Often, it’s doing the things that scare us that can make the biggest differences in our lives. Unfortunately, these very same things are also the tasks that we procrastinate on the most. We put off doing them and cover up our fears with excuses like, “I don’t have the time to do that right now” or “I’m not ready yet” or my personal favorite, “I’ll have to get this other thing done first before I can do that.”
And while lack of experience and time constrains do play a role in SOME situations, for the most part the excuses above are just a façade that covers up the REAL reason why we put off doing important tasks: We’re scared.
We’re scared that if we submit that guest post, it’ll just get rejected. Or we’re scared that if we ship a product, no one would care. Or that our venture would crash and burn and all the haters who said we couldn’t do it would be proven right.
Sound familiar? I wish I could tell you that there’s a way to sidestep your trepidations, but the truth is you can’t really go around fear. You have to push through it.
Below are some ways to help you do just that:
Publicly commit to it
Go public with your goal. If you’re launching a business tell everyone you know that you’ll be opening your doors by a specific date. If your goal is to get your freelance business up and running, then push your portfolio live, send it to everyone you know, and post it to Facebook and Twitter. Developing an app? Email your subscribers telling them that they’ll be able to download it on [insert date here.]
Be confident. Take out words like “maybe” or “might” and be firm about your commitments (otherwise it wouldn’t really be a “commitment” in the first place.)
Public commitments are great motivators. You wouldn’t want to lose your credibility or flake out in public, so you’ll hustle and find ways to get things done. Plus, telling people about your goals opens up opportunities for networking and gives you a chance to meet backers, partners, even mentors.
Additionally, declaring your goal in a public way also sends a very powerful and positive message to the Universe. Forgive me for going all “woo-woo” on you, but in my experience, public commitments help fuel cosmic cogs to make your goal a reality. It isn’t uncommon for doors to suddenly open up, following a public commitment.
Break things down into steps
You don’t consume an entire meal in one single gulp, you do it one bite a time. Similarly, goals are easier to manage (not to mention they become less scary) when they’re broken down into steps.
Think about what you want to achieve and make a list of the things you need to do to get there. Map it out, be specific with steps that you need to take, and create a timeline that details when you need to do them. Once you have those small “to-dos” down on paper, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and find that your end goal is actually doable.
Think about the even scarier consequences of NOT taking action
Fear can either paralyze you or motivate you. Needless to say, you should always go with the latter. A good way doing this is by thinking about the even scarier consequences of not taking action.
For instance, if you don’t start your business soon, you’ll let down your investors and other people who believe in you. Too scared to unveil your new product? If you don’t get a move on, someone else will and you’ll be back to square one. Procrastinating on pitching potential clients or sending your portfolio to prospects? Keep doing that and you’ll end up working for someone else for the rest of your life. Yikes.
Francesca Nicasio (formerly Francesca StaAna) is the founder of Credible Copywriting and specializes in writing blog posts, web content and press releases for startups, Internet companies, and mobile app developers. She’s currently developing Copywriter2.0, an online course that teaches aspiring copywriters the ins and outs of the biz.
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