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Oh – the Irony!
This topic has a bit of a funny start. You see, at the beginning of the year I sat down and mapped out the various topics I wanted to blog about. And topic number one was Fear and Procrastination. As it turns out this blog was due last week. So guess what? I’ve been procrastinating. It gave me an extra week to think about why I do this at times – maybe too often, but there you go – and I think it comes down to fear. Justified or not, doesn’t matter. It’s my emotion I’m going to feel it.
Balance your Inner Lizard
At some point I heard that we have a lizard brain in our heads, a bit of primordial “instinctive-ness” that was there to keep us alive when we had predators hunting us every day, every night. We were always on guard, but hopefully you’re not in that kind of situation. And by the way, let me just say now if you are in a life and death situation, please if you can get some help and get out of it.
For me this is really out of balance because I’m not in a life and death situation. I just didn’t want to do the blog. Why is that? Strangely enough, I was just imagining all the horrible situations:
- You’re going to hate this.
- I’m going to sound terrible.
- I don’t know what to talk about.
- I don’t even know what I’m talking about at anytime.
- Who am I to talk about fear and procrastination? I’m not a therapist. I’m not a psychologist.
All of that’s true – might happen. You know what? It might not.
Excuses and Justifications
But because of that fear, I then start to go into avoidance mode. I create excuses.
- Oh, I don’t need to do it today, it’s just a schedule I set up for myself.
- You know, I don’t have anybody paying me for this blog. I could do other things.
Or maybe I start to justify it.
- I don’t know that anybody wants to hear about this.
- Am I worthy of your attention and your time.
Guess what else? I’m an expert at finding any other activity to do besides the one I’m procrastinating against. In fact, this is probably a great time for me to do taxes because it wasn’t the blog I was trying to avoid. Ultimately though the worst thing I could have done was give up, and if you’re listening to this – I didn’t.
Move your Body, and your Mind will Follow
Let me steal a page from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. As I said, I’m not a therapist. I’m not a psychiatrist. But one thing I did pick up from CBT was if you can change your behavior, it really has an influence on your thinking. And my fear and procrastination was absolutely in my head; therefore, it was thinking.
So what I tried to do was, well, number one, recognize it, acknowledge it. “Hello fear. Nice to see you. You’re in my way today.” That’s OK, I don’t have to like it, but I do have to accept the fact that it exists. And it turns out, not everything in this world, not everyone in this world, is under my personal control. I wish it was sometimes. Wouldn’t that be great? But I can’t control if you like this blog. I can’t control if I actually get it finished. (Again, you’re listening to it or you’re reading it, which means obviously I did.)
So what I do is I focus on the behavioral aspect of CBT and I take an action. I move around. The point is I want to change my behavior, change my thinking. Mark Scott, a VO and marketer out of Canada, uses the hashtag #DoTheThing. I’m sure you’ve also heard the phrase take a leap of faith. Both phrases have a similar sentiment. Do something. Take a step. Take a walk. Go outside and watch the sunshine. Count the blades of grass in a square foot. It doesn’t matter, but do something. Believe it or not, it changes my mind. It gives me a different energy, a different vibration in the world. If anything else, it gives me a new perspective that “Hey, JD don’t worry about”.
Let’s Do It Together
So if any of this sounds familiar, let me just tell you – I understand. Instincts are strong. That little lizard is screaming his or her head off. But you know what? You’re stronger. Turns out I’m stronger. And that strength and dedication to finally move toward that goal, is ultimately what got me unstuck, got me in front of the mic, got me in front of the keyboard and let me get this blog out the door.
So my sincerest wish to you is not to get stuck in your excuses or in your justifications. Instead make a move. See a new point of view. Go take a walk. I don’t know, vacuum the house. In other words, do something with your body and see if that can’t shift your mind. It works for me. I truly hope it works for you. Whatever technique you ultimately find that is effective. If you find yourself stuck in this cycle of fear and procrastination – take a step forward. I’ll celebrate it with you, and I hope you celebrate with me.