What’s the thing that jams you up and stops you in your tracks? Is it one thing or several? Is it a sequence of events or one paralyzing disappointment? In this post, I’ll explore what kills your ability to act and what to do about it.
Julia* wakes up every morning with the same intentions: She is going to workout, have that conversation with her boss, and tell her significant other how she feels.
Each day, she has those same intentions, but some time during the day, she loses the drive to act or to say anything at all. She tells herself that she isn’t ready or that it is wrong time, or why should she rock the boat? Her explanations vary too – she’s too tired, she’s too hungry, she’ll do it when she has the energy. She’ll get to it – eventually!
Do you play the game of delay?
Julia also says things like, “When my boss has a spare moment, I’ll talk to him…” or “When I get a good night’s sleep, I’ll have the energy to exercise”… or “I’m going to talk to him this weekend, when we aren’t so busy…”
And what happens to all of her good intentions? They evaporate, and with them, her self-trust.
The game of delay lulls us into the belief that we will have the energy, the motivation, and the drive to take action, only to discover that when the time arrives, we come up with another excuse about why it isn’t time to act.Someone who is an expert at delay said this
Back to our heroine. What would give Julia the results she wants?
Following through on her intentions. Common sense, right? We all know this.
So how do you, Julia and I follow through when we have conditioned ourselves to play the game of delay?
By evaluating our results and then acting on that information. Period. End of story.
Simple, right? But what is conceptually easy to understand may be very difficult to put into practice.
A secret system that works.
Mel Robbins calls it her “Five Second Rule.” The idea is that you take action before you have time to hit the handbrake and talk yourself out of it. I call it our need for self trust trumps any pleasure or peace of mind that comes from delay.
Four Ways to Get into Drive
SELF TRUST a.k.a. Courage – It all starts with your belief in your ability to follow through. That means you keep your promises to yourself, first. You do what you intend when you intend it. That is also when you have the biggest drive and the most inspired energy. Start small to build your self trust muscle and then move on to bigger and harder tasks.
2. ASK YOURSELF A BETTER QUESTION – “Why am I delaying and what is my result if I do? ” Don’t dodge and don’t justify as that kind of dance does not serve you. This gives you clarity to focus on what is most important to you.
3. ACT ON THE ANSWER – This means you schedule that meeting, you make that phone call, or you work on that project, because your self worth is more important that any challenge or fear that you face.
4. CONSUMPTION VS. CREATION & CONTRIBUTION – This is probably one of the most overlooked causes of delay. You and I are so busy learning the next greatest and latest thing that we lose sight of what to do with all of that great information. By asking, “Am I consuming information or am I creating and contributing in a way that matters most to me?” is a simple check-in you can use to gain clarity on whether you are taking enough meaningful action.
That’s it! Use this framework to get yourself to take action, and then, modify your actions based on your results. This is the fastest way to get you from where you are now to where you want to be.
I want you to spark your own initiative, and when you do, you start creating and contributing instead of consuming. Life is too short to live with regret.
I believe in you and your ability to figure out the next right steps for you!
Thank you so much for reading and until next time,
With love and respect,
*Name changed to protect her secret identity.