Do you cringe inwardly or outwardly when you hear the word “procrastination”? You’re not alone. It is one of those words that can guarantee a strong reaction. That’s because nearly everyone does it in some aspect of their lives.
Do you procrastinate more with your career, your family, health, a relationship or all of the above? Would you get embarrassed or irritated if I asked you the reason you’ve been putting off “that one thing” … that big “I should”?
How are you doing with all those noble New Year’s Resolutions?
Like most Americans, perhaps you haven’t made much progress by now. What seemed like a perfectly doable aspiration at the end of December is possibly a mild irritant at best and a bitter regret at worse. Usually we make excuses and then invest time and energy into sustaining them. This may make us feel better for a while but not for long.
Many excuses are based on fear – fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change, fear of conflict and so on.
Consider my client Mary who wanted to leave her job and start her own engineering company. It was during the recession and she had been using the excuse “It’s the recession, there’s no work out there for a startup” plus “I don’t have a website”, “I don’t have an office”, I don’t…… and so on.
After Mary went to a women’s conference where three of the panelists had started thriving multi-million dollar businesses in the same recession, she realized she needed to get out of her own way and hire a coach to help her get unstuck.
When we can’t see the label on the Jar we’re in….
One of the most frequent complaints I get from clients is, “if I know what I want, why can’t I get unstuck on my own – I’m smart, why do I need help?” Once Mary realized she was using all sorts of excuses to keep her stuck, we worked together to challenge her assumptions about herself and the business world. Some of the steps Mary took to start moving in a positive direction:
- Developed a plan and set realistic goals that were measurable
- Set a reasonable timeline for each action item
- Resolved to take risks, some small and some large
- Took action, persevered and built the accountability support she needed
Taking risks can seem daunting
For Mary, taking risks wasn’t easy either at first and not all her attempts worked out exactly as planned but many more resulted in better than expected progress. With careful planning and more important follow through, Mary is now working with a small and growing staff in her own company and doing well.