in Personal Growth | posted by Pat
Are you a procrastinator? Do you use this title frequently when speaking about yourself? What if you were to choose not to use this word when describing who you are to others? What if you decided you were not a real procrastinator, but rather only in some areas you resist doing. Would you look at yourself differently?
When you use this word to describe yourself, you are blocking yourself from moving forward in the areas you struggle doing.
I believe we torment ourselves with our thoughts that we are not good enough, doing enough, having enough and so we label ourselves. One of those labels is “procrastinator.” You say it enough that it becomes a belief as well as a shortcut around who you are in your life. Using a global word starts to define you, and before you know it, this is who you are, will always be this, and maybe you think it’s hereditary.
Our thoughts are powerful and when we go global and say, “I am a procrastinator,” you block your mind from moving forward and making any changes. It accepts your label and doesn’t provide you with possibilities of being something different.
When you speak to people you love, do you choose your words wisely as not to hurt their feelings? You probably do that. Well, you need to provide the same loving care to yourself. Let me share a story on my “procrastinating” journey and how I got a big awakening on the power of my thoughts.
It’s 2003, I just was laid off from my Human Resources Manager job, along with several other Managers worldwide. It was about consolidation of resources, and I was a resource no longer needed. That was my negative thinking at the time, though subsequently, it was a good change for me as it took me down different roads that I probably would not have ventured.
One of those roads was to train at International Coach Academy, an online school for Coaches. I wanted to coach others and needed to learn the necessary tools so that I could be of value to others.
Early one morning (6 am), students from around the world were discussing procrastination and how to help clients get past this behavior. Like most of my life experiences, I was learning for myself as well as for others. I flippantly labeled myself a “procrastinator” and had carried that title around with me for many years. We practiced coaching with each other, as to learn how to dig deeper with our clients to help them move forward in their lives. Anyway, I played the client and stated I wanted help with my procrastination.
This wise person, who probably is a great coach now, ask me if I am procrastinating in all areas of my life. My response was “of course not.” She then proceeded to ask me what areas, do I not procrastinate. In most areas of my life, I’m organized: I pay my bills, keep an organized home, am available for my family & friends, etc.
Then she questioned me about areas I struggle to complete. Mainly around work or learning something new. Most of the time, when something felt challenging, and I did know what to do, I would wait until the last minute to tackle the activity. Other times, I was bored and didn’t want to do the work. There were other behaviors, though these were the most prominent.
Her response was “well, it seems to me you are not a true procrastinator, but instead need to look at the reasons why you resist acting and moving forward in some areas of your life.
There was a part of me that wanted to disagree with her, but in fact, she was correct, I didn’t procrastinate all the time. It was strange as well as a relief to let go of that global title around who I am, yet I’m glad I did. By no longer hiding behind the title, I started to make changes in my life.
Why is this little story important? When you state you are a procrastinator, you can’t see those areas where you perform quite well. Some people are creative and have no problem getting involved with their work, yet doing paperwork is a monumental task, and hence they start thinking they are “procrastinators.” Why not try the exercise I went through many years ago, and still use when I go global with my thinking:
Create two columns:
This information is the beginning stage in creating new possibilities in your life.
Start now to break down the belief that you are a procrastinator and acknowledge areas you don’t struggle and areas where you struggle to move forward.
You may be tempted to say “there are no areas in my life where I’m doing the work with ease.” Then list the different roles you play: student, mother, daughter, sister, wife, worker, dancer, artist, etc. Look at each part of your life and see the positive aspects of what you do that enhances you and the people in your life.
This awareness was profound for me because I could reframe my thinking and start to tackle those areas that stopped me from living an easier and fuller life.
Holding on to the “procrastinator” title doesn’t offer you any new knowledge, doesn’t provide you with any possibilities and continues to brand you unnecessarily.
So what do you think about my thoughts on the title “procrastinator?” What have I missed that would have been more helpful in letting go of struggling and embracing ease in your life. I have a reminder on my desk “I choose ease.”
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