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Magic of Action Video

Check out this fun little video I made!

Procrastination as Information

When clients admit to procrastinating on an action in session, they are usually shrouded in shame and embarrassment. As if somehow they are a failure, because they’ve been procrastinating.

Does this sound familiar:

procrastination, resistance, action

I DON’T WANNA!

It feels like there’s a part of you that knows you “should” be doing this action and that part even wants to be doing it.  But there’s another part of you that’s like a whiny 3 year old, stomping your foot, saying, “I don’t WANNA!”  You beg and plead with that 3 year old inside of you, but you just can’t get into action.  And the more you push against it, the stronger the resistance.

Some of my clients think that, as their coach, I can fix them, force them, make them take action.  But here’s the thing – they’re not broken and neither are you. And the more you push against resistance the stronger and more powerful it becomes.

Procrastination is a symptom of something.  It’s not evidence that you’re broken.  It’s evidence that your unconscious is staging a rebellion.  And in order to bring your unconscious back into alignment with your conscious mind – you have to understand what is causing the rebellion.

Why shaming doesn’t work

Imagine if you went to a doctor and told him you have a sore throat.  And instead of the doctor examining you and running tests and prescribing treatment, instead, he told you that you were bad and wrong for having a sore throat.

Would that fix your sore throat?

Wouldn’t you just feel bad about yourself and still have a sore throat?  And yet, that’s exactly what you’re doing every time you beat up on yourself for procrastinating.  It doesn’t work.  Cut it out!

Procrastination is a symptom

Procrastination is the key to finding out what your unconscious is trying to tell you.  So instead of shaming yourself – start investigating. Become Dr. House and investigate what is causing your procrastination.  Get curious.

What is the root cause of your procrastination?

What Causes Procrastination?

There are many different reasons for procrastination.  And if you tend to procrastinate on a lot of different things – you may have different reasons for each thing.  Here is a list of common causes and some suggestions to counter them:

  • Your goals are unclear – you’re not sure why you should be doing this thing

Get clear on your goals – what specific goal does this action serve?

  • There is a learning curve for this action and you don’t know how to do it

Find someone who can show you how.  Take a class to learn how.  Google it!  Take the action and be willing to do it badly while you’re learning.

  • The action is too big, too vague or too general (overwhelming)

Break it down and get specific.

  • You have a lot of different actions you need to take and they all seem of equal priority or importance

Make a list and knock them out one at a time – if they are truly of equal priority, just pick ANY one.  Learn how to manage conflicting priorities.

  • No matter what you do, it’s never enough.  And you’re not allowed to play until you finish your homework!

Celebrate each accomplishment, each baby step.  Make sure you take breaks to play, exercise, just breathe. Not allowing yourself to celebrate is a recipe for burnout. This is critical!

  • The action feels like a big risk and you’re afraid to take that risk

First ask yourself, “Is this true?” In other words, is it really the risk you think it is? You may find that your fear of the risk is making it seem bigger. Get support or coaching around overcoming your fear.

  • When you imagine taking the action, you anticipate that it will be difficult or frustrating or even just boring

Just do it for 15 minutes – you can stop after 15 minutes.  Put on some really great music. Reward yourself for having done it by doing something really fun next.

  • When this action is complete, the next obvious action is either invisible (if I do this, then what?) or really scary (if I do this, then I’ll have to do THAT!)

Very often the next step will become clear when this step is done.  And you don’t have to do it alone.  Work with a coach to help you through the scary stuff and figure out what’s next. And remember – just focus on the action in front of you – the next action will be dealt with when it’s time to deal with it!

Diagnosing Your Procrastination

Do some of the above suggestions ring true for you? Here are a few more questions that might help you uncover the underlying cause of your hesitation and/or resistance.  First, don’t ask “why”!  “Why” just gives you reasons to procrastinate more!

