This one is pretty weird, I have to admit. But it’s come up for me and a number of clients, so I put together this video to tell you a bit about how a strange kind of “inheritance” caused me to procrastinate and what I did about it.
You might have a similar cause of procrastination if:
You’ve taken care of everything you can think of and something is still holding you back,
You feel like there’s an odd energy that gets in the way of your taking action,
There’s a story of someone in your family who was prevented from reaching their big goal or goals.
If any of that sounds like you (or you’re just curious), watch the video to find out more about what this is and how to take care of it.
Don’t let someone else’s story stop you! When you’re ready to stop procrastinating and create the life you are meant to live, email me. We’ll set up a call to talk about what’s going on with you and see if I can help.
Over the last two months I’ve only done things that were essential, like taking care of my eleven year old and meeting with current clients. I haven’t done much of anything else in my business like marketing, networking, or creating these videos, even though those things are very important to me. Instead, I’ve rested, puttered about, and cleaned up the kitchen.
But it wasn’t procrastination.
Watch the video to find out what it was, and when it’s right to step away from your To Do list entirely.
You’ll find there are times in life when you need to stop what you’re doing to celebrate, grieve, or put all your focus on an emergency. When that happens, don’t try to guilt yourself into working anyway. Just promise yourself you will get back to your goals when you’re ready. And be gentle on yourself until then.
Watch the video to find out more.
Of course, if you really are procrastinating and you’re ready to stop so you can create the life you are meant to live, email me. We’ll set up a call to talk about what’s going on with you and see if I can help.
In the last few months I’ve stumbled across the most counterintuitive cause of procrastination you can imagine. More than half my clients have this problem. It slows them down. It gets in the way of accomplishing their goals. And it has led them to think they’re stupid. Or lazy. Or both.
The cause? Growing up gifted.
Now I truly believe everyone on the planet has gifts to share with the world. I’m not talking about that here. I’m using “gifted” in the technical sense of being really bright or having a high IQ.
You would think that someone who is gifted in that way has it easy. They get a high-paying job that funds a lavish lifestyle without even trying. They just create a brilliant business that changes the world. They easily turn their dreams into reality.
You would be wrong. Those who study the gifted have found that an extremely common outcome for gifted children is that they become underachievers as adults.
If you’re curious about why that would happen watch the video to find out one reason, and what I’ve been doing with my clients to change that outcome.
And please, please, watch the video if:
• You were formally identified as gifted as a child.
• Someone like a teacher mentioned how smart you were in a subject (which may well mean you were gifted even if you weren’t great in other subjects).
• You have a parent or sibling who was very smart (which means you very likely were too, even if something else prevented you from being identified as gifted yourself).
• You have a child you know or suspect is really bright (yep, another indication that you are probably gifted, too).
The video also recommends two resources you can check out that can help you make sense of what you went through and what you can do to achieve more in your life: sengifted.org (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted—SENG) and nwgca.org (the Northwest Gifted Child Association).
The experiences of growing up gifted often lead to conscious or subconscious beliefs that cause someone to procrastinate as an adult. And no one has to keep those beliefs. They can be changed. Watch the video to find out more.
When you’re ready to stop procrastinating and create the life you are meant to live, email me. We’ll set up a call to talk about what’s going on with you and see if I can help.
Now that Fall is really here and summer vacations are over, it’s time to start thinking about your next vacation. Really. You need to take breaks from work in order to do your best. A good vacation will send you back to the office refreshed, energized, and more creative. Go without a decent vacation too long and you actually put your job or business in jeopardy. You can lose your focus, start making obvious mistakes, miss great opportunities, and risk getting into fights with co-workers, your boss, or your clients.
Now, if you are going to go to the trouble and expense to take time off from work, do it right so you get the most benefit from the break. Here is an excerpt from my as yet unpublished book (working title: Living Better Than a Lottery Winner) which sets out four simple rules to actually get the benefits you need out of your vacation. I know, I know, these rules are easy to say but can be hard to do. If you’re thinking that, consider this: if you don’t do what you need to in order to get an adequate break from work, part of you is probably already working against yourself and on track for getting fired or sabotaging your business anyway, just to get the break you need, so you might as well do what I recommend here instead.
THE RULES OF A GOOD VACATION
Rule Number One: Do not spend time with family or friends on your vacation.
I don’t care how close you are to your parents, how much you love your cousins, or what a great time you had with your friends five years ago. Just don’t do it.
