Is “Doing” a Placebo?

Sometimes I think so hard I get a headache. And I really think I am solving my problems optimally this way. Upon further reflection, what has always preceded the fastest and most miraculous fulfillment of my dreams and visions has been a shift in consciousness, not thinking up a really good insight or plan. Dangit. What’s up with that?

There are multiple worlds in which we traffic. The world of our moods and feelings, though seemingly the most out of our control, may be the world that most impacts our results. When you feel good, don’t good things just tend to happen? When you are open and feeling positive, conflicts are resolved more easily, things roll off your back and you are more likely to take risks. Instead of feeling like masters of our feelings though, this is the realm where we most often feel like victims, or as we call it at Handel, “weather reporters” (those who tell what’s happening as though they were passive rather than active authors).

Sometimes we’ll even overcompensate in the world of thinking. “I know if I just think this problem through again,” or “If I just understand where it stems from,” or “If I just come up with the most optimal solution, I’ll be free.” Many of you have been thinking your lack of love or money or career-success to death with your therapists, friends and spouses, while never shifting your consciousness. The thinking and the discussing (and the worrying from the feeling realm) all feel like forward motion (aka trying) but they don’t actually move you forward. It’s almost as though hitting turbo in the “thinking world” makes absolutely no difference to your problem in the “real world” without a shift in feelings or consciousness first. Doh!

Sometimes we’ll hit the turbo button on DOING. “What should I do about it?” That’s my favorite solution to most problems, because it feels proactive. It hits up my thinking and then my doing and thinking engines work together to cause a shift. This actually works, because I am at least bringing thinking and acting into alignment. And action, well, it just happens to help you get closer to your dream, usually, but it is rarely enough to ensure the dream and rarely deeply satisfying to just “do do do.”

So I am beginning to think that doing might actually be a form of a placebo for having your dreams come true. For example, I want love and sweet connection in my relationship with my husband, so I brought him home my favorite salad from the gym. This was a specific doing. I do not know if he will like it, he may not, he hasn’t even tried it yet, but the shift in our relationship has already occurred because of the connection between us based on my thought to bring it to him. Wait, it’s not even “the thought that counts,” it’s the BEING that counts. Who was I being (how was I feeling?) when I thought, “I am going to bring my honey my favorite salad today?” I was being generous, open, loving. Yum, that felt good to me before I even did anything, and it felt good to him, regardless of WHAT I did. So I wonder how much the particulars of any of your doings are really all that important versus the feelings that precede and inspire them.

What does this mean?

You might be wasting time in therapy talking about your issues. All the ignoring of and/or complaining you’ve done to your parents might be for naught. All the online dating messages and profile rewrites, all the dates, all the memos and the conversations and the rewritten drafts and the investment research might not be what you need THE MOST. What you need the most is a shift in be-lief about what is possible for you and a shift in being.

The only ways I know to make this happen are:

  1. Develop personal integrity
  2.  Have difficult conversations in which you own up to your bad patterns and traits
  3. Learn how to tell the truth
  4. Unroot experiences from your past that haunt you with more than just talking/understanding/feeling about them

This work will wait for you until you are ready, but if you need a nudge and guide, get to a Life Coaching Crash Course. It’s just a “doing” and therefore a placebo, but, hey, this particular placebo happens to be highly effective in getting people to their dreams. Register for the Crash Course with promo code: lipman and save $100.



Passionate about personal development, Laurie has been coaching individuals and groups for over 15 years. She holds a degree in Education and Political Science from Swarthmore College, and was certified to teach elementary school. Before enthusiastically joining the Handel Group, Laurie owned and operated Partners with Parents, a tutoring and educational consulting business in New York City.

In eight years, Laurie has built Handel Group Life Coaching from "nearly non-existent" to a team of skilled coaches. She considers herself "an angel recruiter" because she is busy looking for other people who share her mission to instill more joy and peace in the world. "When all people are living true to their ideals, then I can rest," she says. She doesn't anticipate being able to rest anytime soon.

Her professional and personal mission is to better the world by teaching people to tell the truth and pursue their dreams. Her focus is on maximizing clients' ability to thrive across all areas of life-health, love, career, money, family, etc. Laurie spreads her message of empowerment through live international events, one-on-one coaching, virtual coaching courses, as a writer, on radio and in TV appearances such as MTV's True Life Special: I'm Getting a Second Chance, A&E's The Marriage Test, the Dr. Phil Show and TODAY show.

Laurie feels blessed to spend her days (and most nights) doing work that makes her proud and she is inspired by Handel clients for having the guts to look at themselves honestly.

She lives in Manhattan with her husband and three kids.