2 Really Big Reasons Why We Procrastinate and the Hacks to Cut Them Out for Good

I want you to imagine living your entire life, day in and day out, unfulfilled.

What do I mean by “living unfulfilled?”

I mean living outside of the purpose for which you were created. And doing it every single day.

I cannot wholly envision nor interpret your imagery, but I am all too familiar with my own.

For years I spent time doing good things, but they were “the thing.” I’ve had a few different career paths, yet none of them were comprehensively the thing. I can see how all of them have instrumental in catapulting me to this point in my life where I am unwilling to maximize efforts outside of my true calling.

Have you arrive there yet?

I believe most women (and most people) want to pursue a meaningful path. And I believe that is you. I also believe pursuing a succinct and meaningful path is the only way to have the joy and fulfillment that pulls you out of the bed excited in the morning, while making it difficult for you to put away your aspirations at night.

Let me just say, the meaningful is within your reach.

Changing direction and pursuing a purposefully meaningful path is not easy. And it’s not for the faint at heart. It requires dedication, commitment, resilience, and a healthy dose of optimism. In addition to those requirements, there are some electives you will have to leave at the door. And one of the biggest electives women choose to take on but should leave behind is procrastination.

I recently conducted a poll asking women what was the number one reason they are not engaged fully in the purpose for which they know they were created, and I was not surprised to find procrastination at the top of the list.

It has been my experience that there are two big reasons why we procrastinate. Now I am not suggesting that these two big reasons are true of everyone who procrastinates, but most of us will be able to identify with them, and they will most likely encompass most of the folks we know.

Number One: Fear of Failure. What happens if I wholeheartedly pursue what I know is my purpose and I fail? My question to you is, what will happen if you succeed? There will always be some underlying fear, and a healthy unsettling may be necessary to drive the courageous actions we sometimes need to take to move along the intended path. Besides, if your aspirations are derived from your unique purpose and your pure motivation is to pursue it passionately, failure is not even an option.

Number Two: Crippling Perfection. What if it’s not exactly right and others criticize my effort, work, or product? My question to you is, what if your effort, work, or product helps someone else and produces value for the world because you decided to show up in this way? No one is perfect. I think the vast majority of people would prefer authenticity over pretentious perfection anytime.

Listen, I have been in both places. Not wanting to fail and tweaking a project to no end to get it “just right.” Neither one has any forward movement. And neither has the opportunity for growth. Now, I realize that I simply cannot fail at living my purpose. I have a built-in fail-safe: only doing what I am supposed to do. And when I spend too long on a project, I have the coaching conversation with myself, get unstuck, and release the project.

Since this post is not about me but rather to encourage you, let’s dive into the hacks you can take to cut these two problem areas out for good.

Fear of Failure:

  1. Spend some time getting resolute in purpose. Start with your why and stay cemented there. If you are following through on what you were created to do and you are firmly planted in the why of what you do, you will not be easily derailed into the perils of discouragement and fear.
  2. Draw strength from your support system. Your support system is very valuable. By support system, I mean those people in your inner circle who you trust and you know are concerned about your well-being and success. Remain in close contact with your family and friends during those times of discouragement.
  3. Get clear about your goals. What are you wanting to accomplish? Get specific about your intention. Sometimes we take on too many goals, spread ourselves too thin, and then have trouble achieving what we set out to do. It may also be that your goals are too broad or too nonspecific. When you narrow the focus because you are committed to the result that pertains only to your why (your purpose), then you will be less focused on failure.
  4. Replace the word failure with the words learning, growth, and opportunity. Every time we are not as successful as we would like to have been, it is an opportunity for growth, development, and learning. When we take this view, we will consciously look for ways to grow. We expand and remain open to possibility rather than restrained and limited. Knowing that every occasion yields space for growth and learning promotes eagerness to press forward.
  5. Picture serving just one person. Focus on the one person who represents the target audience you want to serve. I’ve learned that everything is not for everybody, but it is for somebody. What if you helped one person? Look for rewards in little numbers and small audiences. Embrace noble intentions to dismiss the fear of failure.

Crippling Perfection:

  1. Get real and get understanding. Get real: no one is perfect. When we start from that understanding, we can make proper assessments when we have issues with precision on various projects and endeavors.
  2. Define the point. What’s the point? Is the endpoint to deliver a perfect product or is the endpoint to add value to the intended recipient. Now, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t care about delivering quality products or services (we should); however, it is to say that we shouldn’t obsess over quality to a crippling degree.
  3. Use your support system. Yes, I know we have mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning twice. Your family and friends can be an extra set of eyes to spot check your product or service if you have concerns. It may be a good idea to extend the opportunity for support to some acquaintances who may not be in your inner circle, yet they can provide valuable feedback and provide a more objective view.
  4. Have the conversation. What’s really at the heart of the matter? Why are you overly concerned? And so much so that it’s hindering you from forwarding movement into the unique purpose for which you were created? Some people will live their entire life and never know what you have discovered: purpose. Get to the bottom of what’s holding you back so you can move forward.
  5. Click send or post. Just do it. And learn to celebrate while the message is sending, while the service is on its way to the recipient, and while the product is being packaged. Courage is doing what is necessary while your knees are still knocking. Trust the process!

So there you have it! These are not textbook findings of how to deal with procrastination. These are tried and true hacks that I have (and still do) use in my daily efforts to get unstuck and keep moving forward.

I aim to give practical help that you can start using immediately. These hacks are good examples. Begin using them right now.

Don’t limit your beliefs but rather expand them! This world needs your unique gift and unique delivery completely engulfed by your predetermined purpose. Don’t let procrastination rob you of incremental success on your journey to fulfillment.

So what’s next? Next steps . . .

Still not sure how to move toward an intentional, fulfilling life on purpose? Let’s explore. Simply click below and schedule a 15-minute personal call.

Get started with this reflective tool, and share it with your support system for solid accountability. It’s a quick printable and fillable checklist that you can start using immediately! Download it, enjoy it, and share it with others!

Choose one or the other . . . or choose to do all three!

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