I don’t mean you have to leave your husband at home or the kids with their grandparents, although some people do need that much of a break from time to time. I mean don’t go stay with your parents for a week and call it a vacation. Don’t even make plans to stop by your aunt’s and uncle’s house on the Big Island in the middle of your time off. Think of your vacation as time away from all obligations, including familial ones. If you don’t, your break will end up feeling like one more chore and you will end up feeling like an overwound watch at the end of the trip rather than the limp, relaxed dishrag you are aiming for.
When I was in the process of burning myself out therapizing non-stop, I still spent holidays with family. I called them vacations. I lied. I came back from such “vacations” as tense and tired as when I left.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a great family, including my in-laws, and I love them all dearly. It is always important, fun and enriching to spend time with them. But it is not, I repeat NOT, a vacation. When you spend time with your family, or even your friends, you are “on” all the time to a certain extent. You are watching your Ps and Qs, and inevitably missing a P here or a Q there and feeling like a failure for fighting with your father over politics again or for not helping your sister with the dishes or for thinking of ways to avoid explaining why you’re not married yet or . . . . You get the idea. A break is where you get away from most of the expectations on yourself, not where you exchange one set of expectations for another.
So, no family or friends on your vacation.
Rule Number Two: Schedule a two-week vacation.
I know—you can’t possibly take two whole weeks away from work. Your To Do list is just too long, and no one else can do any of the tasks on it right. If you’re gone that long your boss will think you aren’t really committed to the job and your performance reviews will slip. That amount of time will allow your coworkers to snap up all the good, visible projects that could advance your career. I’ve heard all the excuses for not taking a two-week vacation. Now it’s time you heard the reasons you have to have one.
First, at some point I read about some research done somewhere showing that people do not relax for the first week of the vacation. They are still thinking about what they did or didn’t do before they left, and can Roger handle that presentation on his own, and what if I don’t get the numbers from Gigi right away when I get back, and what did my boss really mean when he said not to worry about the project—is he planning to fire me? Apparently, we all need that first week of vacation just to decompress in body and mind. The second week of vacation is where the real regeneration happens.
Second, you need all the regenerating that happens in that second week. Only then can you go back to work with energy, enthusiasm, and new ideas so that you don’t just do your job, you excel at it, get handed the stretch project that gets you noticed, strut your stuff and finally move into the corner office.
Finally, the alternative to taking the time you need is that you continue plodding down the path you are already on. At best, you’ll stay stuck where you are. More likely, you will get more and more tired, make more mistakes, and have less ability to deal diplomatically with boss, coworkers, and clients, not to mention what will happen to your home and social life. If it’s bad enough, you may even unintentionally screw up enough to get yourself fired just to give yourself the rest you need. I’ve seen it happen with more clients than I believed possible.
So plan for two weeks away from work. Then do it.
Rule Number Three: Rule Number Two means you need to take two weeks away from work, and what that means is no contact with work.
I mean it. Leave the laptop, Blackberry, and phones turned off. Better yet, leave them at home. Don’t let the office know what hotel you are staying at. Leave no contact information whatsoever in the wrong hands—by which I mean with anybody at work.
This means you will probably have to do some groundwork at the office before you leave. If in the past it was expected that you would take “working vacations,” it’s time to disabuse coworkers and bosses alike of the notion. A working vacation is not a vacation; it’s just work. You won’t get any of the benefits you really need from your time off. Be gentle, be firm, be strident if you must, but let people know that you will be out of touch from the time you walk out the door pulling out your hair until the time you walk back in with a tan and a smile.
I’ve known people who had so much trouble with this rule that they had to go somewhere where they literally could not be reached. Some options might be staying in yurts while trekking through Nepal, floating down the Amazon by raft, or snowshoeing to the South Pole. If this isn’t in your budget, you will have to learn to be firm and make yourself electronically unavailable to the office. Or drop your cell phone in the lake on your first day out.
Rule Number Four: Go away.
Don’t think that staying home and remodeling the bathroom will give you the R & R you need. It won’t. You’re just exchanging one To Do list for another. This does not give your body and mind the space they need to do the healing you need.
You also will not get the right kind of break if you plan to stay home and not do any of the chores on your list. It sounds good. I’ve tried it before. I told myself “Hey, I’ll just act like a tourist in my own hometown for a couple of weeks. I won’t have to do any planning. I’ll save tons of money. I’ll get to see all the places I keep meaning to get to.” But it didn’t work out that way. I ended up hanging around the house feeling guilty that I wasn’t being more productive. Plus, staying in the same old surroundings kept reminding my brain of the same old daily thoughts, which simply were not that restful or stimulating.
