Here is how I learnt it…
Launching my blog (confidenceship.com) has been a fascinating discovery journey into the mechanism of procrastination and its connection with confidence and self-esteem.
I learnt that procrastination is the enemy of self-confidence, and that personal awareness is the key to stop the mechanism.
Let me tell you this story.
Launching my personal blog had been in the air for quite a long time. At the beginning the theme wasn’t clear. My broad intent was to share my thoughts and practice about organizations and human development. However, I thought the theme was too vague, so I decided to postpone the project…First good reason.
About one year ago the topic started to become clearer. As I was progressing with my own practice with our clients, the topic of confidence started to emerge as a compelling and resonating one.
It took me another 6 months before I really started working on the blog. Why so much time? Because of the second good reason: high workload on the customer side, strong internal activity in the consulting firm…and a few critical books I absolutely needed to read before I could start writing…
As I was starting to see the mechanism of procrastination in action, I made the decision to pay for the services of an anti-procrastination agent: a web consultant that would coach me for three months at an expensive price, forcing me to move ahead with my project. So I started! Apparently I had no other choice…
Surprisingly it took me a very short time to write the first 4 blog posts. Maybe two weeks. In parallel my wife helped with the graphics and the branding of the website. One month later, the blog was ready to be launched. This is when my new friend Mister Procrastination chose to wake-up, suggesting me the third very good reason for not lauching the blog yet.
– “Antoine, you French guy shouldn’t launch such a blog without a professional check of your English”
– “You sure?” I heard myself reply, “my English isn’t so bad…”
– “Just think about the impact on your personal image…. No, you can’t do it”
– “Well…I think you’re right. And after all two to three weeks more will not change a lot…”
So I searched for those services and found Mary, a very nice English professor leaving in the south of France. Three to four weeks later all articles had been checked, few corrections made, so the website seemed at last perfectly ready for launch…
Eh eh…don’t imagine that my friend had disappeared! He pointed his little head right after and advised me the next load of good reasons: I first had to learn how to make the best use of social media, start update my LinkedIn, Twitter, create my Buffer account and so on…
– “of course” I said to my new friend. “What would I do without you?”
So I did it…And again and again… 2 or 3 other very good reasons came next (such as the need to protect the brand) to convince me not to launch the bloody blog.
Summer holidays had now started and I was still the only reader of my articles…
My energy was at a low point, such as my self-confidence. I was just expecting my good friend Mister Procrastination pop-up again with another smart suggestion.
This is when I decided to learn more about him. After all we had started to become quite intimate. So I started to engage in several conversations, in which I learnt a lot.
– “Why are you always pushing me to postpone my project? You know how important this is for me”.
– “I do it for you my friend. Without my advices and good suggestions your blog would be a disaster, and you know it. And besides I’m not forcing anything, you are always the one who chooses”.
– “You mean I choose to procrastinate? You must be joking. If I could I would have launched this blog already several months ago”.
– “Are you sure Antoine? Can I ask you a question?
– “Sure you can”.
– “Could you make a list of all the inconvenients of finishing your blog?”
– “Inconvenients? But I told you this is one of the most important projects I have!”
– “I know, but think about it please…”
– “well, now that you talk about it, I see that by exposing myself in such a way I would take a huge risk that readers don’t like what I write, that maybe I get no followers at all. Worse, I would take the risks that my clients have negative feedbacks on my blog posts, up to the point they stop using our services. I could even be publicly humiliated…. Not even talking about the impact on my personal life of spending long hours on this blog after work…”
– “Quite right Antoine. All these are real risks. Do you start seeing all the good reasons why you are choosing to procrastinate?”
– “Yes I do…but if you say I am choosing, it means I could make a different choice…”
– “Of course you could”
– “The choice of ignoring you for instance?”
– “I’m afraid not my friend. If you try to ignore my I’ll come back stronger and stronger…”
– “Why so?”
-“Because I am your hidden fear. And fears don’t like being ignored”.
-“My fear? But what fear?”
“ For instance your deep fear of being judged incompetent, and therefore be humiliated”.
-“Humm, I think I recognize this one… But then how could I make a different choice? I want to launch this bloody blog!”
-“Simple! Instead of ignoring me you’ll have to look at me right in the eyes…”
-“What do you mean?”
“Let me suggest two things: first, during the next week, you will spend 15 minutes each day thinking about the absolute worst things that might happen to you after you have launched your blog. Second, you will write a blog post about it.”
Procrastination is not a weakness; it is choice, often based on tangible benefits.
But more often than not it is also the choice of not letting us be truly aware of why we make such choice. Consequences are that we progressively destroy our self-confidence and deplete our vital energy.
Only personal awareness leaves us the option of another choice.