Procrastination – a case of laziness or something deeper? – On conquering Mount Everest
This one is particularly big for me when it comes down to chasing after the things I really want. Have you ever found yourself in a place of deciding to change something in your life, be it making a career change, losing 20 pounds or maybe opening your own business? Feels great in that moment, right? And the anticipation of all the good stuff that will come out of this transition is making you itch to get down to business, right?? And then a day goes by.. And another one.. Aaand I’ll start tomorrow. And I’ll be ready.. Tomorrow’s Monday, right? Always good to start changing your life on Monday.. WRONG! :)
So a week goes by and you found you haven’t done anything for that new business idea of yours. You know they say sometimes – if you can’t run in the direction of your dream, walk in that direction. If you can’t walk – stand in that direction. And if you can’t even stand in the direction of your goal yet – lie down facing in the right direction :) I’ll use one of my examples – creating my website, where I actually found myself actively facing away from my desire for a while! And I really really wanted to do it!! But something was stopping me.. One was of course, the little perfectionist monster inside (please see my previous article on the little gremlin) but taking that aside was one big red signal – how on earth am I supposed to start? There’s so much to do and figure out and I’ve never done anything like this before… And I have no clue on how to go from this idea in my mind to the actual shiny looking website with good content on it. So I kept putting it off thinking – I’ll need to devote a large chunk of my time to learn the processes and to understand the website creation tricks and hack various website promotion ways, etc… So maybe next weekend when I have free time or during my next vacation.. Seemed very logical but actually these were all simply vague ideas at the back of my mind and many of them seemed so big, complex and time consuming they were frankly scaring me away.
So what is the deal with this? I found that the big “but” in starting many of our significant adventures is how gigantic they seem at the start. A bit like standing at the bottom of Mount Everest, looking up to the top and thinking – it’s such a long way up, it’s impossible! I’ll go hang out in the village instead. And so we do. And it may turn out great and we come home rested and happy but it’s not what we were after! And it’s a shame because as statistics show once you’re on the trail (whatever trail this may be – the business trail or the Pacific Crest Trail), literally once you make one step on it – the likelihood of you quitting falls dramatically. So in the end it becomes about overcoming that fear and aversion to the perception of the enormity of the task ahead. The best way I found is to do it in steps. First I like to look at the goal and feel it as if I’m already there – helps to drum up the desire even more! And then essentially – to cut the BIG task into small manageable bites. But even more essentially but very often overlooked – to make completing each one pleasurable and create a reward system for ourselves. I know it may seem boring but we, as human beings, rely heavily on endorphin and dopamine rushes - so creating these “pleasure pangs” through the entire process of building something makes it more likely we’ll get to the end and feel fulfilled in the process. And so imagine if you have to complete 10 tasks in order to reach your goal and you gain pleasure from each one as you go through them, you’ll be zened out by the time you arrive at to your destination. And your confidence will also grow with every step completed! So as a side effect you will be more likely to then embark on another adventure because the process of getting there becomes very pleasurable as opposed to scary, complex and unappealing.
I do believe that getting to the destination is fantastic and these victorious moments are to be celebrated with great force, but it is in the end a lot about the road itself – moments of victory are momentary and the road is there to be enjoyed rest of the time. So let’s envision and dream big goals but let’s also cut the road into small chunks and make each one as pleasurable as we can. And then we can get lost in the process of creating whatever magnificent things we are working on and celebrate the small wins in between :)