Discover (Exactly) Why You Keep Procrastinating and Avoiding, Even Though You Wish You’d StopEditorial Team
By Erin Pheil, founder of The MindFix Group.
As entrepreneurs, we regularly run into roadblocks along our journeys.
Our job is to identify them, determine strategies to move past them, then move past them.
Quite linear and logical, eh?
With strategic challenges, this simple formula of “find a fix, and do it” is how we move forward and grow, incrementally.
For example, are you not closing enough sales calls?
Invest time and energy to study with an expert or get sales training and use a better sales script.
Challenge = overcome! That was easy.
Here’s the catch.
With SOME roadblocks we run into, new strategies don’t seem to work–no matter how hard we try to implement them.
What’s fascinating though, is that it’s not that the strategies are failing…. it’s that, like the coach in my example above, we just implement them.
We freeze. Then we procrastinate. After that, we avoid. And we conveniently forget or blank out.
As a result, weeks go by and we never quite seem to get around to doing what we know we need to do.
In other words, we KNOW we need to, to grow our business…we just DON’T. Even with accountability. Even knowing it’s for our own good.
In short, we act in a way that’s counterproductive to our success, and we don’t do what’s good for us.
As we become aware of these patterns of avoidance (whether self-discovered or pointed out by coaches, mentors, team members, spouses, or friends…), we often feel clueless about how to avoid procrastination and start to get frustrated with ourselves.
“What’s wrong with me??”
“I feel like I must be broken….”
“I’m so worthless… I keep sabotaging myself….”
This criticism only serves to add thin meta-layers of guilt and shame on top of the frustration we’re already experiencing from not doing what we know we need to do.
A story about a consultant that reached out to me:
A (very) highly respected consultant reached out to our company a few months ago.
Her business’s sales had initially stalled out in Q1, and by the time she called, monthly revenue numbers had been steadily sliding backwards.
She knew she was getting in her own way–and was standing directly in the way of her company’s success. She was convinced a bit of expert guidance would help her get unstuck.
What had she tried?
- Reading business books
- Delegating more
- Forcing herself to do what her mastermind colleagues had told her
However, nothing seemed to be working in the process of avoiding procrastination, though.
Every time she sat down to create content, to prepare her next offer, to accept an offer to be on a podcast or Facebook Live….she froze, stalled, or began procrastinating.
She didn’t know WHY she was self-sabotaging. But it was happening. Over and over and over again.
She reached out to us here at The MindFix Group to see if we could help her avoid procrastination and get unstuck.
Unfortunately, halfway through my first conversation with her, she suddenly convinced herself that all she needed was an accountability coach or an accountability friend to hold her feet to the fire to make her do what she was supposed to do.
Before I could share with her why that almost certainly wasn’t going to work for her, she abruptly ended the call.
I felt a bit of sadness in my chest as the call ended. I knew in my gut she’d talked herself into yet another solution that wasn’t going to serve her, and she was going to be in the same exact place a few months down the road. (More on this in a bit.)
YOU Make Sense.
Most importantly, we as business owners should know that we make sense. To clarify, your avoidance, procrastination, and what appears to look like sabotage MAKES SENSE.
As humans, we act according to what we believe to be true.
For instance, if you believe cats are dangerous, you will avoid cats.
Do you believe people are not trustworthy? Then you’ll be wary and skeptical of those you encounter until they earn your trust.
If you believe Republicans have better policies than Democrats, you will vote Republican.
Beliefs are like lines of code running in the background of our minds.
We are like computers, constantly executing those lines of code.
The tricky thing is, sometimes only a PART of us believes something. And oftentimes, we’re not even aware of what we believe. So, these lines of code keep getting executed outside of our awareness. Therefore, we feel confused about why we’re acting a certain way.
Let’s uncover why you can’t avoid procrastination & stay stuck
If you can set aside a few minutes to be honest with yourself, and contemplate a few simple questions, you may unlock an entirely new level of understanding about yourself that, if followed, can help get you unstuck and ultimately skyrocket the success you see in your business.
