Have you ever found yourself procrastinating on a project that is important to you, and then beat up on yourself for not doing it? With self-talk like “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just start? I’m such a [loser/lost case/procrastinator/fill in your own] and my [mother/father/teacher] was right about me!”
A client I worked with recently had huge and powerful insights around this exact pattern in her own life. Let’s call her Tamara.
She’d been working on a BIG project idea for about 10 years. Tamara couldn’t understand why she was so reluctant to start acting on the plan. It’s a project very close to her heart and cultural roots and she felt a strong calling to start it… yet, all she experienced was procrastination. And blaming herself. Beating herself with an internal stick, day after day.
Then, we started looking at her Strengths (from the Gallup StrengthsFinder) and discovered the following:
- She has many, many wonderful strategic thinking talents. It is SO easy for her to come up with new, innovative ideas. It’s so natural for her, in fact, that she didn’t think it was special or unusual.
- She’s not necessarily the best person to act on these ideas, though. Or, perhaps, not the best person to be the sole person to execute this big project from start to finish. Her strengths are not in the execution, but in the innovation, strategy, visioning and planning phases.
- She had been planning to talk to groups of 25 people for 50 minutes at a time, 5 times a day, 5 days per week. In looking at her strengths, we found that those actions would completely drain her energy and life force. She’d maybe be able to do that 1 day out of 5. And then need the other 4 days to recover.
- Influencing others, hours of verbal communication and winning others over to her point of view, depletes her energy. As does juggling many balls, and executing a structured plan step by step.
In her cultural setup, she would have had to convince the men in the audience that her message (coming from a woman) was valid. Women are not yet respected in business, in her culture. She would have had to keep her eye on many balls at the same time during this huge project, plus manage a project plan to keep everything together. Every one of these would have caused her energy to wane, and she would have given up on the beautiful vision she had. Disillusioned and disappointed.
Insight and Progress
With these deeper insights, her enthusiasm returned. She could now understand her reluctance to start acting on her vision. What she had thought she had to do to bring her ideas to fruition, was just not right for her energy system and strengths.
After one of our sessions, she couldn’t wait to go back to the drawing board with fresh new ideas that were already popping up for her… to recreate the HOW. She realised she didn’t have to be the one to do all the work. She could structure her vision in such a way that someone else (whose strength it is!) can do all talking, while her role will be in other areas.
How powerful is that?? It was life-changing for her.
Most of us have walked a road like this…. a goal that sounds good, inspires us and looks good on paper. Yet we can’t seem to take action on it. Because something about it is OFF for us, and we can’t yet put our finger on it.
And then, of course, we play the inner-blame-game. “I SHOULD be able to do this, WHY am I so lazy? Why can’t I just DO this? I’m such a procrastinator! I’m hopeless! My teacher was right when she said that about me!”
Have you experienced this? Procrastinating on a goal or vision you have, and you can’t understand why you don’t leap out of bed every morning to start working towards it?
What is the Solution?
Let me first say what the solution is NOT. It’s NOT to give up on your dream, goal or project!
So, then, what is?
A couple of thoughts come to mind for me. We usually procrastinate in 1 of 5 situations.
- We fear the task will be unpleasant or scary
- We fear the outcome of the task will be unpleasant or scary
- It’s just not our priority – there are other things that need out attention above this
- We don’t have clarity on where to start, or not enough clarity on the outcome
- Our strengths are at play (they all have different ‘needs’ in order to come out and play)
For Tamara, most of these were true. The tasks WOULD have been unpleasant and difficult for her. What she expected herself to do (influence groups all day, plus organize a million little details) are not her strong points – so of course she was fearing the outcome. She didn’t have complete clarity on how to proceed for this massive project. Most definitely her strengths (and weaknesses) were at play here.
Is it any wonder we sometimes can’t get started?
I want to assure you again that it doesn’t mean we CAN’T have our goal.
What it DOES mean is getting support from the right people, whose strengths can enhance our areas of weakness. It means in the first place, awareness of our strengths and weaknesses. Else we can so easily fall into the trap of “I’m a smart person, I SHOULD be able to do this” and then our relentless negative self-labeling has a field-day.
And who on earth has ever done an exceptional job while they’re being constantly criticized, by ourselves or others?
There is a great opportunity here for you.
Do you know your strengths, with absolute clarity and certainty?
Do you know what drains you, with clarity and certainty?
What might it do for you, if you could explore your goals and seeming ‘procrastination’ with new insights about what is good for YOU, and what’s not?
For the months of June and July 2017, I have a special offer for you to connect with your OWN strengths!
I’m offering 2 options and for the next 2 months depending on availability, both offer a juicy discount. The perfect option for you will depend on what you need to gain. We’ll have you do an Assessment of about 40 minutes, and then dive into the meaty and wonderful work of exploring your talents and strengths. Both options include the Gallup assessment fee.
You can choose either:
The Top 5 Confidence Kick-Start (1 awesome session of 2 hours)
You’ll get to know your Top 5 talents. We’ll discuss them in-depth and help you to see where you’re already using them in your life and work. Your eyes will light up as you realise that your talents are literally EVERYWHERE… and that what is easily for you, is not easy for someone else. And THAT is what you need to get paid for. The stuff that’s easy for you. That’s where you add the most value. You’ll find out how unique you are, gain awesome insights into yourself and your work, breathe HUGE sighs of relief, and discover how beautifully you’ve been put together. It’ll kick-start your confidence and build a beautiful foundation for future work activities.
The Full 34 Confidence Journey (4 sessions of 75 minutes)
You’ll get to know all of your 34 Gallup talents. Some of them are your ‘strongest synaptic connections’ that are extremely easy for you, and others will most definitely drain you. You’ll discover where you’ve been using your strengths, or mistakenly woven your work around a weakness (which can lead to exhaustion, depression, low energy and a host of other health issues). You might have built painful beliefs around some of your traits because you received negative labels about them in childhood. We’ll clear out some of those if necessary, so you can build your life on your TRUE strengths, and not what others dumped on you out of ignorance. You’ll gain incredible confidence, love your uniqueness, let go of self-blame and self-criticism, and of any “I SHOULD be able to do this even though I hate it.”
There is obviously more time to explore and dive into deep details in the Full 34 package. It provides a well-rounded option for you to see yourself in a totally new and positive light. It’s hard to describe the confidence, trust in yourself, and relief it brings.
If you’re not sure which to select, or to inquire about the fees, complete this short questionnaire and I’ll get right back to you!
Liesel helps sensitive introverts to see their sensitivity as a superpower, love their work and practice awesome self-care so they can be energized and make a difference in a meaningful and fulfilling way. She helps them to overcome the fear of being visible, avoiding the spotlight and conflict, being ‘too nice’, perfectionism and procrastination.
She’s the author of “No Problem. The Upside of Saying No”, which is a handbook for those who struggle to say no, are overwhelmed and exhausted.
Click here to read about the book.