I’ve met a new wise woman, Kathrin Lake, www.kathrinlake.com Check out her blog and, if you live in Vancouver, hear her speak at the eWomen Network event, November 18, 2009 at The Teahouse in Stanley Park. To register go to www.ewomennetwork.com Vancouver.
Kathrin has very kindly given me permission to reproduce her latest thoughts. Let me know what you think.
Kathrin’s Blog from October 9th, 2009:
Procrastination and Power
Just when you think you are rid of it, it rears its ugly head again. Those who know me, and have been to one of my workshops, know that I like to look at what’s behind procrastination. And a large part of what’s behind it is self esteem issues. So, being an “authority” on this subject, what happens when I notice that I am procrastinating again? There are four steps: 1) I become aware of it and don’t make excuses. 2) I ask myself if I have been maintaining my self-esteem. 3) I ask myself what frightens me about this thing that I am procrastinating on. 4) Take the action to undo those things I discover and move forward.
How do I know I am procrastinating? Essentially, I know I am procrastinating when I am ignoring priorities. The thing that is important (but not urgent) gets ignored while I do the menial things which may or may not be urgent, but have no great consequences to my life if left undone, or delayed. Usually the important thing is important because it can change the course of my future in some way.
I ask myself if I have been maintaining my self esteem because I know that people with high self esteem do not tend to procrastinate. I also know that self esteem isn’t something that comes with a lifetime membership. Just like with our bodies, we have to maintain our self esteem. So, am I telling myself positive things about myself consistently? Or is there something negative happening, that I am allowing, that is chipping away at my self esteem? Do I nurture my soul by including enough soulful things in my life daily, like laughter, hugs, playful fun, positive people, art, music, and other things?
I ask myself what frightens me about this thing that I am procrastinating on? I do this is a gentle way, as if I were asking a child about the monsters that she is sure are under the bed. I know it frightens me if I am avoiding it that much. It means that I have given that thing greater power. I have decided that it may be more powerful than me. I am not up to it. It is overwhelming to me. But is that true? That is why this is so carefully linked to your positive self image. Who has the power? The thing that is sitting there inert? Or me, who has the power to accomplish and change things? If I keep asking myself, what frightens me about this thing, I discover what is at the bottom of it. Maybe I am avoiding it because, I am really avoiding making another choice that my heart and soul wants me to make, but my self image right now thinks I am not ready for, and better to play it safe. Yes, sometimes it will reveal that I am procrastinating for a positive reason. However, remember that most of us freeze from doing anything at all in these cases because we are afraid of making a mistake with consequences, whichever way we go. If I ask my higher self esteem self what it thinks may happen if I take the next small step towards this thing that frightens me? What’s the worse thing that can happen? In most cases, my high self esteem self says, in essence, that the worse that can happen is that I will learn more. I will learn more about this thing, but also I will learn more about myself, and will be more certain of who I am and what I want.
After analyzing why you are not progressing, you need to take a step forward in one direction or another. If the direction is to close the book on one path, but open another, then so be it. If the step is that you need more information or guidance, you can go get it. Think small. Think first steps. Think about focusing on the positive you and giving yourself more pats on the back for each thing you do.
It has been repeated many times that the things we regret are the things we didn’t do. It also is true that we give things more power by making them big, when we can start with the small. We can realize that the consequences, especially for first steps are not as great as we thought, or may have only positive consequences. This is the power of viewing things realistically from your higher self esteem self. You may want someone to coach you through this process, in order to ask you, and get the answers to those important questions. Remember, even coaches have coaches.