Procrastination – Fear of Success

Scared of Success

Scared of Success

At first glance, this sounds rather weird.

Why would people be afraid of success when all we want is to be successful?

It’s because of our wild imagination. We need it for our creative endeavors, but it can also trip us up when we think of our success.

Because what happens after we enjoy our success?

Life goes on. Inevitably.

Even winners of the Nobel prize continue to make their own breakfast, and probably clean their toilet themselves.

Our success gets old, stale and will be forgotten eventually.

We will have to repeat it.

Which means that the pressure is back on and probably higher than before we had our first success, the one we dreamed about.

(I’ll talk about all those fears connected to *that* in the next weeks.)

Because now we have proven that we have it “in us”, we’re expected to repeat this success over and over again.

The next book. the next sales record. The next bestseller. Or the next painting. The next prize. The next… whatever.

And honestly?

This pressure is exhausting.

And maybe a part of us believes it’s better to not even enter into this spiral of pressure. This spiral of success.

Which is why we may never finish our book, or our painting, our art.

That’s why it is easier to start something new rather than finishing, especially if there is a hint or threat of potential success.

And that’s such a loss!

Because the world needs creativity, and only you can create what you do.

And because we’re putting this pressure on ourselves, with our vivid imagination, our beliefs and expectations.

What if we could just go on writing the next book, with joy and no pressure?

What if we could simply keep enjoying our creativity, one piece at a time?

Without pressure?

Well, we could tap on that.

Tapping phrases

Even though I’m scared of being successful, this will add so much pressure to my life that I’d rather avoid it, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know that I can handle success in a way that’s fun and easy.

Even though I won’t risk success and that’s why I won’t finish anything, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know that there’s no reason to feel stressed about it at all.

Even though I’m afraid of success because I really can’t handle even more stress in my life, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to enjoy success without adding more stress to my life.

Asking you:
Are you afraid of success and the pressure that comes from it?
Have you felt that pressure already?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – are you writing right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Procrastination – Fear of being Judged

Afraid of being judged

Afraid of being judged.

Underneath all those fears that I’ve been talking about in the last few weeks is another, much bigger fear:

The fear of being judged.

The big issue behind that fear is that being judged means being rejected and getting kicked out of your group, which in turn means dying all alone in the saber-tooth tiger infested wilderness.

Yes, this is an old stone-age fear.

And yet, it is very much alive in ourselves, since we humans are a social species and need groups to survive.

Being rejected by your group meant death back then, quite simply. We still don’t like taking that risk – and finishing your book, publishing it and making it visible for practically everyone in the work does mean taking the risk of being judged.

That’s why we may not finish writing our book.

Why we hesitate to publish it and prefer doing yet another rewrite or editing run.

Why hitting that publish button is so difficult.

And that’s why getting bad reviews can feel so frightening.

We want to stay in our group and be safe.

Now, of course there are people who don’t feel that being visible is a risk at all. Often those are people who enjoy some kind of status in the group that doesn’t depend on their writing. (And they won’t read this article anyway.)

But for the rest of us, our ancient safety programs sound the alarm when we do something that invites judgment.

Those safety programs aren’t bad, by the way. They are supposed to protect ourselves, and they are just doing their job – making us uncomfortable when we do something potentially dangerous and detrimental to our health or continued existence.

Unfortunately, those safety programs got a bit outdated.

Because in our society – at least in most of the Western world – a bad review isn’t dangerous. We don’t lose our lives because of a book we publish. We do not get kicked out on the street for the art we create.

Our safety programs don’t know that.

Which means we need to update them.

For me, the best way to update a safety program is still EFT tapping.

That’s because we can reach both the mind and the emotions though EFT.

You see, those safety programs can’t quite be reached by rational reasoning. That’s because they operate on an emotional level.

We don’t get a clear alarm signal in our minds when a safety program activates. We just feel uncomfortable, afraid or upset when we try to go against their warning. And then we procrastinate, start yet another story, do the dishes, clean the house or find inspiration elsewhere, simply to avoid being uncomfortable.

