This insidious disease masquerades as
–Perfectionism (as soon as I get it right)
–I have to handle the latest life challenge (as soon as I sell/buy/clean my house)
–I don’t have enough money yet (as soon as I have more money)
–I’m too young (as soon as I have more authority, more experience)
–I have no time (as soon as I finish this class/project/the wedding/divorce)
–I’m too fat (as soon as I lose weight and have more confidence [my favorite])
You get the idea. We have so many excuses of why we won’t do something until as-soon-as “Whatever” is taken care of. The thing is, that as-soon-as has a tendency to never come.
The way to stop procrastination, to Just Do It, is to surrender to process and just take ONE next action. You don’t have to do it right, or know what will come next. You DO have to know where you’re headed so that you can course correct along the way.
I remember when I was 28 years old on a bike trip in Connecticut with a group of people I didn’t know. There was a good looking 21-yo guy talking about a canoe trip he was going to lead in August starting in Ely, MN, canoeing 100 miles through the wilderness of Canada, with 40 portages (carrying the canoe over land from one lake to another).
The idea appealed to me. I was a teacher at the time, so I had the summer off. I didn’t think about whether or not I could do it. The trip was about $400. I don’t remember if I had to buy a sleeping bag. I know they provided the tents, canoes, food and main gear. I did it. There were 9 men, 3 women, plus 2 guides.
At the end of the first day, I was exhausted and unsure of my capacity to endure a week of this.
At the end of the second day, canoeing in such pristine wilderness, the water so clear you could drink it, I thought maybe I could manage. As soon as the sun set, the lake had a palpable, black layer hovering over it that sounded like the hum of a turbo engine. Mosquitos. I was grateful for the tent, a few feet from the fire.
Day 3: I saw a giant bear. We had not seen another human being. The two other women and I took off our suits a little way away from the men and danced in the water. One guy joined us, then another. I was getting stronger and holding my own with my canoe and the portages. At night the mosquitos were back.
Day 4: Black flies mercilessly attacked us allllll day long. It felt sinister. As soon as we camped I went to bed, asking myself did I really pay money to do this?
Day 5: The wind blew against us on one of the larger lakes we crossed. It was hard going. I helped out another woman who was having a hard time. I wished I was stronger and more prepared for the physicality of the trip.
Day 6: This final full day was uneventful, except for the laughter, the skinny dip enjoyed by all, (even the grumpy old fisherman who was disappointed that he didn’t get to fish more before the mosquitos took over), the feeling of accomplishment as I carried the canoe the last portage by myself, freeing the woman who was complaining to take a rest.
This trip has never left me. It was one of my lifetime most memorable vacations. And, when I got home, I decided that I would do it again…As-Soon-As-I was stronger, fitter, more physically in shape.
You guessed it, I never did it again. I was never fitter or in better shape.
Imagine if I had said that when I first heard about it? Over 40 years later I remember every detail of that experience. I remember relationships, conversations, feelings I would have missed.
Imagine now if someone offers you an opportunity that makes sense, appeals to you, but you stop yourself with As-soon-as-itus, and watch your friend become a millionaire. You let your dream die, deciding that now it’s too late.
Or, you go for it and discover you are lacking in skills and knowledge, but you KNOW without a doubt that you can do this, that others have done it, that you will be one of the ones who gets there. YES. You don’t have time to waste getting it all perfectly. You do what you know how.
You make that first list, that first phone call. You make that first video. You make that first blog post. You get those first 1000 followers on twitter. You make that first presentation. You do that first 3 way call for a teammate. Every time you want to say, I’ll do that As-soon-as, you stop yourself from catching the disease and you GO for it. You are so busy making it happen that you don’t even think about procrastination.
It’s 3 years later. Which picture of your life would you want? The As-soon-as, that never even tried, or the one that went the distance?
As-soon-as-itus is another word for procrastination, putting off the new, the uncomfortable, the unknown…and never getting the satisfaction of doing your best, getting better and better and better.
Help me stop this lethal disease from spreading. Click HERE to meet my mentors that keep me healthy.
To your success, Sharon H Gist
inspiring and leading 1,000’s of others to live their dreams.” SHG