Facing Your Fear: The Hidden Cost of Procrastination on Visibility

Facing Your Fear
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I bet you've been there, haven't you?

Sitting at your computer or holding your phone, cursor hovering over the 'Publish' or 'Send' button.

Your heart's racing, and your palms are sweaty. You want to take action. You're excited about the possibilities, the 'what could be's.

But just as you're about to make the move, a tidal wave of fear crashes over you. Suddenly, every worst-case scenario plays out in your head, and your finger just won't press that button.

Now you're stuck in this emotional tug-of-war.

One part of you is raring to go, bursting with creativity and ideas, practically shouting, "Let's do this!"

But the other part, that fearful part, whispers, "Better not." And it's like your entire being freezes.

You find yourself aimlessly scrolling through social media, binge-watching shows, or even doing house chores that you'd typically avoid. Anything but the task at hand.

The battle isn't just about taking action but about the overwhelming sensation that comes with facing your fear. If the thought of facing your fear seems daunting, know that you're in good company. Many have felt this challenge.



Paralysis of Indecision

"The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure." 

– Sven Goran Eriksson

Paralysis of Indecision

We’ve all experienced that initial surge of inspiration and the desire to act, only to be followed by a shadow of doubt that creeps in.

It’s not just a fleeting second-guess or a minor hesitation. It's an encompassing cloud of uncertainty that stops you in your tracks entirely.

Suddenly, every option seems fraught with potential pitfalls, and not choosing feels safer than making a potentially wrong choice. But by not choosing, you're still making a decision – to remain static.

This is the paralysis of indecision, where fear doesn't just whisper discouragements, it shouts them, leaving you stuck and seeking refuge in distractions. This paralysis isn't mere avoidance; it's the looming shadow of not facing your fear.


Recogniton of Fear-Based Procrastination

Recognition of Fear-Based Procrastination

Let’s dig deeper into the intricate relationship between procrastination and the fear of exposing yourself to the world through your pursuits. One pivotal step towards progress is recognizing and facing your fear, understanding its origins, and then mapping out a path to challenge it. So, ask yourself:

  • Am I avoiding this task because it’s genuinely unimportant or because I’m afraid of putting myself out there?
  • What am I afraid will happen?

Dig deep. The answers might surprise you.

For those who wish to delve deeper into understanding procrastination and its roots, I recommend Dr. Jane Burka's book, “Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now”. It provides valuable insights into the mental barriers we create.


Intersection of Fear and Procrastination

Intersection of Fear and Procrastination

Fear is a powerful motivator, or should I say, de-motivator? It's the little voice in your head that says,

  • “What if people laugh at you?"
  • "What if you fail?"
  • "What if you're exposing too much?”

This voice often fuels procrastination. Because let’s face it, it’s easier to avoid doing something than to face the fear of potential failure or judgment.

Procrastination is more than just putting things off. It's often a way we protect ourselves. When we're about to share something close to our heart. It's like a safety net keeping us from feeling too exposed or vulnerable.

Let me share a personal story. Recently, I faced a challenge that I think many can relate to.

In building a successful business you need to  put yourself out there and 'be seen'. I recognized working in my comfort zone of my desk was, obviously, not enough. One way to do this is appearing as a guest on some podcasts. The thought of this was overwhelming. So, instead of jumping in and doing it, I found myself creating a list of endless 'priorities' that I felt I needed to do first. You and I both know this was just a procrastinators way to delay the inevitable.

After a week of digging my heels in about the importance of this list of priorities, I finally admitted to myself what I was really doing. So, I took the plunge and announced my interest in guesting on podcasts and was met with six immediate offers!

Exciting, yes? However, now I was at yet another overwhelmed stage that led to a 24-hour period of me retreating, avoiding responsibility, and binging TV. Yet, despite the hiccup, I eventually responded and am now slated to appear on multiple shows.

It's a reminder that even as an expert on procrastination, I too face the same challenges everyone faces. The lesson? Facing your fear can lead to significant rewards. From my experience, I've learned the importance of confronting these fears.

So, how can you start facing your fear? Let's dive into some strategies.


Facing Your Fear Head-On

"Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear." 

– George Addair

Facing Your Fear Head-On

An empowering strategy for many is to practice facing your fear little by little, confronting those anxieties one step at a time. I know it's hard, but we need to face the fear to dismantle it. After all, you can't fight what you can't see.

Step 1:   Challenge Your Thoughts

Take a moment to challenge your fearful thoughts. For every negative thought, try to counter it with a positive one.

  • Negative: "People will laugh at me."
  • Positive: "People who matter won’t laugh, and those who laugh don't matter."

Step 2:   Start Small

The thought of diving headfirst into your endeavor might be too overwhelming, so start small.

  • If you're afraid of starting a blog, start by jotting down ideas or writing a paragraph a day. 
  • If you're anxious about launching your business, perhaps try validating your product or service with a small group first.

Step 3:   Set a Deadline

Yes, I know. Deadlines are the arch-nemesis of a procrastinator. But, guess what? They work.

Mark a date on your calendar and make it non-negotiable. Hold yourself accountable or ask someone to do so.

Step 4:   Visualize Success

Take a few moments every day to visualize your success. Imagine your blog being read and appreciated or your business taking off.

Step 5:   Take the Plunge

There comes a point where you've got to take the plunge. Push past the fear, ignore the what-ifs, and just do it.


Naming the Fear and Charting A Way Forward

Naming the Fear and Charting a Way Forward

Try naming your fear. Is it the fear of judgment, rejection, or perhaps failure?

Naming it lessens its power over you. Acknowledge it, as if saying, "Okay, fear of failure, I see you. What are you trying to protect me from?"

Talk to the fear. After naming it, have a little chit-chat with your fear. I know it sounds silly, but trust me on this.

Lean on your desire. Remember that part of you that wants to take action? Lean on it. Take a 'fearful' step. And then, with your heart still pounding, do it despite the fear.


Discovery of Your Tribe

Discovery of Your Tribe

Last but not least, surround yourself with supportive individuals—be it family, friends, or an online community.

Their support can act as a buffer against fear and provide the extra nudge to stop procrastinating and put yourself out there.


Hope, new beginnings

"There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure."

– Paulo Coelho

Conclusion

We all have those little whispers of doubt, don't we? That sneaky voice suggesting that maybe we're not ready, or perhaps the world isn't ready for us. But guess what? Every time we choose to sidestep our fears, we're also sidelining our potential.

Fear-based procrastination is like that old, worn-out sweater. Comfortable? Sure. Serving your best interests? Probably not. But the magic happens when we decide to roll up our sleeves, challenge those fearful thoughts, and step into our light. As a procrastination coach, I've seen the transformation that occurs when fear is confronted.

Remember, every tiny step you take against procrastination is a leap towards your dreams. And trust me, the view on the other side of fear is spectacular.

I encourage you to share your experiences. Have you danced with these fears before? Maybe you've found a rhythm to beat them? Or perhaps you're looking for the right tune? Drop a comment, or let's chat one-on-one. After all, we're in this together, and together, we'll make fear take a backseat.

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