So if you find yourself at the kitchen sink, veering away from finishing a story yet again, or from editing or actually publishing your book, consider the idea that there’s a safety program at work. And then do some tapping.

Tapping Phrases

Even though I’m so scared of being judged that I’d rather not finish my book, and that I avoid publishing it, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know that this is just an old safety program at work.

Even though I’m scared that I’ll be rejected, kicked out and left to die when I get visible with my books, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know that this stone-age fear is no longer useful in the 21st century.

Even though I’m really afraid of being judged because it feels like a huge risk, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I choose to know that I am quite safe even if I finish my story and publish my book.

Asking you:
Are you familiar with this fear of being judged?
Have you received horrible reviews already?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – are you writing right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Procrastination – Fear of being Seen

Afraid to be seen

Afraid to be seen

The Fear of being seen is another reason why we procrastinate and don’t finish stories, art projects, or other tasks.

Because once we finish, our product needs to be seen.

That book needs readers, that painting needs viewers, that piece of art has to go to exhibitions and find a buyer. (And of course, that opens up a number of other tasks to procrastinate on!)

And of course, if our products are being seen, we as creators are also on the line.

Being seen means to be visible.

With all of our flaws. With all the parts we don’t even like about ourselves.

It begins with our body.

We may not like how we look.

We may not have that ideal weight. (Dare I mention that idiotic “thigh gap”?)

We may not have ideal hair.

We may not like being looked at.

Some of us can hide a little.

Authors can use a pen name, and so can other artists.

We can talk though agents, unless we’re self-publishing.

But even if we can hide, our product cannot.

Our product will always be visible.

And thus it will be open to criticism.

Books will get reviews, so will paintings, and dance. Pottery will be bought or not, it will be deemed beautiful or ugly.

People will notice flaws. That typo we missed, that wrong stroke of the brush, that little bulge in the mug.

And we’re afraid of those flaws.

 

That moment when fear flushes us, along with that bad conscience we know from being kids.

That ugly fear of “what did we wrong this time?”

Nobody likes that fear. So we hide.

It’s so much easier not to finish that product, and avoid that fear. So much easier to go and vacuum, to wash windows, to cook, to play with the dog, or get lost in a computer game…

Much easier to procrastinate rather than allow visibility.

And even if we finish, some of us hide our project.

And that’s so sad.

Because I’m sure that so many novels are languishing on hard drives. So many manuscripts get burned. So much art is hidden away in the basement. So many paintings never leave the house.

So much beauty is lost, yet our world needs more beauty.

Because of that stupid fear of being seen.

I’m not saying you’re stupid, btw. and I don’t want to belittle your fear. It’s rather powerful if it stops you, and keeps you from doing what you love.

But that fear kills dreams. Your dreams. Our dreams. And it really is “just” a fear. A learned response to something that may have happened to you, or someone you know.

A fear that can be released.

Of course, the best tool I know for releasing fears is EFT tapping.

Why tapping? Because EFT works with the rational mind and the heart. It uses emotions and can shift the thought patterns we got used to. Because it can “reset” our thought patterns and beliefs – and help us let go of that fear.

Tapping phrases

This time around, the phrases are vague and I’m not completely happy with them. That’s because this kind of fear tends to be rather individual, based on experiences where we got humiliated. It’s much easier to release those when we can work with an actual experience – which I can’t when I’m posting just some tapping suggestions.

So try these, be gentle and loving to yourself (and let me know if you want more help):

Even though I hate being visible and vulnerable, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to acknowledge the beauty of what I created and allow some people to see that.

Even though I hate feeling vulnerable and I don’t trust people, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to be proud of what I created and let that feeling overcome my fears.

Even though I hate being visible and being criticised, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to see that my art could be worth dealing with that fear and criticism.

