I can be a procrastinator at times (even about things I want to do!) and have been thinking about the combination of things that leads me to procrastinate and how I might address that. I realized that it`s the intersection of three things … thinking that whatever I need to do is too big, too hard and that I have to do it all at once. I love blogging, for example, but if you have been following my blog you know I go through periods of regular blogging followed by no blogs for months!
I realized this past fall (after not having blogged for over six months!) that these three things were at play. So I was able to start again by telling myself to spend 10 minutes just thinking about the blog, even if I didn`t do anything else with it that day. Well, to my amazement I did an entire blog that day!
I have a work project right now that feels too big and too hard and so I am reminding myself of bigger and harder projects I have done. Then, I am committing 10 minutes towards the project. This combination seems to be working for me for now!
What are your patterns of procrastination and how have you deal with them?
I’m a bit of a biography nut and was intrigued by an article on Bruce Springsteen in a recent Vanity Fair article. In it he stated that, ““You have to create the show anew, and find it anew, on a nightly basis,” Springsteen said. “And sometimes,” he concluded, laughing, “it takes me longer than I thought it would.” Later on in the article, he says, “I’ve always felt a lot in common with Sisyphus. I’m always rolling that rock, man. One way or another, I’m always rolling that rock.”
I was struck by the connections to creativity and leadership in what he said. Our creativity gets expressed when we continue to push that rock uphill. In my case, just because I may have created a blog I really liked yesterday (or many other previous days!), doesn’t mean I don’t have to go through my creative process again and find some inspiration. While my creative process might become familiar to me, I don’t know that it’s gotten any easier. Some days that rock is pretty heavy!
And this is certainly true of leadership as well. We need to show up every day and find the inspiration and best parts of ourselves. Just because we made a difference one day doesn’t mean we don’t need to do the same the next day. We have to recreate our passion and commitment for leadership every day. And that, too, can feel like pushing a big rock uphill.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious. Carl Jung
“What most concerns you about the upcoming team session?” I asked one of my clients. I had been hired by the manager to help the team rebuild trust after a rather messy and complicated situation left many deeply hurt.
“That things will get really emotional and end up being worse.”
“That’s a pretty normal response,” I replied, “but surfacing those emotions in a healthy way will lead to healing and transformation for the team.”
My client looked skeptical but knew that not doing anything was no longer an option as people were avoiding each other and the morale was in the tank.
Dealing with those dark emotions we go to great lengths to hide is indeed uncomfortable. But hiding them leaves us depressed, anxious and stuck (and perhaps broke, overweight and alcoholic, depending upon what you do to keep them hidden!)
The next time you find yourself hiding from a dark emotion, take a moment, breathe, and:
- Surface the emotion.
- Name it.
- Experience it fully – where do you feel it in your body?
- Accept it as a part of being human.
- Ask yourself “What’s possible from here?”
- Consider developing a mantra, like the one I developed in the image above to help you move into those dark emotions.
A big thanks to Lisa Sonora whose 30 day journal challenge led to me developing this mantra and blog.
Transforming dark emotions is at the heart of my book, How to Forgive Your Boss. Visit the website and you can download the first chapter free.
For anyone engaged in or facilitating transformative learning, let’s not fear those tears. They can mean anything and, in my experience, are often relief from carrying around things that no longer work. Create a sacred space for them instead of trying to force them to stay hidden.
I have had several conversations the last week about how it is we change. There are many who believe that unearthing how we think about things is a key step in the change process, a great example the work of Kegan and Lahey who wrote Immunity to Change. I believed strongly in this for many years and find their model very powerful.
Then there is the compelling research of Amy Cuddy who suggests we fake it till we make it. In essence, we need to act like we are confident, happy, a leader, creative etc and eventually our thoughts will catch up because we will start experiencing something different.
As with many things these days I am starting to think it’s both, not either or … And depends on the person. For those given to endless negative rumination, faking it gets them out of their head. For those given to lots of action, getting into their heads might slow them down and lead to the change in behavior.
What do you think? What has led to your significant changes?
As leaders we do need to look after ourselves and I know many who make a visit to the spa with girlfriends a regular self-care ritual, myself included. (Not to overly stereotype but in my experience more women than men do this.)
When one of my clients said to me that the spa just wasn’t cutting it anymore, I took real notice. In the conversation that followed she explained her desire to take stock of her life, and bring some new energy and insight to it.
This takes courage and reminds me how important it is to make time for inner personal development work. The spa, while a temporary reprieve, just doesn’t really cut it when your soul is yearning.
I’ve observed and personally experienced different approaches to loss over the years. Whether it is personal or professional, minor or devastating, it seems that those who consistently “numb” (whatever that might be – working, drinking, dwelling, exercising too much, etc) seem to get stuck, often regress and sometimes even bring about their own death, metaphorically and physically.
Those who engage in learning reinvent themselves, often creating meaningful legacies around their particular loss or just finding new meaning and energy in their lives.
Some would say that without loss there is no growth or movement, that it’s actually necessary in order to create or bring about something new. As I reflect on my life, I agree. Our challenge it seems is to know when to stop circling the drain and get on with reinventing ourselves.
There is an inverse relationship between accepting what is instead of wishing it were different. The more we can accept the less than ideal boss, family, job, the less suffering we experience and, ironically, the better things get.
This is not a single moment in time, but rather a gradual process of acceptance, at least in my experience.
What’s one thing you can accept that will ease your suffering?
I was inspired yesterday by the beautiful fall colors and took this photo on my phone. It got me thinking about the seasons and how important it is to take note and honour them. I used to miss the beauty and meaning of the fall because I loved summer and hated winter and so the fall just reminded me that summer was over! I am getting over that and appreciating what each season brings as opposed to wishing it away.
Fall and winter clear the way for new growth; they give us a blank slate from which to create. Fall is a time to harvest and celebrate what we have planted and grown; winter allows us to take a pause and think about what other possibilities are out there for us.
What are you harvesting and celebrating in your own life? Take time to honour the fall!
I started visual blogging as a result of a 30 -day challenge over two years ago. Then I used my iPad mini, and the apps Paper by 53 and WordPress. I just purchased a new iPhone 6S and both of these apps are now available on an iPhone. Today I am starting a new 30 day challenge, to blog everyday using only my iPhone.
I have been thinking a lot about my blogging and visuals over the past year and wanting to change them, breathe life into them, adapt them, you get the picture. But I have just been thinking and trying to figure it all out. I realized it was time to just take a step and see where it would lead me. So here I go.
And my question to you … what is something you have been thinking about and thinking you need to figure out entirely before you will take action? What if you just take a step?