One Step to Stop Procrastination

“Great people are inspired by the hope of success instead of a fear of failure.”

Why do you procrastinate? The root cause for most people is fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, and fear of the unknown are the most common root causes of delay. I once had a client who demonstrated these fears whenever we would speak. 

I would suggest that she hire on additional staff to support her growing business, and she would remind me of state of the economy. I would encourage her to attend an out-of-town business convention, and she would mention the risk of airplane travel. I told her to raise her prices, and she told me how her customers were impacted by the unemployment rate. 

Her fear was causing her to procrastinate. Where was this fear coming from? 

If you implement the following step, you can overcome the fears that lead to procrastination. 

Stop Watching the News 
My client began each day by watching the morning news. She got a steady diet of everything that is wrong with the world. Imagine if every morning you participated on a one hour conference call on the topics of bankruptcy, unemployment, poverty and foreclosures. How would that impact your mood? 

Watching the morning news is the equivalent of participating on a bad news conference call every day. 

Negativity and controversy is what sells, so the news media has a motivation to present this to you. Negativity is what moves the needle. For example, I have a speaker friend who hosted a morning radio show. His topics were very inspiring an uplifting. He would ask his listeners to call in, but received very few calls. 

One particular day he tried an experiment. He changed his format by discussing very edgy and controversial topics. He deliberately adopted a negative focus. His phone lines lit up like never before. His program was flooded with phone calls. 

There is a strong demand for negative information, so the media outlets stay in business by delivering bad news. 

Change Your Diet
It’s a proven fact that a change in direction requires a change in diet. If you are moving in the direction of physical health, maintaining the same junk food diet you always had would be counter productive. 

The same holds true for your mental diet. As you move in the direction of your goals, a consistent menu of fear and failure will cause you to procrastinate. 

I believe that the best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a better one. During the time that you would normally watch the news, watch an inspirational program or video instead. Read a book or listen to an audio program that inspires you. 

I invite you to take the following Twiggs Challenge: For the next 30 days, commit to the habit of NOT watching the news. At the end of the 30-day period, feel free to email me at eric@ericmtwiggs.com to update me on how you feel. 

Sincerely,
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner
www.ericmtwiggs.com 

What Scares You?

“If you want something that you have never had, you must be willing to do something that you have never done.”

Thomas Jefferson

In 1998 actress Helen Hunt had reached the very top of the acting profession. She won the highly coveted Oscar for her role in the movie As Good As It Gets. She was asked by a reporter, what she planned to do for her next role. While her answer surprised me, it also helped me realize why she reached the top. She said, “I will choose the role that scares me the most." 

You Validate What You Fail to Confront
Fear is at the root of procrastination. I have discovered that people are most afraid of the unknown territory. The problem is that your goals and dreams reside at the end of the unknown path. You must go down the unfamiliar road to get there! 

For example, everyone would be a millionaire if the requirement was doing what you have always done. What separates the self-made millionaire from everyone else is her willingness to do the uncomfortable. She may be afraid but she faces her fears. Once a fear is confronted, it is no longer unknown. 

What scares you? Is it the thought of speaking in public? Is it the idea of making cold calls to generate sales? Could be the prospect of starting your own business? As you continue to read, I will teach you a technique that will help you face your fear. 

Practice Under Pressure
If you are able to practice in an environment that simulates the risk, you can confront the unknown. For example, back when I was studying karate, I always questioned if what I was learning would apply in a real self-defense situation. Initially, I participated in safe sparring sessions with my friends at the school, but the thought of sparring in an unknown environment scared me. 

To overcome this fear, I entered tournaments against competitors that I did not know at locations with which I was unfamiliar. To my surprise, I won more matches than I lost, and gained an understanding of how I would respond under real pressure. By facing my fear, it was no longer and unknown. 

Anytime I feel anxiety about delivering a big speech, I reflect on my karate experience with the knowledge that I can respond under pressure. What are some ways that you can practice? Below are some scenarios based on the most common fears that I mentioned earlier:

Starting a Business
Before launching out on your own, get a job in the industry that interests you. For example, if you want to open your own restaurant, get a job working at a restaurant so you can understand how they operate, the challenges of owning one, and practice interacting with customers. This would give you valuable experience, and make entrepreneurship less of an unknown. 

Public Speaking
Join an organization such as Toastmasters International where you can practice your speeches in a safe environment. The average club has about 20 members, so you can gain experience speaking in front of a group. You will have more confidence when making a presentation at work because you have already confronted your fears at Toastmasters. 

Cold Calling
Set a minimum goal of how many calls you will make each day and stick to it. Start with an achievable number like three per day in the beginning. If you stay with your plan, your ability will improve and you will find the calls easier to do. The key is to place more focus in completing the three calls each day than on the result of the calls. In 30 days you will have made at least 60 calls. You will be more proficient at call 60 than on the first call.

So there you have it. Doing the thing you fear is a key step to achieving your goals and dreams. If you commit to confrontation, you will be like Helen Hunt and look the part! 

Sincerely,
Eric M Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

PS. To get additional information on how to achieve your goals and dreams, download my ebook.