For months now I’ve been telling friends and family that I’m going to finally launch my website and blog, and I’ve been telling them for weeks and months.
I’ve announced false launches; I’ve missed deadlines on my own launch calendar. And every time I’d get really close to pressed “publish,” something would come up. An important graphic design piece would be delayed, the developer hadn’t gotten back to me, I didn’t have time to write the text for a certain page because some family obligation came up.
I hadn’t stop to think that maybe I was simply deciding, in my own well-intended but ultimately self-sabotaging way, not to launch.
Each time I decided not to work on my stuff, I was deciding not to move forward on my goals; I was deciding not to launch. It’s like each decision to check Facebook to “socialize” with friends or even watch TV with my kids was a step away from my intended path.
Sure, spending time with family, socializing with friends and returning email is important. But for my immediate goals it is part of path?
After weeks of chipping away of my to do list, I found myself owning up to the fact that I’m very easily distracted. Focusing on one thing for an extended amount of time is very difficult for me.
It didn’t used to be. When I was a child, I would sit and read a book, the same book, for hours. But now I find I’m reading three different books at once—between checking email, texts, Facebook, Googling something, online shopping…
It’s kind of a mess.
And then the other week one of my business success coaches posed a very provocative question.
It was kind of more like a statement.
“Notice,” she said “what are your triggers?”
First of all, I hated to think of myself as being trigged. I’d like to think I’m totally in ownership of my choices and intentions and not subject to being reactive at all.
But the truth was I was being very reactive. I checked every ding on my phone and followed every random thought to Google.
It’s like that scene from Portlandia where the guy is going from his iPhone to his tablet to his laptop to his iPhone to his tablet to his Laptop and over and over again in a cacophony of dings, beeps and other notifications.
And then I end up following up on the email or getting into a text discussion or researching something on Google and pretty soon it’s dinner time and I haven’t really made real progress on anything.
Can you relate?
Until I admitted this pattern to myself, I mean really saw it for what it was, I had already spend months of time literally just chipping away at my to do list, and ultimately stalling on what I really want to create.
What you put your attention to grows. And, well, I was giving my projects attention, but in 10 minute increments here and there, between following all my triggers.
So I owned up to being trigged and finally wrote down all the things that distract me, that allow me to procrastinate.
Snacking, checking email, texting, reading headlines and their subsequent articles…the list goes on and on.
So I had to make a decision.
Am I going to stay on path or am I going to go off path?
If I really want to make progress on my projects and goals, am I going to really commit to it with my full attention for a given amount of time?
Am I going to give myself the GIFT of that time and attention to create what I want in my life?
Put in those terms, the answer was a resounding YES.
And so I decided, if I’m working, I’m working. I’m giving myself the gift of attention to create what I want.
And in that time my phone is off (because if I hear a ding, it’s just instinctive at this point for me to stop what I’m doing and check my phone), browsers are closed so I’m not tempted to check Facebook and email, and I’m not snacking on anything (because I can’t type for any meaningful length of time and eat a sandwich at the same time).
I know how hard it is to hold your own feet to the fire, which is why I get support; personal coaching has been instrumental in helping me make strides in outgrowing habits that are not aligned with my highest path.
So, what are your triggers? Make them known!