Welcome back to Part Two of our discussion about Procrastination. In Part One we discussed the harms done by the dreaded “Perfectionism” and how is presents its self with regard to Procrastination. Now in Part Two of my thoughts on Procrastination, I want to talk about Fear and how it supports the Procrastination agenda.
How far does Fear conspire to pave the path to Procrastination? Do people actually escape their various Fears by Procrastinating? I think today's world of high competition has created an unsubstantiated fear of failure in many people to become the most common source – and possible scapegoat - of Procrastination.
Most people are aware of the limiting beliefs that flood their thoughts when trying to accomplish a goal but I don’t know if they are aware of the root cause and where this mind chatter may stem from. I have created an entire training on Fear – which will be discussed in a future blog post – that looks at how all fears fall into 1 of 2 categories…either, Financial and/or Emotional Attachment to the Results (F.E.A.R.). Stay tuned for that – I am very excited to roll that out to you all – but back to this blog…
You may be familiar with a number of Fears that each contribute to Procrastination - you might even be able to add some personal offenders - but I think the following are fairly universal:
- Fear of doing badly - the fear that you wont live up to the expectations of others or yourself. Probably the most common one.
- Fear of the unknown - the task or goal is not familiar to you - so you don’t know what to do or where to start – or the end result is not known or certain. Who wouldn’t agree that unpredictability can be a little scary.
- Fear of the uncomfortable - It’s easy to do things we’re comfortable with, but getting out of our comfort zone can often cause anxiety. This can seem very similar to the one above (the unknown), and can easily link nicely, however, in my experience; the internal stress caused by being uncomfortable goes a little deeper.
- Fear of responsibility - most people are quite comfortable blending into the background so committing to a task that puts you in the “lime light” is often a displeasing proposition. Add that with being fully accountable to the outcome of the project and you have easily justified putting it off.
- Fear of rejection - we very rarely can accomplish our goals with out any help from others, so anticipating the possibility of negative feedback from friends and family can stop us dead in our tracks. The fear of not living up to others ideas or expectations for the outcome can also derail our attempts to get started.
This is not a complete list - there are many others we could explore - and upon closer scrutiny, they could all easily be summed up as “fear of failure or not being good enough”. However, regardless of the symptoms, the results are all the same - our goals and projects are not getting started - we are stuck! Procrastination feeds off our fear of failure as a cathartic means of risk avoidance.
Enough of the problem! I think we can all agree that, in order to live a fuller, more productive life, working through our fears is a priority for most of us, yes? (If you answered “no”, I would ask why you decided to land on this blog post, given the title and all…just sayin’.) So, how can we break free from our fears?
- Thoroughly prepare for any goal, task or project you undertake. Be crystal clear on what the goal is and why it is important to you. Look back on other accomplishments you have had – what was the secret sauce that made them successful? How can you lean into those strengths to accomplish this goal?
- Anticipate obstacles. Don’t summon them or focus on them, but have a plan for dealing with them, should they arise – or if you know for sure that an event in the future is going to consume your energy and take your focus off of your goal for a moment, plan around it. Take an honest look at the negative mindset and messaging that you have and have a plan of counter attack when they show up - don’t make the mistake of thinking that they wont show up this time - you have trained them well and they know exactly when to activate to keep you in your comfort zone.
- Give your best effort and feel assured by the fact that you have prepared, anticipated and have a well thought out blueprint for success. Get an accountability partner - or a coach - and make adjustments to the plan as needed. Review the first 2 regularly – 1: to keep your vision and reason for your vision fresh in your mind and 2: to make sure that old “stinking thinking” isn’t creeping back in or maybe a new one has crept in that you didn’t anticipate.
To sum up this Two Part conversation on Procrastination, there are many excuses and self-induced obstacles that we use to sabotage or efforts - whether that’s a goal we have set for our self or a goal that might be focused on others expectations - yet all of them only serve to keep us paralyzed in a state of feeling unaccomplished, which in turn, only serves to keep us in a perpetual cycle of negativity and unworthiness.
This cycle is the beast that I have dedicated my life to helping people get out of - because I honestly believe that we all have the ability and potential to accomplish Greatness. Like I hear from Abraham Hicks - “With in you is the Energy that creates worlds”. What a beautiful, and true, vision that is.
When I am feeling stuck or frustrated about “how many times I’ve tried…” - which is just one more fear in disguise - I like to remember that we all would be still sitting in the dark if Thomas Edison would have given up on his 999th attempt at the light bulb. When asked why he failed so many times, he is reported to have replied, “I didn’t fail 999 times, I simply had 999 steps to take before success.” That’s how I want to think about life - its not how many failures I have had - it’s how many lessons I learned along the way.
Miles Berdache Lynk
Remember...its another beautiful day in Paradise...and the perfect day for you to step into Greatness!