Asking you:
Are you afraid of being visible?
Can you imagine showing your work anyway?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – are you writing right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Procrastination – Perfectionism

I must be perfect.

I must be perfect.

Perfectionism is a bit like the big brother of the fear of mistakes – the stakes, however, are much higher.

You can’t allow a single blemish, because then it wouldn’t be perfect anymore.

It takes enormous amounts of time and effort to be perfect, and the temptation to put it all off is much larger.

The cost of failure is also much higher – I’ll get to that in a moment.

Perfectionism is a killer.

That’s because perfectionism is the symptom of a very detrimental mindset.

In her book “Mindset”, Carol Dweck talks about a “fixed mindset”.

This is the belief that you can only be good at something if you have talent.

And talent expresses itself with perfect results right away.

Perfectionism is the expression of this belief.

The downside, however, is horrible.

You see, if you make a single mistake, it’s proof you have no talent. That single mistake, blemish, error or imperfection will implode your foundation, your basis of who you are.

If you don’t have the talent you came to believe you had, possibly encouraged by your parents or your peers, or even teacher, you’re nothing.

Nothing.

You might as well quit and crawl under a rock.

This is why bad reviews can be so painful. Why a word of criticism can reduce you to a quivering jelly. Why pointing out an error can send people into a flying rage.

We and they are just defending their “talent”. And who they are. It’s big.

There is a solution.

The alternative to a “fixed mindset” is a “growth mindset”.

A “growth mindset” means you’re basing your expectations of success (and praise) on the learning process. You believe that putting in the work and learning your craft will result in getting better, and eventually successful.

Mistakes and errors are simply parts of the learning curve, and you welcome it when people point the out to you – as they give you the chance to learn better.

Carol Dweck found out that kids who are in the “growth mindset” have a much larger chance of being successful.

This seems very logical, right?

The good news is that it is possible to shift into a “growth mindset”. Unfortunately, it takes some work.

You see, we love the “fixed mindset” because it promises that we can get successful without putting in all that work! Just because we have this awesome talent. I know. I’ve been there…

It’s time to let go of the “fixed mindset”!

The faster you can let go of that “fixed mindset”, this belief in an invincible talent (which must be defended at all cost!), the easier it is to let go of perfectionism and procrastination.

Because actually doing the tasks, the work, the writing, the marketing, the bookkeeping, and actually putting in the time while DOING IT will make you better!

It will make life easier and more fun.

Can you see this amazing, stunning shift?

Can you feel this sudden desire to DO THINGS?

My favorite tool to change a mindset is EFT, of course. I know nothing that works faster. (And a 1:1 session works best.) So here are some tapping suggestions for you.

Tapping phrases

Even though I am a perfectionist, and I feel terrible when something isn’t perfect, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to take a closer look at my beliefs about talents and learning curves.

Even though it feels like a personal attack if someone points out an error, because I am a perfectionist, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to see that this person may actually want to help.

Even though I procrastinate because being perfect is so darn hard, I am okay the way I am, and I’m now willing to let go of perfectionism and to try out this learning curve people speak of.

Asking you:
Are you a perfectionist?
Does pointing out mistakes feel like an attack on your person?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – are you writing right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Procrastination – Fear of Mistakes

Fear of Mistakes

Fear of Mistakes

From this post on, we’re going to look at the reasons behind procrastination, and we’re starting with the obvious:

Fear of doing something wrong.

Now, rationally, we know that making an error isn’t a big thing, it’s usually a moment where we can learn something or grow a little. That’s the adult way of looking at mistakes.

Emotionally, we’ve been drilled to live in fear of mistakes.

It starts in school. Every error is marked in red, and it costs us. Points. Grades. Love from the teacher. No smilies. No happy faces. Disgrace.

Maybe we even got laughed at.

So emotionally, we fear making a mistake.

And depending on the cost of the mistake, we are reluctant to do a task.

Which means that we’re more reluctant and likely to procrastinate more on a tax declaration than on cleaning the bathroom, in general.

