We’ve all procrastinated at some point in time, putting off the very thing that needs doing. It’s probably one of the top reasons why people seek me out as a coach. They don’t necessarily term it procrastination, they sometimes say things like “I’m lacking drive”, “lacking motivation”, “I just feel stuck” or some other variant. But rest assured the thing that got them there is the P word and they’re not quite sure how to tackle it.
Now if we ultimately end up feeling disappointed with ourselves what’s the point of procrastinating? Well the answer to this question is actually quite simple. We engage in procrastination to stay safe. Our procrastination allows us to maintain the status quo and stay within our comfort zone. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the comfort zone, it just isn’t where growth occurs. Neil Donald Walsh, the author of conversations with God, said “life begins at the edge of the comfort zone”. So if growth can’t occur within the comfort zone why do we so often refuse to leave it?
The need for certainty is the very thing that often holds us back. We delude ourselves into thinking that if the outcomes aren’t assured we can’t take action. The problem with this line of thinking is it stops us from doing the very thing that generates progress. We defend our need for certainty though at any cost, even if it means that we sacrifice our dreams. Yet not being assured of an outcome is part of growth, it’s part of travelling uncharted territory, it’s where learning occurs and discovery is made. It’s the difference between living in want or living a life of abundance.
I’ve heard it said that “if we don’t squeeze life, life will squeeze you”. That’s to say that if we spend all of our time within our comfort zone will soon find that our comfort zone will begin to shrink. Ring any bells?
It’s essential therefore to continuously be growing and expanding. To challenge the boundaries of our comfort zone because the absence of growth results in people experiencing crisis. This is the type of theme that is present with individuals who experience a personal crisis and question their careers, their relationships and themselves. In the face of it many make unresourceful decisions from a long-term perspective but it needn’t be the case. A crisis is usually an indicator that we haven’t spent sufficient time challenging ourselves and pushing beyond the comfort zone.
Often people speak of the fear of failure or the fear of success, the truth of the matter is neither of these actually exist. What were afraid of is the unknown, but it’s in the unknown that we begin to realise our own greatness. It’s like Marianne Williams shared, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” So we become extraordinarily elegant at avoiding the unknown and it impacts many areas of our lives.
People want certainty around their career, around their health, around their finances, certainty in just about every area. But the irony of this is that certainty is an illusion. Moreover the notion of certainty within any area of our lives is an absolute delusion because everything can change in a matter of moments. The economy can change, the weather can change, the phone call from a doctor’s surgery can change everything.
So how do you overcome uncertainty? Begin with this simple strategy, one that will consistently provide outstanding results; Back yourself in the face of uncertainty!
Trust that you’ll learn what you need to learn and grow from the experience. Trust that you’ll be able to handle whatever comes your way. And for goodness sakes be kind to yourself. Get some help from someone who’s achieved what you’re after and do the the following:
- Determine the values and beliefs that will support you
- Determine your desired outcomes
- Be willing to fight for your goals
- Take consistent action to completion
You see the simple act of choosing uncertainty, the simple act of exposing yourself to the uncertain, changes your perception around comfort. The more uncertainty you embrace, the more opportunity. And of course the more opportunity, the more success.
Procrastination may have held you back in the past but it needn’t hold you back from your future.
Here’s to living your dreams!