The longest, hardest year ever. The year the office became off limits and working from home the new norm. The year many people realized life is too short to not live it fully. I could go on and on about this past year as I know so many of you could as well.
Most of the U.S. went into lockdown just about a year ago. In Cabo, it was Good Friday when things started to shut down and life changed for us. I don’t think anyone had a clue about what the next weeks and months would look like.
As I look back over this past year, I found some gifts despite all the pain felt by so many. Reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones (via zoom of course), having time for study and reflection, and the opportunity to take on new clients who were going through their own adaptation to a new world, I feel blessed. I haven’t lost anyone to Covid and at this point, my husband and I have stayed healthy – something we don’t take for granted.
I want to take a moment to capture some learning and some continued opportunities for growth. These are mine, but perhaps you will be able to relate to some of this for yourself or be inspired to reflect on where you’ve grown this past year. I think one of the biggest realizations that I’ve had is the power of self talk…for good and at times, not so good. I coach about this a lot, but it’s been amazing to feel the impact of both my positive and negative self-talk over these last many months.
You can ask my husband, I talk to myself a lot. Sometimes I can be found muttering as I walk around the house. And I do it in my head as well. The power of the words we use to acknowledge or beat ourselves up can be very powerful. And a shift in language and perspective can be incredibly empowering…at least it has been for me.
For example, I’ve had more time on my hands periodically this past year than ever before. This should have translated to plenty of time to do things that I’ve said I wanted to do…write a new webinar, write more blog posts, do more marketing for bloom. But there are days when I just feel empty. Not able to start anything new. And my head immediately goes to “I’m lazy” or “what a procrastinator you are”. “You should be doing xxx, not yyy” Or any number of variations on this theme.
Well recently, I had a conversation with my friend Cheryl about our similar habit of procrastinating on big projects. And it got me thinking about why I procrastinate and the power of how I talk to myself when I feel blocked.
I realized that when I feel stuck, my procrastinating doesn’t equate to me being lazy…at least most of the time. It relates more to my fears about what’s in front of me. For me, starting out writing something new – whether it be a presentation, a blog post, a bloom email – has always stressed me out. When I really thought about it, I realized it’s because I’m putting myself out there with my thoughts and words and I want it to be perfect. I’am also a get it done, check in off the list type person. Writing can be messy; for me, it takes time. So I overthink, delay putting pen to paper and call myself lazy or a procratinator. The reality is that this procrastination is me stressing about my fears not me being lazy.
So what do I do to change this? I’ve found a couple of things that really help me.
- I break the project down into manageable chunks. Day I is not about sitting down and getting “it” done. It’s now about putting random thoughts on paper or writing an outline. I assign myself tasks that let me feel like I can make progress in bite size pieces.
- I accept the “fog”. By this I mean that I have learned to accept that the writing process for me can be messy. I may go thru a fog before I gain clarity. And I’ve started accepting this and building it into my process versus letting it frustrate me.
- I use positive self-talk vs negative self-talk. I remind myself that I do have something of value to say and I keep reminding myself of that. It’s not about perfection; it’s about letting my voice be heard. If I touch one person with my words, that’s enough.
Where are you blocked? Is there some hidden stress or fear that’s stopping you from getting started on a project? If you can identify it and name it, you can work with it. It’s only when you let “it” take on a life of its own that it has power of you versus you having the power.
One of the gifts of this past year – an increased self-awareness of what gets in my way. 2020 was a tough year, but not without its gifts.