And if we’re worried about getting a difficult chapter or scene right, that can totally stop us in our tracks.

It’s the fear!

The problem is that when we’re filled with fear – even if it’s a complete irrational fear originating from the time we were six years old – we can’t think very well.

Our main brain goes offline when we’re stressed, and our thinking reverts to what I like to call our reptile brain. And the focus is on fight, flight or playing dead.

Since we can’t really fight a tax declaration or that bed scene, our usual options are flight (cleaning the bathroom) or playing dead.

The solution is releasing the stress.

What we need to do is to release stress – to get our brain back online. With our mighty brain, we can solve the tricky scene, and we can work our way through the mysterious language of a tax declaration.

And if you were my client, we’d dig deeper into those school memories and shift the origins of that fear. Alas, this is so individual I can’t quite do it for you guys reading this.

What you can do is to tap a little more generally, to release stress and some of that fear. And with a bit of luck, you’ll see quite a shift even this way.

Here’s some tapping for you.

Tapping phrases

Even though I procrastinate on things because of this vague underlying fear, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I’m now open to releasing both the stress and the fear.

Even though I worry about mistakes and that makes me procrastinate on tasks or writing, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know that this might be an ancient fear that I can let go.

Even though I worry about mistakes, and that stops me cold from writing a difficult chapter or doing an important task, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to give myself permission to do these tasks without fear.

Asking you:
How do you feel about making mistakes?
Do you have a gut reaction?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – will you keep writing?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

 

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Procrastination – Introduction

Nah, I'll do it later.

Nah… I’ll do it later

I think you all know this feeling.

This feeling of… nah, I’ll do it later.
No, not now… later.
I’m not in the mood, I’m not inspired, I’m not… whatever.

And then we procrastinate.

Nah, I’ll do it tomorrow, there’s still time…
Nah, it’s such a nice day, I’d rather go outside…

And at the worst, you open a file you should be working on… and you can’t do it. Instead, you find yourself playing Solitaire, or vacuuming the house, or – that happens to me all the time – you start writing a brand new story without finishing the old one.

And before I started writing this blog post, I quickly checked FB, and sent a good morning greeting to my own little chat room.

As you can see, I’m totally familiar with this…

But what causes procrastination?

I believe it’s not just “laziness”.

Instead I think that when dealing with a task, negative emotions, memories and fears combine to make it almost impossible for us to deal with it, and we skip into different actions to avoid working on the tax declaration, or making an appointment with the dentist, or – this is my current bear – learning how to create covers.

Thing is, if we actually accept this as a working hypothesis, it means that EFT is the perfect tool to deal with procrastination because it’s the fastest way I know to eliminate negative emotions, fears and associated bad memories.

For now, I’m looking at collecting emotions, memories and fears that make it hard for us to complete the tasks we set for ourselves. So if you want to contribute, write a comment below, and I can include this particular problem in the series. (Let’s see how far we can get!)

Of course, part of the problem is that a task can feel unpleasant by itself, or have unpleasant consequences.

Hardly anyone enjoys preparing the taxes, even though it can mean we’ll get money back. I think that – especially with taxes – we’re afraid of making errors, and possibly fear a somewhat unpredictable entity dealing with our declaration. So some of us wait until a reminder raises the pressure to the point where it’s bigger than our fears…

And that dentist? Here in Germany, health insurance pays for regular checkups (and reduces the co-pay on more expensive procedures if you document them). And I still procrastinate on making those appointments, even though I have a nice and gentle dentist. I suppose my old fear is still raising its head here. (Time to tap that one out!)

I’m describing cases in such detail to show you the patterns involved.

We procrastinate because somehow, certain tasks have unpleasant emotions attached to them.

Because there is some kind of fear.

Being aware of those patterns means we can now take a closer look and figure out what exactly is holding us back. Even for those tasks that shouldn’t be unpleasant.

Why do I find it hard to finish a story? What is unpleasant about that?

