“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
- 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).
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.
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:
- Motion Brings Clarity
- If in doubt, leave it out.
- 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.
- 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.
Executive Coach – Pitch Coach – Spoken Word Strategist
You will learn to:
Get the Advantages to take your business to a higher level. Learn Leadership Advantages, Pitch Advantages, and Success Advantages. To Soar with Confidence, you learn and use principles for top level communication to board members, team members and the media.
“Marcoux demonstrates how to “Prepare a Compelling Story that Moves Emotions.” He mentions techniques that he teaches clients for developing compelling Ted Talks.” – Dantalion Jones
Learn the vital skills of pitching your ideas and enrolling others into your vision. Get that “Big Yes” to funding your project. “This insightful book shows you how to zing a curveball right past the parts of the Hollywood exec’s brain that want to say no before you even make your pitch. You will learn what works when pitching, and more importantly, why, so you can get to YES much more often. Buy this book now. Consider it Spring Training before the big game.” – Danek Kaus
This invaluable guide, used by people in 15 countries and now in its second edition, will help you become immune to dark persuasion. Learn to use countermeasures to defend yourself against unethical persuasion and seduction tactics. Break any trance in which a salesperson is trying to get you to buy something not to your benefit. “Learn how to defend yourself against manipulation. Best book you’ll ever read to protect yourself, feel strong and move forward in your life. Highly recommended!” – Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter
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
Learn how you can tap into your natural gifts and tendencies to radiate Three Types of Charisma. Discover how to influence people with your words. “Marcoux explodes this myth: Charismatic people always feel comfortable before and during an important event, such as public speaking, networking or some other social event. This book shows how you can feel discomfort but still come across as confident and charismatic.The secrets include ways to radiate all three forms of charisma Marcoux describes as Warm Trust Charisma, Natural Charm Charisma and Magnetic Charisma.” – Danek Kaus
You want wealth, abundance and enjoyment–yes? Wouldn’t it be great to learn the real strategies that the Rich use to create Sustainable Wealth? This book takes you behind-the-scenes to what really works. You’ll see a lot of myth-busting, and you’ll learn the strategies that get real results. “Tom Marcoux gives you an inside look on the psychology of what it takes to be successfully wealthy in life. It’s more than just taking advantage of opportunity, but also about taking care of yourself. This book discusses a number of strategies that we often overlook when it comes to leading a successful life that leads to wealth generation.” – Barry Adamson II