I often don’t start tasks right away, but I’m not a procrastinator. Traditional wisdom would have us believe that delaying, even in the slightest, on starting a project is automatically avoidance.
But what about the times when it's not? Starting early in 2012 I knew I needed to find a new support person for my business. I had a project labeled in my new Evernote system inspired by David Allen in Getting Things Done. I thought about it quite a bit but couldn’t seem to take action on it.
Cut to the week before Memorial Day weekend. One of the women in my Mentoring Program was let go from her day job. This is someone who I’ve known for several years in a variety of capacities. I’d always been struck by her wisdom, impressive writing ability, and witty sense of humor.
In one fell swoop I got the memo from the ether to ask her if she wanted to come work for me. I knew I could pay her more than she was making at her previous job, that she understood my business and brand, and that she would probably have more fun working for me than for the company who let her get away.
So she said yes and my business has blossomed ever since. Among her many virtues are that Kathleen sees a bigger vision for my brand and me than I do, she thinks of ways to improve our products and services, she gives me honest, constructive feedback, and she over-delivers. I know my business is safe in her arms and I trust her to do the right thing. This kind of support has shifted my sense of possibility and safety on a cellular level. Because of bringing Kathleen on board I’m thinking bigger than I’ve ever thought before, but with a stronger foundation so my visions actually feel completely doable.
Had I gone out and mounted a campaign to find the perfect support person for my company back in January when I had the thought to do it I wouldn’t have gotten Kathleen. The minute I heard she’d lost her other job I simply knew I wanted to work with her. No application, resumé, or interview required. That’s the beauty of intuition. She doesn’t need references.
Next time you aren’t starting a project and you’re not quite sure why, try trusting yourself instead of beating yourself up. Labeling yourself a procrastinator just makes you feel bad and, whether it's true or not, is not going to help you take action. There are rare times when we can beat ourselves up enough to get ourselves to change in lasting ways. Love is usually a way better avenue.
Intuition sometimes likes to dress up as procrastination. She’s sneaky that way. She tip-toes around a task, sniffs it, turns it over a few times, perhaps makes a spreadsheet or list or two, then saunters away with a smirk on her face. She knows that more information is coming, that the time is not now, and that you’ll thank her for not starting when you find out the reason for the delay.
Some days you don’t start the book, don’t pick up the phone, don’t answer the email, don’t set the meeting, and don’t implement the strategy. Some days less is more. We have no way of consciously being aware of the myriad information available to us at all times. Luckily, our intuition has us covered. She’s not trying to delay your gratification or your progress. She’s simply looking out for you.
Is procrastination always intuition in a masquerade? No. Sometimes you’re just plain scared. I didn’t get Hay House a sample chapter and outline for my first book until four months after they asked for it. It wasn’t my intuition. I was just scared. But I loved myself in spite of my fear instead of making myself wrong and I got it all done in 24 hours when I was finally ready to put myself out there.
Trust your procrastination. She’s got some wisdom for you. She’s telling you there’s more information on its way. She’s whispering that your perfect new hire still has a few weeks at their current job before you can scoop them up. Sometimes she’s telling you that you’re scared.
She’s NOT telling you that you’re a bad person, a screw up, a slouch, or lazy. She’s NOT telling you to get it together, buck up, muscle through, or (wom)an up.
Procrastination only shows up when you need her. She’s a trusted friend, a confidante, and your girlfriend who has your back no matter what. Trust her. Listen to her. Get curious when she shows up.
Your procrastination is wise. Listen up when she shows up.
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