Why do I find it hard to book a vacation, when I have both the time and the money?

And that’s exactly where we start with the detective work for EFT. We hunt those negative emotions and tap them out. And then life gets easier and more fun.

Tapping phrases

Even though I procrastinate on things, and I don’t even know why, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I’m now open to the possibility that negative emotions, experiences and fears might be the reason for this.

Even though I procrastinate and only do things when the pressure becomes unbearable, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to release all those emotions and fears.

Even though I hate that I procrastinate so much and lose so much time doing nothing, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to take a close look to identify what’s really going on – and to tap all that stuff out.

Asking you:
What do you procrastinate about?
How does that feel?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – will you keep writing?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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December Blog Break

December Blog Break

December Blog Break

I’m taking a break from blogging in December.

Because it’s like this: You guys are busy with the holidays. Family matters. It’s also the end of a stressful year, right? So we can all let it wind down, relax, take good care of ourselves and make the best of the season.

I’m wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, happy holidays, much family time (and remember, you are your own family, too), and a safe, fun and cheerful New Year!

I’ll be back with a new post on January 11th.

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – It’s over. And now?

Exhausted Author

Exhausted Author

Today is the last day of this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Maybe you’re making a huge push to win today, like I’m doing.

Maybe you already know you won’t make the 50,000 words.

And yes, it does matter in a way, and it doesn’t matter in another.

Why it matters that you win NaNo

Writing those 50k words wasn’t easy. You probably had to push yourself, you had to make yourself write even if you didn’t feel like it, and it probably was a struggle to find enough stuff to even put into the story.

You worked harder than in every other month of this years. And you stuck to your committment. You did this, and you should be proud of it.

What’s even more important – you proved to yourself that you can do that. That you can write every day, that you can create a story, and that you can finish a huge task by tackling a bit of it every day.

Well done!

Why it doesn’t matter that you win NaNo Continue reading

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – Argh, I’m Behind!

Frantic Author

Argh, I’m behind!

If you’re like me, you’re keeping track of your NaNo word count. Maybe you have even diligently entered it into your dashboard at the NaNo website. Maybe you use a spreadsheet to monitor your word count and how you’re doing. (I do. Ahem.)

And you can see you’ve fallen behind.

Maybe a lot behind.

Here’s what you can do. But first, let’s figure out what type of writer you are.

How people do NaNoWriMo

For just a moment, I want to talk about the four kinds of NaNo participants. They way I see it, there are Racehorses, Steady Writers, Bingers and Dropouts.

Now, the Racehorses just run off and finish NaNo on Day 10, and then go on to accumulate word counts of over 100,000. I know people like that. You’re not one of them. I can say this fairly confidently, because Racehorses don’t bother to read NaNo blogs. They don’t need support since they are doing just fine.

The Steady Writers power up to the NaNo word count (1,667 words per day, plus a little buffer) every day, and they are exactly where they should be, plus buffer. There have been years when I have managed that, and it’s how I prefer to do NaNo. My daily aim is 2k words. One year, I finished NaNo on November 25th…

The Bingers go on writing binges and sprints and sometimes pull an all-nighter, and then they need a day or two to recover. They write their NaNovel in spurts.

And the Dropouts, well, they drop out. You’re not one of them, or you wouldn’t be here hoping to save your NaNovel. Continue reading

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – This is so hard!

struggling author

Struggling Author

NaNoWriMo has been going on for two weeks now.

If you’re like me, you’re more or less on target for the 25,000 words mid-month. If you’re like most of my writing buddies on the NaNo site, you’re behind.

And yet, you have been writing every day. Most likely, you’ve been writing more words in these two weeks than in the last three months together.

And it is HARD.

You may have sacrificed some sleep time for word count – I certainly did – and you may have cancelled meeting friends or other activities. And you’re most likely still behind.

In addition, you’re beyond the initial thrill with the story, and coming up with new plot points and interesting scenes is also getting harder.

Your brain is tired Continue reading

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