Procrastination and personality I: the fearful

Procrastination and personality I: the fearful

Procrastination is a very common problem among professionals and business owners and entrepreneurs. We know we have an idea. We know what we want to achieve and we know that we have to do something to get started, but suddenly it is like we sabotage ourselves. Something happens and then we just can not  complete the project. We jump to another business idea, one which seems more profitable. This is called shiny object syndrome, another face of procrastination.  One important thing to realize is that there are many types of procrastinators and each type needs different steps in order to overcome. I have distinguished at least 6 types, but in this series I’m going to talk about 4 that I consider the most common — and by the way, here is a link to download my free guide to understanding and overcoming these problems in a booklet summary.  Here also is a link for a quiz to find out what kind of procrastinator you are.

“there are many types of procrastinators and each type needs different steps in order to overcome”

The first type of procrastinator is what I called “the fearful procrastinator.” If you deal with this type of personality you cover your fear of leaving your comfort zone with “safety” or “prudence.” You feel you have to proceed carefully with the steps you take in a project. You try to gather as much information as you can to make a decision. Yet, even after making your decision, you get confused and have second thoughts. Going deeper, you doubt your skills and need others to help you gain  confidence.  Yes, we all hate uncertainty. We hate things, events or situations we can not  control.  The key to success is to keep moving forward, even when we do not see a clear way, or even when others do not  see our vision. This seems difficult to do when you are a fearful procrastinator. This is part of our human nature. It does not necessarily have anything to do  with lack of discipline, which is something we will discuss later. We avoid what causes us pain or whatever is unpleasant, because this activates the flight-or-fight chip in our brains– the famous amygdala. But if you are this type of procrastinator, this pattern dominates you and keeps you from taking the steps to move forward. This happens not only in business or work, but in many -if not all- areas of your life. For instance you are afraid of eliminating a  toxic relationship, but you are afraid of moving on without them. , You are afraid of making a certain investment, etc. and so on.  This is because you fear what will happen in the future.  Again, you see that we all experience fear in situations we do not like but we decide to move forward anyway simply because we have to. We realize  the goal is bigger than our fears. The question is, “How do I change?” What steps do you  take if you are this kind of procrastinator? There are many steps you can take and many techniques that you can apply. We can not cover them all but here a few:

  • You have to reaffirm your identity and be aware of the things God says you can do. You see, when God met Gideon, He called him for what he was:  What does God say you are? Think about it and let me know your answers in the comments. 
  • Be aware and acknowledge you have this problem, but avoid the “I am” language. This is important because if you want to create a change in your subconscious mind that by the way determines more than 90% of what you do you start here, acknowledging the issue. Our brains work well with goals; goals you have to commit to. When I talk about “I am” language I mean avoid saying things like: “I am a procrastinator”, ” I am a failure”, “I am lazy”, you reaffirm what you say: if you put these words your brain will look for evidence to support your statement.  
  • Ask the right “what if”… what if it works? What if it goes well? What if it turns out to be profitable? What if there is a real audience who likes you? Ask what is the worst that can happen if you fail? Is it even possible? 
  • Reflect on the opportunities you missed for procrastinating. And I heard this one from Tony Robbins: “We change with pain.”
  • Do some visualization work. See yourself accomplishing projects. How do you feel about it? How do you see yourself?
  • Acquire an accountability partner who will encourage you along the way. It is one of the most powerful tools to overcome. If you need it, here is a link to book a free 45-minute breakthrough call with me or someone in my team.
  • Take a leap of faith. Remember God doesn’t have plans of calamity.  When we do not live by faith, James says that we are unstable in ALL our ways. (James 1:6-8). So, the best way to attack the problem is by taking a small step forward. One small step is always better than no action at all. 

So let’s recap:

  • Reaffirm your identity.
  • Be aware of the issue. 
  • Ask the right questions:  “what if”… what if it works? What if it goes well? Ask what is the worst that can happen if you fail. Is it even possible? 
  • Reflect on the opportunities you missed by procrastinating.
  • Do some visualization work. 
  • Get accountability.
  • Take a baby step of faith.

You can watch this lesson in video here. Blessings!  

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