We all procrastinate sometimes. After all, work is called “work”, not “play”.
Sometimes our procrastination is a signal to shift gears and reevaluate our goals. And if that’s the case, we usually feel it in our gut. Maybe it’s telling us to rethink a goal we may have set, or a job we’ve signed up to do. This is a healthy form of procrastinating and it’s a signal to stop and rethink.
But, some of us are sabotaging our dreams by letting procrastination run amuck. If you are procrastinating on something you are passionate about… writing a script, getting an agent, building a website… then you are sabotaging yourself.
Oddly enough, you likely have very good reasons to avoid taking action. The problem is, you don’t know what those reasons are. Your subconscious fears are running the show. Getting to know your personal sabotage “signature” is your biggest weapon to self defeating urges.
So, how do you figure out what beliefs you are being ruled by?
Ask. Ask a lot. Ask, ask, ask.
I had a client who was concerned about starting a new business. From personal experience, I will tell you that starting any new venture is time consuming and offers no guarantees. This is why many people are happy managing say a Peet’s vs opening their own coffee shop. Going your own way takes money, courage, and a shit-load of energy.
So, he had reasons to be nervous. But he’d done the research, had a good financial plan, and for all intents and purposes, it looked like a risk that would be worth taking.
Yet he stalled. And avoided. And got distracted…
So I asked:
“If the worst case scenario were to happen, what would that mean to you?”
He said he’d lose a substantial amount of money.
“And then what would happen?” I asked
“I might have to move, I might have to get another job, I’d be pretty broke”
“And then what would happen?”
“Take out a loan…if I could…”
“And if you couldn’t take out a loan, then what?”
“I guess I’d have to ask my father to help me out”
“And then what?
“He’d see that he was right. I’m terrible at business and should have just followed in his footsteps instead.”
“He’d think I’m an embarrassment to the family.”
He was procrastinating because he believed that if he failed, his father would be ashamed of him. Now THAT is a very scary thought for most of us. As “grown up” as we all are, most of us still don’t want to let our parents down. And nobody wants to feel like a cause for family shame.
No wonder he was avoiding going for it fully. His identity and self esteem were at stake. He was MORE COMMITTED to keeping his self esteem intact and not upsetting his father. After realizing that, he could then acknowledge to himself that win or lose, he wasn’t going to incur the shame of his Dad. Taking action became easier and easier until his business was up and running. When he caught himself backsliding, he asked himself the same questions I did…and asked and asked until he got to the real reason for his self sabotage. Which then he could then conquer fairly easily.
So why are you stalling on your dreams? What would happen if you failed? And then what? And then? And after that, what would happen?…
Dive into the rabbit hole head first and figure out what you are really committed to. If you are procrastinating, you are afraid of something. And, you are more committed to avoiding that pain than achieving your goal.
Once you figure that out, you can choose to override it and take the necessary actions to achieve your success. And when you slack off or stumble, get curious. Ask and ask until the truth comes out. If you want to defeat the dragon, you have to look it in the eye first. And your dreams are worth fighting for.
(If you need more help with this issue, please, get in touch and we’ll get to work.)