I’m talking about procrastination:
the different forms it may take
what it’s trying to tell us
and when it might actually be a form of intuition.
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MENTIONED ON THE SHOW
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
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In a lot of cases, I think procrastination may actually be trying to protect your future.
There’s always tomorrow…
Your future is a wonderful place — it’s where you keep all your great ideas and big dreams.
The only problem is that tomorrow is not today, and today is where everything happens.
Dreams are wonderful things to have around.
But, when you consider all the work involved in realizing them, dreams become daunting.
So you retreat a step — back to the fantasy, the brainstorm, the anticipation, back to the fun part...
You already have the Big Idea, and you can see the dream of your having reached the finish line, reaping the benefits of the follow-through… You can see the necessary action steps laid out before you — it’s a long hard road, but you can see where it leads.
So why do you stop, and not begin immediately taking the steps to get there?
Why do you come back again and again to this beautiful view of your goal and yet decide, each and every time, to put off beginning the work?
Is it because you’re lazy? Maybe you don’t have it in you to do the work. Or maybe it’s not such a great idea, after all, and you’d rather not face that fact.
Maybe you fear success, because your success will have repercussions.
Maybe you’re just preserving the dream. Maybe you’re protecting that gorgeous view of your horizon, forever filled with possibility.
You love having a future where your dreams come true.
Admiring your pretty future is a promise. That promise doesn’t change the present, but it makes the difficulty of Now more bearable.
If you achieve your dream — if you arrive at your goal — if you successfully bring the future into the present — then to some degree, even if you do make it happen, and you’re wildly successful, you have destroyed that vision of the future.
And even best realized plans are only shades of the original vision.
That original vision’s not out there anymore, whispering to you of a better life, someday — it becomes real, it starts happening. The future is changed.
By keeping a dream alive in the future, you are protecting hope. You love that potential, and you don’t want to see the end of that gorgeous Tomorrow — you need it.
Maybe Procrastination is not your enemy, after all. Procrastination is not your fear of doing the work, your fear of failing, your fear of not finding your way, or your fear of discovering that your big idea wasn’t as Big as you thought.
Maybe Procrastination is not an evil, self-defeating force that plans to undermine your goals and make sure you never make it happen, fueled by his secret knowledge of how much you suck and don’t really have it in you.
Procrastination preserves your dream.
Procrastination works for you — it's entirely on your side — fiercely defending your bright future.
Procrastination loyally guards the idea you hold most dear.
Procrastination keeps it on that pedestal — pristine, full of hope and promise.
Procrastination is the guardian of your future. And maybe it’s doing exactly what you asked it to do…
THAT’S ONE Theory. One story. There are other versions of procrastination.
I was talking to a client the other day and she told me she was working on an ad, but she was procrastinating. She wasn’t feeling the ad.
The truth is, I’m rarely feeling paid ads and I definitely have some experience with creating them and blowing a lot of money testing them over the years.
(Sidebar: this storytelling — this is content marketing. It’s the least thirsty, least sleazy, least expensive and most effective form of advertising I’ve ever found. It does require a lot of work, but if you love writing and talking and playing with this technology, as I do, then it’s the coolest job ever.)
So anyway — we got into a brainstorming conversation about other kinds of actions you can take in your business that are more effective than just a paid ad.
And we wandered away from the topic of procrastination.
Steven Pressfield talks about another devious force related to procrastination.
He calls it Resistance
You know I don’t recommend a lot of self-help books.
They have to be really, really impactful in my personal experience.
Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art is one of my Top 5 of all time.
The subtitle is "Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles."
I’m going to read you the first page of what is technically, after the intro chapter, chapter 4 The Unlived Life and it begins with this
"Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? Have you ever bailed out on a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others? Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn't write, a painter who doesn't paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is."
Pressfield, Steven. The War of Art . Black Irish Entertainment LLC. Kindle Edition.
Okay. So. Resistance. Procrastination.
How is intuition connected?
