just became really inspired by all of these amazing people. I left the screening asking myself what I could do.”
Lawrence Bender, Hollywood movie producer

But you can’t just accelerate your process to somehow ‘fast forward’ to your A-ha moment. 

Therapists of all kinds work with clients to provide the space for these same breakthroughs. Sometimes you might get the insight when you’re reading a self-help book or spontaneously when you’re doing something meditative. But that can take years of soul-searching.

And what happens when you’ve had the A-Ha!, when you’ve had the breakthrough? I can help you work out the specific experiments or action steps you need to take, to build on your A-ha moment.

Here are are my three top tips to help you on your way, if you’ve recently had an A-ha moment and you’re wondering what to do next. 

1. Write it down

Writing down your breakthrough moment not only anchors it in the real world, it might also unlock even more insights as you begin to unravel the underlying feelings. It’s like pulling on a thread: more interesting things will be uncovered as you start this journey of self-discovery.

2. Return to source

Add to your list some ideas of specific things you can do to explore a new goal. Is there one tiny action you can take, right now? 

I had an A-ha moment recently: a realisation as to why I no longer painted or did any kind of drawing at all. I remembered that many years ago someone had bought one of my paintings and my immediate reaction was to feel over-exposed and downright weird, instead of pleased. I had only thought of painting as a hobby, something I did for fun. When someone gave me money for the painting, I felt shame and embarrassment – and these feelings overtook me to the point that I literally gave up. 

Maybe it was because I felt undue pressure to perform afterwards. Or I felt like a fraud. But the ‘why’ didn’t really matter; the outcome was the same. Somehow so many conflicted feelings had been triggered, that I’d stopped painting, for years. 

When I did uncover the reasons behind this, I learnt that in order to even attempt to paint again, I couldn’t overwhelm myself. My inner child felt all these conflicted feelings about being seen, being valued and being a creator, maker or artist. I needed to take very small steps to recovery. 

3. Take a small step

Instead of booking onto an expensive art course that I would probably not finish, all I needed to do, right now, was to buy a small sketch book and do some little pencil drawings. Nothing fancy. No big event or art show. No timescales or deadlines to produce anything. I just needed to make a few lines. 

What small action can you take today? If you’d like some help to work it out, get in touch.