Embracing Imperfection; A High Achievers Guide to Overcoming ProcrastinationOct 01, 2023
As someone who works with entrepreneurs and high achievers, I can assure you that conquering procrastination is paramount to achieving high levels of success. So let's examine where procrastination comes from and ways to overcome it.
The Illusion of Control
Entrepreneurship is a relentless journey filled with unique challenges. Many of us are drawn to this path because we believe that being our own boss gives us complete control over our lives. While it's true to some extent, the reality is that entrepreneurship is far from effortless.
Decision fatigue sets in quickly as we navigate the countless choices that come with running a business. This overload of decision-making can lead to avoidance and procrastination. We find ourselves putting off tasks as we become overwhelmed by the internal chaos of constantly having to make choices. This is why many high performers like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama famously wear the same things every day. It eliminates at least one decision they have to make. Are there decisions you can eliminate from your day?
Fear: Failure and Success
Fear is a powerful force that lurks in the hearts of many entrepreneurs, manifesting in different forms. We often think of the fear of failure, the apprehension of attempting something and not succeeding. However, there is also a less-talked-about fear of success. I recently worked with a client who had a grand goal she wanted to achieve, but she was paralyzed by the fear of what might happen once she succeeded. She was afraid of the unknown, of how her life might change and how she would adapt to her newfound success. The fear of losing friends, being judged by family, or being unable to handle success created a barrier, leading to procrastination.
Our minds are wired to keep us safe. If we perceive that failure or success poses a threat to our safety or well-being, we are likely to stay stuck where we are. The good old comfort zone.
Perfectionism: The Paradox of High Achievers
Highly driven individuals often fall into the trap of perfectionism. We set impossibly high standards for ourselves and fear that anything less than perfection is not worth pursuing. I, too, have battled with this mindset. For me, it began in third grade when my father innocently asked where the missing two percent was on my math test. I internalized this comment and developed a fear of failure associated with anything less than 100%. This fear held me back from taking risks, trying new things, and embracing growth opportunities.
The paradox is that perfectionism is the flip side of the coin to procrastination. We procrastinate because we believe that if we can't do something perfectly, we shouldn't do it at all.
An Experiential Transformation
Overcoming procrastination and perfectionism requires a shift in mindset. I realized that I needed to step out of my comfort zone and embrace imperfection. With the guidance of my coach, I took on the challenge of doing live videos on Facebook. Initially, I procrastinated because I knew I wouldn't be perfect at it. However, the stakes were raised when my coach tasked me with completing 100 days of live videos or risk losing his guidance. Reluctantly, I began my journey, and through those imperfect videos, my business started to grow.
Over time, through practice and learning, I became more skilled at it. This experience taught me the value of progress over perfection.
What can you allow yourself to be imperfect at? It could be learning a new language, joining Toastmasters, taking up a new sport... it doesn't matter what it is. It's the act of starting something new that's important. Embrace being a beginner.
The Fear of Judgment
Beyond the fears of failure and success, there lies a deeper fear ingrained in our primal instincts: the fear of judgment. As social beings, we come from a tribal past where standing out could result in expulsion from the tribe, leading to certain death. Even today, this fear of judgment lingers within us, making us hesitant to shine brightly or make mistakes.
However, we must remember that the world has evolved, and embracing imperfection is not a death sentence. In fact, it often leads to growth and resilience.
Procrastination is a common struggle for entrepreneurs and high achievers, often rooted in the fear of failure, fear of success, and fear of judgment. By acknowledging these fears and understanding their origins, we can start to break free from their grips. Embracing imperfection, practicing progress over perfectionism, and redefining our relationship with failure are essential steps towards overcoming procrastination.
Remember, success is not about achieving perfection; it's about embracing growth and taking action despite our flaws. So let go of the fear, step into the unknown, and watch as your entrepreneurial journey reaches new heights. Until next time, stay focused, stay determined, and keep striving for success in mind.
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