Today I created a video to submit to a conference organizer to apply to be a speaker. I have booked speaking gigs in the past without anything so formal, but as I am stepping into this next level, I am challenging myself to do things differently - or things that I may not have done before.
So this wasn't really the kind of scary that I could feel in my body - not like when my 6 year old jumps out from around the corner yelling "BOO!". This is the kind of scary that had me put off doing it for weeks. This is the kind of scary that might result in me getting exactly what I want.
What's so wrong with that?
Nothing, really. But to my brain, doing something I have never done before is so scary that it's not worth doing.
Here's what happens in your brain when you do something you've never done before...
One part of your brain (the part that is responsible for the fight, flight or freeze state) is responsible for keeping you safe. So if you have done something before and SURVIVED, then it is OK to do it again. Even if that thing was something you wouldn't necessarily choose to do again - like eating sugar when you're stressed, or procrastinating.
When you do something you have never done before all kinds of things can happen to keep you "safe". And thank goodness for this part of our brains! This is the part that gets us out of danger (true danger), you know, like when a bear is attacking you. Well maybe we aren't attacked by bears anymore, but we have other kinds of stresses that tell our body to react in the same way - fight, flight or freeze.
So I guess my response to this scenario was freeze. I guess that is what procrastination showed up as for me this time. So here are the 3 things that helped me to do something new and different, and that felt a little scary to my brain and body.
3 Steps to Shift Procrastination
1. Accountability - tell someone this is what you are doing and ask for them to follow up with you until you complete it. (Thankfully I had my amazing team member working with me to keep me focused on accomplishing this.)
2. Add it to your calendar - yep, it's that straight-forward. Add the specific amount of time it will take you to accomplish the task to your calendar and do it.
3. Identify the prep work - what else needs to happen in order for you to complete the task when it shows up on your calendar. For example, I needed to take a shower (yes, simple, but I had to make sure that I had arranged my schedule so I get my movement in and hair dry before my scheduled time.), prep my content, arrange my background and lighting. Not a big deal, but definitely something that I could have let get in my way - if I hadn't planned for it.
When you have identified the prep work, then add that to the calendar as well.
I did it anyway.
This is one example of something that feels scary, but I did it anyway. It's also an example of one thing that can show up in your business that you might choose to do anyway. Even though this is just one example, the steps to handle it can be the same every single time.
With one exception...
What are you afraid might happen? Often there is a really good reason for not following through with a task, action, or the continuation of a habit like procrastination. That reason is there to protect you in some way to keep you safe, or keep your love or sense of belonging in tact.
If you find yourself just not able to create the change, or take the new scary action, you may need some additional support to identify what is deeper that is keeping you from stepping fully into this next greatest version of yourself. There's no judgement there, just understanding, clarity, and an opportunity to see things with a new sense of clarity.
What is a habit or behavior that is getting in the way of you creating exactly what you want? I would love to hear from you in the comments below, or drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.