Three mindset shifts that might help you realize RIGHT NOW is the perfect time to start

1. You’re guaranteed a RIGHT NOW. You’re existing in it as we speak! You don’t have a LATER or a TOMORROW or a ONE DAY. Nope, not yet. You have a RIGHT NOW, and only a RIGHT NOW.

2. You had a YESTERDAY and a LAST MONTH and a THREE YEARS AGO. And if you didn’t like what you did with them, how you spent those specific periods of time (periods that were, at one point, RIGHT NOWS, but have become things of the past), you can choose differently today. You can create the RIGHT NOW that YESTERDAY wasn't.

3. If—and I really mean if—you’re going to be gifted with a LATER, a TOMORROW, a ONE DAY (lucky duck, not everyone gets those), don’t you want to be at least a little bit past the first step by then? Wouldn’t it be awesome to be someplace beyond the starting line, when and if you get more than a RIGHT NOW? Doesn’t that simultaneously honor the RIGHT NOW and the potential, not-yet-promised TOMORROW?

Which one of the above turned on a little lightbulb over your head? Tell me in the comments.

How's your patience/resolve ratio?

Taking small steps toward your “Impossible” Thing requires a healthy ratio of PATIENCE to RESOLVE.

All at once, you must be willing to hang in there for months or years at a time as your “Impossible” Thing slowly takes shape...and you must be tenacious in the day-to-day in order to drive your vision forward into reality.

Though it will feel like outside circumstances are your biggest challenge, I promise you that won’t ever be the case.

Consider this from William Somerset Maugham, British playwright, novelist, and short story writer from the 1930s:

“If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?”

If you don’t change your beliefs, are you in a good place to actually achieve your “Impossible” Thing? Tell me in the comments how you’re handling your own PATIENCE/RESOLVE ratio these days, and if one or the other needs some attention.

Psst! What's a Big, "Impossible" Thing, anyway?

Wondering what the heck I mean when I refer to your Big, “Impossible” Thing? Before you go thinking you don’t have one (and you might not—no shame!—but there’s a chance you don’t even realize you have one), let me break it down a little.

What I mean by ‘big’ is this: It’s big to you. Perhaps no one in your life understands it or cares about it or even knows it’s something you dream about doing, having, or being. It’s not BIG because it’s flashy or because it’ll bring about world peace; it’s BIG because it feels like a crucial part of you and your life experience.

Examples: creating sustainable self-employment, writing a book, building an app, producing a show for Netflix, running a marathon, renovating a condo, raising a million dollars for your charity, becoming a school board member, buying an Airstream and traveling full-time, growing a vegetable garden in your backyard, locating your birth parents, planning a solo trip through Europe, setting up a stall at your local antique mall, coming off of hormonal birth control in advance of trying to start a family, asking for a promotion at work, etc.

What I mean by ‘impossible’ is this: You don’t yet have a clue as to how you’ll make it happen. It’s entirely uncharted territory for you. You know people do this thing—it’s not truly impossible in the sense that it absolutely cannot be done—but you can’t quite wrap your head around how it is you'll do it.

Some of the folks I work with don’t have a Big, “Impossible” Thing; instead, they have a series of Small, “Impossible” Things. A handful of smaller-scale pursuits that are unfamiliar and challenging in their own right. They might fall along a singular trajectory, or they might be scattered. (Some folks call this their ‘Bucket List,’ but that’s a little too end-of-life focused for me!)

Does this resonate? Are you realizing, maybe for the first time, that you’ve got a Big, “Impossible” Thing of your own—one that could use some defining and mapping out? Or perhaps your Bucket List continues to grow while few items are getting crossed off. I can help. Comment below, and we’ll work together to give you clarity and strategy.

Small Steps, Tip #4

Today was a glorious day of STARTING.

We just wrapped up April’s (free!) Get It Done Day, where four intrepid souls joined me in beginning Those Tasks We’ve Collectively Avoided For Too Long.

Some of these tasks were organizational, some administrative, others generative or creative. Regardless of the nature of the tasks, we all had our reasons for procrastinating on them until today.

And you know what the best part was? It didn’t even matter why we’d put off starting our various projects; each of us decided that today was the day we’d make inroads on them, no matter what happened last week or last month, no matter how we might’ve failed to start sooner.

Today—we determined both separately and together—would be our starting line.

(And this was the kind of race where no one’s actually racing anyone else and everyone gets a trophy. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.)

