Procrastination Is Really Just Fear
Would you call yourself a procrastinator? Do you often wait until what you consider is the ‘perfect’ moment before you start a task or to work on your dreams? There have been times when I’ve put things off until I have what I feel is the perfect situation. More money; more knowledge, or more motivation. And sometimes the things I have wanted to do, never got done because of me procrastinating over small decisions and waiting for those perfect moments.
Many of us have been taught that procrastination is laziness and lack of motivation to pursue dreams or even to get simple household chores done. That can lead to us feeling bad about ourselves and our lack of productivity which in turn leads to further demotivation and the inability to ‘get going’.
However, procrastination is really just fear. When I heard this on a Rich Roll podcast, my ears pricked up and I really did get that feeling of a lightbulb being switched on in my brain. I’ve tried my hand at writing, handmade jewellery, handmade cards. I even tried DJ-ing at one point! But I never pursued anything enough to bring it to fruition. I had always thought that I had a problem committing to things and was always looking for the next shiny object to distract me. I began to see though, that a lot of the dreams and ideas I had wanted to pursue and hadn’t, were mainly down to my fear of failure.
Although I have improved enormously in managing my procrastination, it still rears its ugly head once in a while. So what reasons are there for our procrastination, and how can we lose that fear?
1. Fear of not knowing where to start - this can stop people from getting going before they’ve even begun. Say you want to set up a small business creating websites for other businesses. Although you have the technical and creative knowledge to design the websites, you don’t have the knowledge it may take to set the company up for things like VAT or accounting.
You don’t have to know everything to begin with. Half the fun of growing your own business or creating your dream life, is learning as you go along. Ask others who have been through similar situations or search the internet - there is a lot of information out there!
2. Fear of leaving the comfort zone - we all get very comfortable in our daily routines and when we want to pursue something outside of that, it can become loaded with fear. Fear of what we will have to sacrifice to get what we really want. Such as spending less time with family or friends. Or having to spend a few weekends studying after a full week of work.
If you really want something, you have to put in the work and some things may need to be sacrificed. It really is that simple. If you want something bad enough, you will do the work and make the sacrifices.
3. Fear of what ‘may’ happen - otherwise known as making up scenarios in your head to put yourself off from doing what you want to do! This is something I was very good at. I would have an idea about what I wanted to do - take an IT related course for example. And before I made any commitment, my mind would go off in different directions telling me why I shouldn’t. ‘You will need to study every night when you get home from work’; ‘You’ll tire yourself out’; ‘You won’t get to see your friends for the next few months’. On and on it would go until I’d talked myself out of it!
Concentrate on the present because you cannot control the future! When I finally decided to pursue some of my ideas - like starting a blog two years ago - I actually started wondering why I didn’t do it sooner. Rather than all the things I was worried about missing out on, I saw all the positive outcomes and emotions that taking that step brought to my life. And that has helped me to pursue my other dreams, like my coaching business!
4. Fear of failure - this is the big one. This is the one that stops most people dead in their tracks. We are conditioned to believe that if we fail at something, or it isn’t as much of a success as we wanted, then others will judge us, or worse, laugh at us. We are taught that failing is something negative that we should avoid at all costs.
There is nothing wrong with failure. I’ll say that again. There is nothing wrong with failure. Failure teaches us lessons. How to build self-worth; how to find our true passions; how to rely on ourselves and how to have courage to carry on regardless of what we think we’ve failed at.
Procrastination is not about being lazy or not being bothered to do something. It comes from a deeper place than that. And that place is fear. Until you can identify and work through what your fear is and why it’s stopping you from pursuing your dreams, it will continue blocking your path to a more abundant life. So, what are you waiting for? Your dreams are calling!