Monday, December 1, 2008

The Myth of Procrastination

A note from for Tuesday December 2 2008

Hello again all and welcome to day two of our "Jan Janzen Week".

I would strongly suggest that you use these missives as a foundation for your 2009 planning sessions. They will serve you well.

Enjoy today's offering.

The Myth of Procrastination
by Jan Janzen

It’s so easy to put off doing what we want to do. As we near the end of 2008, you may be acutely aware of where you procrastinated, areas where you are nowhere near the goals you set almost a year ago.

I actually don’t believe there is such a thing as procrastination. The dictionary defines procrastination as “postponing or delaying needlessly.”

There are three reasons why you postpone or delay needlessly. One is insufficient passion to get a task done. The second is fear of what will happen if you actually take action and get something done. Third, it may really not be the right time to do something and you are being directed at a Universal level to wait. So let’s forget about calling procrastination the problem. It is simply the symptom of these three issues.

Let’s say that you want to take your business to the next level of success because you are tired of being on the merry-go-round of “not enough money.” You know you should do more marketing. You agree you should be contacting your clients. You realize a more aggressive public relations campaign would grow your business. But you look at the marketing options and you can’t decide. You go to pick up the phone to contact a client—then you put it down and make yourself a coffee instead. You meet with a PR firm and make the excuse that you just don’t have the money. This may apply to renovating your house, starting a business, fixing your marriage, writing a book or a host of other things on your To-Do list for life. But you just can’t do what it takes to make it happen.

Ask yourself this question: How PASSIONATE am I about doing this? If you are trying to build a business that you don’t really like, your passion level on a scale of 1 to 10 is probably about a 2. If you are trying to renovate a home that you would rather sell, then your passion level may be hovering at a 1. So how passionate are you about what is on your To-Do List for life? Maybe everybody has told you that you should write a book because you tell such great stories. But as much as you like telling the stories, you have no passion to sit down and write, so your passion for actually writing a book is extremely low. Just acknowledging your passion level about what you are procrastinating about will give you a big clue as to why the task is not getting done.

If you really love to write and your passion is at a 10 to write a book but it’s still not getting done, then ask yourself: What am I afraid will happen if I write this book? Perhaps you are afraid that no one will read the book. Maybe you are afraid of all the things that you don’t know how to do – find a publisher or self-publish, find an editor, find an illustrator and a printer. What would change in your life if all of sudden it was a bestseller and you found yourself on Oprah’s Book Club list? Yikes, how would massive fame and notoriety change your quiet, private, sheltered life in rural Ohio? Those are good questions to think about.

If you are putting off getting out of a marriage that is no longer working, then what fears are you facing? It’s very normal to be afraid of life after marriage, especially if you have been married for many years. That’s a good reason to procrastinate and not ask for the divorce. Most people who have ended a marriage would tell you that it’s difficult to get out in the world again, by yourself, or to start dating again at 40, 50, or older. That’s a big fear. There’s definitely something to the saying, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” At least you know the mate you’re living with, and you don’t know who you will end up with once that marriage is over with, or if there even will be another partner. That’s enough to scare you into complacency and procrastination.

You can do this with every event in your life that you believe you are procrastinating over. Make a list of what you believe you are postponing or delaying needlessly. Then ask yourself: What is my level of passion around this? Secondly, ask yourself, what am I afraid of around this subject? If you don’t get answers on either of those questions—and that is possible—consider the possibility that you are being directly guided to wait. “Timing is everything” is a very popular saying, but we don’t seem to pay much heed to that saying in our own life.

How high is the quality of patience on your personal value scale? We live in a “have it now,” immediate gratification society that is focused on the present. Buy now, pay later is the predominant theme of marketing campaigns. So it can be hard to want something now, to have it on our wish list, our intention list or on our To-Do list but every time we go to do it, we get pulled off track, delayed or postponed in what looks to us as procrastination.

Perhaps there really is a Higher Power that is working with us that is delaying things for a very good reason. Maybe the ideal partner is still healing from the past relationship and isn’t quite ready for us to enter your life. Have you considered the possibility that the market isn’t primed yet for your new product because there is something that needs to come before it that will really set it off? I know that if I had decided to launch a pole dancing business in 1995, it probably wouldn’t have been much of a success. But launching it in 2004 was another matter, when everyone from Barbara Walters to Oprah Winfrey was talking about pole dancing and had even pole danced live on television! So trust that you may be delayed, postponed or held back from moving forward at your desired speed of things for good reason. Is procrastination a problem?

No, but lack of passion, fear and Divine timing are issues that can masquerade as procrastination.

Remove the word from your vocabulary and start looking at the real issues behind what the Tribe calls “procrastination.” I guarantee that if you do, 2009 can be a very different year for you. You can see the end of doubt, fear, guilt and procrastination!

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