Drop Fear and Procrastination — for Real Success!

tomphoto_tiger_pitch_recover“I just can’t get myself to get to the gym,” Sam says.

“I don’t know what happens. Somehow, I just don’t get around to rehearsing before giving the presentation. And then I have to wing it,” Anita says.

Why do we procrastinate? Researchers note much of it arises from 1) anticipation of pain and 2) not knowing what to do. Even not knowing what to do causes pain. So, we’re back to pain causing procrastination.

Additionally, what does fear do to us? Many of us report that we’re afraid of something going wrong and causing us pain.

I submit to you that procrastination arises from fear.

Conventional Approach: Try to tough out fear and pain.


Extreme Confidence Approach: Place a system so you automatically do something positive when a Trigger hits you.

A system can be as simple as “send a follow-up email immediately upon hanging up the phone.” A system does not have to be elaborate. The point is to make your next action into something that’s automatic.

Successful people I’ve interviewed have demonstrated that they are skilled at dealing with fear and procrastination. They move forward at an extraordinary pace. Successful people do NOT rely on “I feel like it.”

Additionally, relying on willpower is the path to disaster. Why? Willpower wears out as the day goes along. Researchers note that we experience a form of fatigue arising from the exercise of our will with choice after choice.

Fortunately, I’ve developed a process that helps my clients and audiences. I call it S.P.A. (Many of us would like to relax at a spa. Creating success through S.P.A. leads to more “spa moments.”)

S – start well
P – preset
A – act

  1. Start well

My client, Marina, said, “It’s just getting started that’s hard for me.”
I replied, “What you need is a system. That is, we set a pattern.”

She mentioned that she was having trouble “getting around to renewing her driver’s license.”

“How about use this as your system?” I began. “Put the page from the Dept. of Motor Vehicles right in front of your desktop monitor. Place your passwords-book next to the DMV form. So tomorrow, it’s like you have already started. Remember two ideas: 1) Worst First – do the tough task first and 2) Make it easy for you to get in motion. (I call this the “Easy Part Start.”)

An important element of “start well” is to set a “starting ritual.” Researchers note that many successful people have some daily habit that gets them into action fast.

One of my clients, Amanda tells herself, “Just write. Toss clay on the table.” This is Amanda’s way of assuring herself that she can return and revise her writing (similar to a sculptor shaping the clay into a work of art).

  1. Preset

To overcome procrastination, use this method: “Preset the Trigger Sequence.”

First, I’ll identify a Trigger Sequence. Something in your environment (or even a recurring thought) pushes you into a reaction. The trigger plus your reaction is the Trigger Sequence.

Fortunately, you can take control. Before you get into a “hot situation,” make decisions about what your positive action could be. Such a positive action would replace an automatic negative reaction.

For example, my sweetheart returns home and feels like reaching for cookies. Fortunately, she has “preset” the situation with apples set out on the dining room table. Instead of reaching for a cookie, she grabs an apple. It works for her.

The point is: She knows she will be hit by the Trigger of “I’m home, and I’m hungry.” However, she has already “Preset the Trigger Sequence” to help her take a healthy action.

  1. Act

Sam, one of my clients, said, “I’m afraid of just acting in a haphazard way. Doing something wrong is worse than doing nothing!”

Within an extended conversation, I guided Sam with two principles:

  1. Motion Brings Clarity
  2. If in doubt, leave it out.
  1. Motion Brings Clarity

We’d like to avoid every misstep. However, it’s like we’re standing in a valley. When you start walking up the mountain, soon you’ll be able to see new peaks (new choices), you could not see from the floor of the valley. Taking steps forward and upward, yields new clarity.

  1. If in doubt, leave it out.

Still, you can protect yourself as you take action. For example, recently I received a email confirmation notice of an appointment with the president of an organization. I could respond by simply clicking “yes” (for “Yes, I am attending”).

However, I saw that my name was misspelled. I had the thought, “If I send an email to correct this person’s misspelling, it might bother her. It would be as if I’m criticizing her, and we have not even met yet.”

So, I used my focus-point: “If in doubt, leave it out.” I just clicked “yes” and left the idea of correcting the spelling of my name for during the in-person meeting.

In summary, to overcome procrastination (born of fear), “get strategic with it!” Use the process of S.P.A., so you can get in motion. Such action welcomes new opportunities.


Tom Marcoux
Executive Coach – Pitch Coach – Spoken Word Strategist

P.S. How fun! I’m giving a workshop on April 20, 2017 “Pitch with Extreme Confidence: The Pitch Hacking Method”
— to help people speak powerfully and get the YES they want.
You will learn to:
· Experience Real Confidence
· Seize the Investors’ Attention
· Answer Tough Questions with Poise
· Let Go of Fear and Nervousness
· Use Confident Body Language
· Handle Tough Moments (even if your mind goes blank)
To register – early bird fee of $10.00: https://www.meetup.com/Igniter/events/237843482/

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Secrets of Awesome Dinner Guests: What Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Helen Keller, and John Lasseter Can Teach You About Success … (The Power of Your Personal Brand)

Imagine dining with Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Helen Keller, and John Lasseter. These seven people share one thing: They’re great communicators. So this book will help you become a great communicator. “Marcoux especially stresses the importance of personal branding, of coming across as trustworthy and dependable.” – Einar Masson

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