Does this sound familiar?
You know you should be working on a certain task or project and you’re fully aware of the potential it has to grow your business. It’s even in your calendar, but every time you even get close to one of those tasks, you push it back.
You keep telling yourself – I’m not quite ready, I’ll do it tomorrow, next week will be better – but what you’re really telling yourself is…it’s not that important. Even though you know it is.
In today’s episode we’re unpacking this. Because I’ve done it, my students have done it, and I’m betting you have done it, and it’s time to stop holding ourselves back.
If something has made its way through planning, researching, and taking the time to add all those tasks to your calendar. There’s a pretty good chance it’s something you should be doing!
Here’s how to get unstuck…
Resources + Links
- The Solopreneur Success Journal (100 journal prompts): xosarah.com/ssjournal
- Mentioned the book: Originals: How Non-conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
First, let’s dig into your procrastination
My therapist always tells me to feel my feelings.
How does the feeling feel? Where are you feeling that feeling?
It sounds so simple and silly, but of course with all that education and experience she’s right. Feeling my feelings takes me from worried about a bunch of stuff, straight to the point of my stress.
I feel anxious in my sternum because I’m worried X will happen.
I feel tightness in my shoulders because X is coming up.
To help you feel your feelings, grab a pen and paper, and make two columns. On one side list all the great things that could happen from actually completing the task or project and on the other side list all the shit things that could happen.
As you’re writing your list, pay attention to the feelings in your body. Is it a tightness in your shoulders? A pit in your stomach?
Going through each potential positive and negative will allow you to identify the big culprits because you’ll actually FEEL them.
Maybe it’s the idea of having so many people sign up and then hearing that they hate your product and want a refund.
Maybe it’s the idea of launching your podcast, telling everyone you made a thing and then no one listening.
We come up with a dozen scenarios, sometimes without even realizing it. But the good thing is, if you’re able to recognize the actual issue and walk yourself through what could happen, your brain is actually more prepared to go forward.
I learned this in the book Ordinary by Adam Grant.
We’re either a defensive pessimistic or a strategic optimistic. While being pessimistic sounds negative, what actually happens is that you walk through all your doubts beforehand and it actually makes you feel more in control. Like you’ve already been through all the issues when you hit the launch button, hop on video, walk on stage.
If you feel like a lot of the things only your list are holding you back, I highly recommend my Solopreneur Success Journal. It’s 100 journal prompts and I’ve been going through the entire thing (I’m on day 70!) and I’m actually surprising myself with how much stuff I’m digging up.
(I literally keep stopping and telling my boyfriend, “This is really good…like i knew it was good, but it’s REALLY good.”)
When you figure out the issues that are holding you back, you’ll be better able to logic your way out of it. Emphasis on logic because I know it’s easy to fall straight into telling yourself, “That’s so silly, why did I let that bother me, I’m so dumb.”
Don’t go there. No need to judge it. Just acknowledge that the issue is not a worthwhile excuse and get that task done. We don’t have time for self-loathing over here!
Once you have a handle on the mindset issues that might be getting in the way, how do we keep things moving forward??
1 ➜ Focus on the next most important thing
This one of the reasons I’m always reminding you to plan ahead. If someone tells me they’re having a hard time showing up enough, creating enough content, emailing their list I ask if they plan their month in advance. And the answer is always no… or kinda….
Here’s the thing – if your month is planned, if the project is broken into tasks and set in your schedule, then all you have to do is the next task on your list.
This is one of the ways I’m able to stick to my deadlines. Because I can also get caught in the what ifs…, I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or am just too tired to figure it out. And on those days I open up Asana and just do the next task.
No worries. No thinking. Just action.
2 ➜ Think about who you are holding back from not finishing that task
I actually have a note taped to my wall where I see it every day. It’s says…
Who are you holding back every time you push a deadline, procrastinate, tell yourself that you’re feeling too stuck to do it?
Right now, think of an actual person – a client, customer, someone in your audience – who you know is paying attention to what you do.
When you show up on stories with a kid climbing over your shoulder they think – Ah if Kendra can do that I can too!
When you send out that weekly email they think – Crap, if Heidi can do it then I should too!
They want the knowledge, experiences, opportunities that YOU have and if you are doing something consistently, it gives them motivation, and even permission to do it too.
You could also be holding back getting things for yourself – taking time off, paying off that bill, investing in a coach, saving for a big purchase.
For example: I want to buy a house again. Every time I hold myself back from completing a task and keeping a project from moving forward, I’m pushing back my launch date, and also pushing back the date I can add more money into my savings account, which pushes back the date I get to buy a house.
It’s not selfish to let your dreams drive you. It can’t all be about go, go , going for your people because you’ll burn out.
Some of it has to be about YOU.
Do you want a trip to Paris? A new car? To pay off your credit cards? To invest in a coach?
Pushing back your daily tasks pushes back your dreams.
It’s easy to say “Yes I’m holding my business back” but think of the specific things that you get/get to do if you do the work, or what you’re pushing back, pushing away if you don’t do the work.
[ insert long pause for you to think of something ]
There is no excuse good enough to skip doing the task. Nothing that horrible will happen from announcing a lunch and then changing the date, launching a podcast to crickets, not having enrollments on your first course.
It’s not like if something fails you never get the opportunity to try again. You can always edit, adjust, and you will always grow.