I’m not asking you to spend a lot of money traveling to Thailand or other exotic parts. If the most you can afford is a trip to a friend’s lake cabin in the middle of February when he’s not using it, then do it. If you swear up and down you cannot afford a vacation of any kind, I’ll even take the stay-at-home vacation as long as you promise to go somewhere you’ve never been and do something new each and every day. (It’s better than nothing.) All I’m pointing out is that you need to get away from your everyday routine to get any benefit from your vacation.
By the way, if you only get two weeks vacation per year from your employer, it’s time to do a serious evaluation of your job. Okay, if you are just starting out and you have to wait a year or two before you get more vacation time you’ll probably just have to tough it out. However, if you’ve already been in the same job for seven years and this is all you get and all you will ever get, ask yourself if the job is really filling your soul. It certainly isn’t giving you much time to pursue other interests, so if the job itself doesn’t fulfill you, then look for another one that either does or that gives you enough time for a life outside of it.
This is just my personal opinion here, but I believe staying put simply because your job pays you enough to have a nice comfy retirement isn’t a good excuse for keeping a job that doesn’t give you time for a life now. What kind of life will you have left when you turn sixty-five, anyway? If your job is that wearing it is probably affecting your health, so how much time will you really have left even if you make it to retirement age? In addition, your mood and imagination are getting ground down daily. How long do you think it will take to get them back once you retire?
So there you have it. If you want to reap the benefits at work of a good vacation, start planning that mid-winter break trip now. And don’t forget to follow the rules!
Last week I told you that research shows that you can become thirty-one percent more productive if you just get happy. At least, companies could get that “Happiness Advantage” when their employees followed certain exercises designed to increase their happiness. I know, however, that for people who are stressed out or feeling down, getting from where they are to a happy state can seem impossible. For those people I have an interim step: implement the Three-Legged Stool. (Of course, if you are truly depressed or anxious, you really should get yourself to see your medical doctor or a therapist first!)
The Three-Legged Stool is a little speech I give every one of my therapy clients (yes, I’m a psychotherapist in my other life) who suffers from some kind of depression or anxiety. There has been a fair amount of research showing the connection between the three steps I recommend and getting rid of, or at least easing, depression and anxiety. Although I have not done any research on the connection between the three legs and true happiness, my clients’ experiences gives me a strong suspicion that a good grounding in any or all three legs of the stool is also a good springboard to happiness, even in those who are not clinically depressed or anxious. So I offer it to you now.
One of my clients recently decided to take the plunge and expand her business into a more spiritually-focused area. She knows this is what she is supposed to do, has already had great experiences adding a spiritual aspect to her current offerings, and knows of people who make their living selling products designed to help their customers grow spiritually.
She was excited, got some great ideas for what to offer, started making plans, then suddenly her creativity just dried up. When I asked what was stopping her, she said she was afraid it wouldn’t make her any money. Since we had already looked objectively at the issue and recognized that spiritual growth is an expanding field with plenty of potential customers, I knew this was an emotional belief that was getting in the way.
When I asked who the fear sounded like most, she said her parents. So we tapped on her parents’ fears that you can’t make any money with that woowoo stuff. After about fifteen minutes, she could look at the fear in a detached way, knowing that it was her parents’ belief, not hers. Best of all, her creativity came back right away, along with her motivation to do what she needed to create her classes and get the word out to people who would love to take them.
This is a common outcome of tapping on such blocks. What was interesting to us was that other memories came up where she had heard of other peoples’ beliefs. We tapped on those too, even though she had not experienced those first-hand
This happens quite a bit. When you tap on the main source of a belief, other sources surface. It is important to tap on those messages, too, even if they weren’t originally addressed to you or if you only heard about them second hand. The fact that it came up while you were tapping means that you’ve internalized at least part of the message and it will slow you down if you don’t get rid of it.
So notice while you are tapping if other memories come up. Even if you don’t know how they are related to what you are working on, they are probably part of what is blocking you and need to be tapped away.
Sometimes it can be hard to identify all the sources of your own emotional beliefs. If you could use some help identifying the blocks you have and rooting them out, email me to set up a get-acquainted session by phone or Skype. I want to hear what you are struggling with, then we’ll see if I can help.