Though we worked independently throughout the morning and afternoon (FYI: just an hour at a time—any more than that, and we’re asking too much of our bodies and brains), we checked in with each other on several different occasions via video conference call.

We laughed. We cried. (Just kidding, no one cried.) We mostly got it done. At the very least, we started something we’d previously put off starting.

Do you feel how huge that is? If you’ve ever avoided beginning a project, you’re likely nodding your head in agreement right now.

Sometimes we’re afraid to start a project because we don’t believe we have what it takes. Sometimes we (think we) don’t know the first step. Sometimes we convince ourselves we need to be able to finish the project before we can start it; we need to set aside a whole day or a whole month before we can even look at the thing; we get really All Or Nothing about it.

We don’t do ourselves any favors when we let our clever excuses run the show. They might be clever, but that’s about all they’ve got going for themselves.

If you’d like some support in locating your starting line, come to the next Get It Done Day. It’s free, but you do have to register. I can’t wait to see you there.

A procrastination solution that requires just one day of your time

Without exception, I use my time far more efficiently when I know someone else is paying attention.

If I go to the bookstore on my own, to hunt for a particular book, you can bet I'll wander to my heart's content, remembering this book and that book and detouring myself the entire time. An hour or more can be lost like this.

Sure, I've got a goal (to locate that one book), but it's pretty meandering as far as a plan is concerned, and it's definitely aimless in the sense that it doesn't live on a timetable—so, I've more or less made it forgettable from the outset.

If, on the other hand, my husband's waiting out in the car and we agree I have 15 minutes to find my book, I'm focused first on accomplishing the mission at hand, and only then would I permit myself to wander around with any remaining time.

As with the first example, there's still the same goal (to locate that one book); however, this time it's set within a specific context—a husband waiting patiently and an increment of time that's trained squarely on the objective, not on the experience.

An important aside: I absolutely believe in focusing on the experience much of the time. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I'm someone for whom the experience is often prioritized over the objective.

But, when it comes to doing what I know I need to do with this one life of mine (and when it comes to doing what I want to do and staying married to the person I want to be married to, lol), I try to remember that focusing my energy on the objective is sometimes undeniably important.

And in many cases, dealing with the objective first (and positioning it within a meaningful context—on a timetable, as part of an agreement, etc.) actually affords me the opportunity to be present for the experience.

ENTER GET IT DONE DAY.

 

Get It Done Day is a FREE virtual event for anyone who struggles with procrastination and has been avoiding a specific something (or somethings) for a good, long while. The objective is to give you a designated time to finally complete That Which Inspires Dread.

It’s free, but you must register. Hop over here to add your name to the list.

A new way to approach your unfinished project

There are some projects you’ve left unfinished because they no longer appeal to you.

Part of you still feels bound to them because you’re not a quitter, and you equate quitting with a personal failure to follow through.

Here’s something I want to give to you today: PERMISSION.

Go ahead and quit the thing or things you’re no longer interested in; I promise you it doesn’t have to mean anything about your character if you don’t want it to. This is something you get to decide.

But what about those other unfinished projects that still appeal to you, but also scare you on some level?

What happens if, for example, the book you began writing years ago doesn’t wind up being quite as amazing as you’d hoped? You don’t get an agent; the manuscript goes nowhere. Your dreams are dashed. Life as you know it is over because you’re now a failed writer. (Or so you believe.)

What if it winds up being so successful, and you can’t handle the exposure that comes with that? You lose your anonymity; suddenly, you feel pressured to produce more writing—and on a timeline—in a way that spoils the joy you once felt about your craft. You’re now an unhappy—albeit published—writer. The reality of the thing you thought you wanted isn’t so hot after all. Bummer.

Finishing writing the book feels high-stakes either way. And not finishing it feels like a safe way to keep your control over the whole enterprise. In your mind, why give the power away when you can keep it for yourself and not risk anything?

To leave something unfinished then is to stop it from advancing to the next step (especially a next step that might leave you feeling powerless). As long as your project stays in unfinished limbo, nothing bad can happen.

But, tell me: What if finishing your project is less about the project itself and more about who you need to become in the process of completing it? What if that’s what you’re depriving yourself of when you shove it into a desk drawer? What if you’re keeping yourself from experiencing a necessary personal evolution?

Drop a comment below if you want some accountability around seeing your project alllll the way through to completion. I got you.