Greatness begins with awareness.

Do nothing, when nothing works

Kathy Kolbe wrote that line, “Do Nothing, When Nothing Works” several years ago as part of “5 Rules For Trusting Your Guts” in her book, Powered by Instinct.  I have to admit I did not really understand this rule until today when it hit me like a thunderbolt.

I am at that age when sleeping and menopausal sweats are an issue.  I am not someone to hang back and wait for things to pass.  I research, experiment and try traditional and non-traditional approaches to what ails me, almost in turbo time. I have been in such action these last few weeks, experimenting to stop the night sweats, so I can get a good night’s sleep and wake refreshed for the day.  Most mornings I wake wondering what new thing I can add or change to my daily regimen of supplements, or what doctor or practitioner might help me.

I had not slept well, so I decided to take my dog to Lake Michigan for a brisk early walk on the lakefront for my morning exercise, thinking it would clear my mind and body.  When it was time to head home, I saw that I had lost my favorite glasses and panicked.  I tried to calmly retrace my steps, telling myself I would find them and all would be fine.  Then it dawned on me, they had probably fallen out of my fanny pack when I bent over to pick up the dog poop and hustled over to that spot on the road by the lake. There were my relatively new and very expensive glasses, in the middle of the road, smashed by a car.  Plus I saw my phone in the bushes off to the side of the road.  I hadn’t even realized my phone was missing.

I looked up to the cloudy sky and said, “Okay, what are you trying to tell me?”  No immediate response.  Fine, I will wait, one will come.

About ten minutes later I heard it, “Do nothing.”  And that is when Kathy’s line came to mind, “Do Nothing, When Nothing Works.” That was exactly what I needed to do, nothing!  Stop trying to fix my physical challenges.  Give my body a chance to chill and just be.  I felt a wonderful relief from figuring out that there would be no more next steps for the moment. And to be completely honest, doing nothing is way out of my comfort zone.  So I am going to give myself one week of doing nothing. Then I can reassess.  And I can tell you, it won’t be easy, I like action and a plan.

Try it next time nothing is working, do nothing.  Let me know how it goes.  And I will report back on how it goes for me.


  1. DILIP

    That is interesting, I have tried and am struggling to do it.

    • Susan

      The ability to do nothing is very challenging and takes a real effort in the non-stop world in which we live. DOING is much easier than being just with yourself and really BEING.


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