Really, what you’re most often asking is a question about:
Discernment - this is what we call those questions in intuitive development
How do you know?
How do you know when you can trust your intuition?
How do you know when it’s not your imagination?
How do you know it’s not your ego or fear?
Your first clue is to take a look at the potential outcome.
I circled back with client, after we did some brainstorming, and I asked her “So, anyway, what was the ad for?" She told me it was to offer a discount on her services. readings.
Now, people in the Automatic Intuition community know how I feel about discounting services.
*I’ll take a moment to share that advice here, because I know a lot of you are professional intuitives, energy healers, coaches, etc.
Why you don’t discount services
your time — it’s finite. you don’t get any more. it’s not scalable.
working with you one on one should be the most precious thing you offer in your business
if your clients know you discount around the holidays, it discourages them from employing you when they actually need you most
Don’t do it — there’s a clue in the word itself
discounting. discounting yourself. No.
If you want something you can discount at the holidays, create products, tutorials, ebooks, meditation downloads … you’ve already done that work, you can run a sale on that, it’s not finite.
it’s tempting. I get it. It might bring in a little burst of clients.
In this example, the outcome is kind of negative — running an ad discounting services is something you know may not be a good idea for your long game. You’re kinda going against advice a little bit, knowingly, somewhere in the back of your mind…
The outcome could just be uncertain. It might work, but then you hurt yourself down the road by suppressing clients waiting for you to run another promotion.
OR it might not even work at all, and you’ve shot yourself in both feet. You spent money on advertising, put a bunch of work into making it, it wasn’t really effective, and now people are going to expect it from you …
You don’t know for sure. There are a lot of If’s there…
Now, I’ve been procrastinating finishing my taxes.
Is that my intuition?
How do I know?
Because the outcome of finishing would be entirely positive.
You’re done! It’s not hanging over you anymore.
When the outcome is certain — especially when it’s also positive, such as being done with your freaking taxes — then you’re procrastinating.
It’s just plain old evil.
It's what the Christians call The Devil.
The thing about discernment and “knowing” ...
You never do.
I’m rarely in the middle of doing an intuitive reading for a client thinking “Wow, I am so psychic right now.”
And if it’s for myself — forget it.
Nobody’s a master at reading around their own emotional investments and issues
You have to be willing to experiment and act on intuition
You can do this in a million little ways
turn down a different road while driving
go somewhere new for lunch
blur your routines a little bit
anything that comes up or presents as a new possibility a curiosity. “Huh, wonder what would happen if…"
do it. Just see where that choice leads.
What you do get good at is practicing and allowing and relaxing.
Feedback from acting on your intuitive impulses helps build confidence in doing so, so that when your intuition shows up again, in a more significant contexts, you can recognize it and act.
But procrastination … What is that trying to communicate to you?
If nothing else, there is an impulse there.
What is Resistance, the Devil, trying to protect? * How does the Devil benefit? * How does your fear benefit? * How does your ego benefit?
What is the outcome?
Inevitable and neutral or positive - finish my taxes
Uncertain and possibly negative - like my client discounting her services
Procrastination as a form of intuition or subconscious is going to be most reliable if it doesn’t happen so often. Or at least all the time.
Listen, if you’re in a place where you suffer from CHRONIC Procrastination, or what Steven Pressfield calls Resistance, you just need to read the War of Art.
If you’ve read it, read it again.
Over the next two days. It’s a tiny little book. The ebook is $10 — reflective of its deserved fame.
When I read it — and I revisit it about once a year or so — I read it over two lunch hours. Thursday lunch. Friday lunch. You’re done.
Nobody can explain how this is working in your psyche like Steven Pressfield does.
I think maybe we should book club it at some point. If you want to, read it and post about your ahas or favorite quotes in the SYS Community that could be very cool.
Hashtag it #WarofArt
If this issue is high on your list — It’s high on mine. Admittedly. — Let me know...
…there’s an Oracle message at the end of the audio episode…