Here’s all you need to do:
Step 1: Clearly identify a “How I’m stuck” pattern
Make sure you identify what you’re doing (or not doing), how you feel, and when. For example, every time I’m asked to book a podcast interview, I feel deeply anxious, then I can’t just avoid procrastination and put the interview off to the next day.
(Notice above how we’ve identified a specific pattern. Patterns can be worked with and cleared. You’re not broken — you’re just a person with a pattern we get to work with.)
Step 2: Ask yourself a few questions
Remember: You make sense. You’re experiencing this pattern for a reason. Let’s see if we can’t shed some light on what this reason is. Ask yourself:
What might I (or a part of me) believe to be true that’s keeping this pattern in place?
How is experiencing this pattern actually SERVING me?
What competing commitment am I upholding by staying in this pattern?
Example 1: One client of ours who was experiencing panic every time she didn’t close a sales call asked herself the first question and realized she believed that she couldn’t be safe or successful unless she was perfect. Therefore every time she wasn’t perfect, she felt terror. She instantly uncovered the “line of code” that was causing her to have panic and dread each day, realized she wasn’t broken, and that she was acting exactly as it made sense to.
Example 2: Another client asked himself the third question above when he saw he was avoiding engaging in PR opportunities, and realized that not doing PR was upholding a competing commitment to “hiding”, which helped him feel safe. He gave his commitment to both promoting his brand and staying small — and finally seeing both of these competing commitments out in the open helped him make sense of his previously confusing paralysis and self-sabotage of not promoting himself.
You REALLY do make sense.
Taking some time to understand the fears, competing commitments, or “lines of code” that are keeping you stuck help you avoid procrastination. It will break away from feeling like something’s wrong with you and see yourself as a whole human being who’s acting in a way that makes total sense.
Step 1 is awareness.
Once you’re aware of what’s happening, you can change it.
Tools, processes, and experts exist to help clear competing commitments, delete beliefs and “lines of code”, and to address what you uncover. (I know this because it’s what we do at MindFix) The first step, though, is building AWARENESS of what’s actually occurring in your mind, and knowing you’re actually functioning in a way that makes complete and total sense.
Let’s say it again: You REALLY do make sense
So that highly respected consultant? The one that ended the call early with me?
She came back.
Six weeks later.
She’d tried working with a business coach who insisted he could tell her exactly what she needed to do.
Yet once again…. she never ended up doing what she knew she needed to do.
She didn’t need more guidance or data.
She needed to unblock herself.
In following the 2 steps listed above, she uncovered she had “lines of code” running in her background that insisted that she’d fail in business if she made any mistakes — and this was keeping her frozen. Of course, your mind won’t let you take action if it’s possible everything will fall apart if you’re not perfect. It made total sense. We were able to clear out the programming for her, and she was off to the races, making offers, building new programs, and skyrocketing her monthly revenue in no time at all.
You can do the same.
Most importantly, identify a clear pattern where you feel stuck (so it’s a pattern and not part of “you”), then uncover the beliefs, lines of mental programming, or competing commitments that–when you see them–make you say “AH YES!!! OF COURSE I’M ACTING THIS WAY!”.
Certainly, you can’t underestimate the relief you will experience with this new awareness and clarity. You’ll have taken an important step forward in being able to do what you need to do to build and scale your business.
You’ve got this.
I’m rootin’ for ya.
Erin is the founder of The MindFix Group. Leaders and entrepreneurs work with her when they are unable to live up to their potential and want to feel unstuck by rapidly and permanently eliminating their biggest mental roadblocks. Her work allows leaders to rapidly eliminate their stickiest blind spots, fears, insecurities, self-doubts, imposter syndrome, and anxieties holding them back in just an hour or two a week.
Smart Hustle Resources:
Procrastination – An Entrepreneur’s Nemesis
Put a Pause to Procrastination by Blocking Your Time