A consultant wrote to me: “I do this thing where people contact me through my website, interested in working with me & I don’t respond to them, like, forever…
And then I put it off even more, because it’s been so long – so that now I feel bad. Does anyone else do this? What the hell & how do I get over whatever this is?”
First of all, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
I catch myself doing this. A lot! And when I do, I have discovered that it’s almost always one of two things creating it—fear or overwhelm:
Without realizing it, I’ve made up a story about who this person is.
Or I’ve made up a story about what I can or cannot offer them.
Or I’ve made up a story about how I might fail—if I follow through by replying.
Or I’ve made up a story about how I might succeed—and then not be up to the job—if I follow through by replying!
And then I’ve scared myself with the very story I’ve made up!
It’s taken me years to realize that I get overwhelmed with ‘simple’ tasks like scheduling.
You see a simple email invitation to speak to someone, can often lead to a series of a dozen back and forth emails! And that completely drains me of energy. So I’d rather not reply in the first place.
SO WHAT’S MY SOLUTION?
Well, first of all I am a work in progress. Which means SELF-AWARENESS is always the first step.
(i) HONESTY comes first. When I do my Weekly Review, I ask myself “WHAT am I procrastinating on?”
(ii) INSIGHT comes second. When I do my Weekly Review, I then ask myself “WHY am I procrastinating on that? Is it from Fear or Overwhelm?”
(iii) ACTION comes third.
If it’s from FEAR, I ask myself “What’s the tiniest step I could take that wouldn’t be scary?!”
Or, I’ll sometimes ask myself the Tim Ferriss question, “What if this was easy? Then what would I do?”
If it’s from OVERWHELM, I ask myself “Should I really even be doing this?” Or “Who else could be doing this instead of me?”
It’s why I have built a team of extraordinary people. It’s why in our team, we each know our Zone of Genius. It’s why in our team, we have each done a Kolbe assessment and a StrengthsFinder assessment, so we know what our strengths are.
And it’s why I have a growing “Avoid At All Costs List” of all the things that someone else other than me should be doing!
1. What are you procrastinating on, right now?
2. Why are you procrastinating on it?
3. What’s the TINIEST next step you could take to handle it?