For years now, I have been hearing this advice.
Not just from my mentor (and a dear friend), but from my sister, articles I’ve read, podcasts I’ve listened to, TedTalks I’ve watched, and through sermons I’ve heard at church.
I’m pretty sure someone’s trying to tell me something.
It’s not that I think it is hogwash, mind you. The bible is full of verses encouraging us to believe and pray and it shall be given to us. For the non-Christians, another way to say it would be…. believe it will happen persistently say it out loud, and you will see it come to fruition.
Requirements of succeeding in whatever it is you want to pursue.
Instead, however, I guess you could say I have been….persistently committed and dedicated to procrastination.
So, what really is procrastination?
Avoidance pretty much. It’s allowing things and people to keep you distracted from starting something. It’s also fear. Not always fear of failure, believe it or not. For some people, like me, it’s the fear of success.
How can that be? I hear you ask. That’s a good question. Let’s see if I can explain effectively how it is for me.
See, I know failure. I know how it feels, behaves and how to cope with it. It’s a mud puddle I’m familiar wading in. It’s warm, safe and easy. It’s predictable.
But success. That’s a whole different ball game. It’s scary and unknown. It’s not familiar or predictable. It’s cold and I definitely don’t feel safe. Panic. Anxiety. Fear.
It’s like sitting in the eye of a tornado. Fierce winds surround me and swirl around like an angry monster. I feel safe sitting there but that’s just an illusion. There’s no easy way out. I don’t know what to expect or how I’ll cope going through the wall of screaming danger.
So, I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about….
Approaching prospective people/organisations on a list I’ve created.
The anxiety creeps in and slowly increases the more I think about picking up the phone and talking to the person on the other end. I’m scared they’ll answer the phone. I’m scared they’ll say yes. When no-one answers the phone, or turns my offer down, I feel relieved. If I get an answering machine, I either hang up, or leave a message hoping they won’t return it.
I’m really frustrated with myself with this because I want to work for myself so much, be an author, present at speaking gigs and facilitate workshops. I put all these things together – the PowerPoint presentations, the excel spreadsheets so I track my progress, collect lots of information and statistics, get business cards, etc . I get all excited over doing these things, anticipating their success. I feel inspired by my own input.
Then the question of how I’m going to cope with the success which follows the hard work, sweat and tears. Eventually, though, I have to take a leap of faith from the tornado’s masquerade of truth, and believe I’ll be successful in reaching the other side despite my anxiety and fear of the future.
Recently, well actually a few months ago, before Christmas to be more accurate, I had to admit to myself it’s me who is allowing people to distract me, or house work, or my cat, or the washing, or the dishes…I think you get the picture.
The point is, the discovery I made was… I had no boundaries.
Fair dinkum. None. None at all.
It’s only taken what feels like a 4 by 2 to wake me up!
All those things and others not mentioned, weren’t others doing it to me, but me doing it to myself.
Well, it just so happened one day, I was speaking to a friend at church talking about some of this stuff, when they offered to loan me a book they owned about creating boundaries. I love how God works – just what I needed at exactly the right time. So, I took them up on it.
Now, it is an old book, so psychology has progressed a lot since it was first written, however, I got heaps out of it. It’s titled, “Changes That Heal: how to understand your past to ensure a healthier future” by Dr Henry Cloud (1990, publisher Zandervan; Grand Rapids, Michigan USA). It’s inspired me to make 2020 one of perfect 20/20 vision.
I took notes as I read through it. When I finished, I turned them into posters, making them personal to me, and put them on my wall around my desk. My sister was getting rid of a large weekly planner. So I saved it from the recycle bin and use it to plan my days. Along with my sister, we created 3 month, 1 year and 5 year plans. I’m so happy to announce it’s been one month almost since I started, and am on my way to creating a habit, which I have to be disciplined to do. Go figure hahaha!
During turning my notes into posters, I summed it all up pretty well for me….
Discipline is a choice. So is procrastination.
It’s my weekly mantra, so to speak, and is written at the top of each week to remind me to make the decision to succeed.
Following are some of my notes from Dr Henry Cloud’s book “Changes That Heal: how to understand you past to ensure a healthier future.
My life is mine to own.
If my desires aren’t realised, it’s my own fault.
Limit the effects people have on me.
Not making a choice, is a choice.
My emotions are my responsibility.
Value the process rather than the result.
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Allison Rose Clark