  • When I think about taking this action, I feel ______________ (fill in the emotion word – anxious, sad, angry, etc.).  What am I thinking/believing that has me feeling ______________?
  • When I imagine taking this action, I think it is going to be _______________ (easy, hard, frustrating, boring, overwhelming, etc.)
  • How long will this action take me?
  • What are the specific steps to accomplishing this action?
  • What fear, concern or consideration is stopping me from taking this action?
  • What will taking this action do for me?  What outcome do I desire from taking this step?
  • What outcome am I afraid of, if I take this action?  What’s the worse case scenario? What if I do nothing?  Is that worse?
  • If I break this action down into its smallest component steps and just contemplate the first of those steps – how does that feel?  Can I take that baby step now?
  • Am I celebrating each baby step or am I only allowed to celebrate when I have the big goal and I’ve done it perfectly?

Sometimes simply asking some of these questions can actually clear you enough to get into action.

Procrastination can fundamentally undermine all of your time management systems.  So figuring out what is causing you to procrastinate is a critical first step in managing your time well.

What are you procrastinating? Share what you discover about your own procrastination in the comments, or ask for help figuring it out!

 

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Is Action Your Missing Piece?

action, results, goals, law of attractionIn my fifteen years as a business coach for the professionally creative and creative entrepreneurs, I’ve seen a lot of incredibly smart, very talented people struggle to bring their dreams to fruition.

When I first started – I believed that this was largely due to a lack of knowledge in business fundamentals and business skills. Which is why I created the Artists Marketing & Business Academy – to help you close that knowledge gap.

And while I still believe that’s part of the problem, I’ve come to the conclusion that you could have all the knowledge and skill training and still struggle.

Because there’s a piece missing – and that’s ACTION!

What is Action?

Much to my surprise – it turns out action is a pretty complex word with many different meanings. But here are the ones I think are most useful for this conversation:

action

1a: thing done, a deed
b: the accomplishment of a thing usually over a period of time, in stages, or with the possibility of repetition
c: behavior, conduct
d: initiative, enterprise

2: an act of will

Merriam-Webster.com

LIVE ENCORE PRESENTATION – MAY 4TH

So, its what you do, right? Not what you say, not what you think, not what you wish, but what you actually DO.

You may remember a movie that came out several years ago — The Secret — which showed this guy sitting on his couch dreaming about a car – and then magically that car appears. I’ve always found that to be a misleading and possibly destructive portrayal of the Law of Attraction. Which led me to begin tweeting this:

The Law of Attraction without action is just the Law of Attr! Put the Action BACK!

It seems so simple – then why do we struggle so much with getting into action, staying in action, and choosing which actions to focus on?

What Blocks Action?

And why is it that some people seem to be completely stuck and stopped by these obstacles and others appear (at least from the outside) to be unstoppable?

You might think, “Well it’s just a difference in personality.”

Or, “It’s just easier for them than it is for me – they don’t have this problem with resistance or procrastination.”

Perhaps you even think, “I’m just … broken.”

Poppycock! I say!  Utter HOGWASH!

Okay – you might notice that this is a pet peeve of mine – you’re not broken. They’re not better than you. And it’s not some character flaw that you have no choice in!

What stops us is a bit different in each person.

  • It may look like procrastination.
  • It may look like analysis paralysis.
  • It may look like perfectionism.
  • It might feel like resistance, fear or overwhelm.

And it’s a useful exercise to examine what that dynamic is for you.

How do you know its time to stop? How do you know its the right time for some procrastination? (Wonder who’s tagged me on Facebook…) Understanding what your triggers are that begin this spiral into inertia or active resistance can help you disrupt that pattern. But understanding the pattern isn’t enough – you have to then have the tools to shift out of the pattern into something more productive.

What Allows or Even Motivates Action?

I believe that the primary difference between the folks that get stopped and the ones that seem to be unstoppable in their action is in their response to that stimulus. It’s not that they don’t get overwhelmed or experience fear. It’s not that they never question their choices or play the “Yeah, but…” game.

It’s that their response to that happening is to move forward into action.

You can think of it as simply rocking backwards and putting your weight in your heels. Or rocking forward and putting your weight on your toes. Try it – stand up and rock your weight backward just enough to sink into your heels. Then rock your weight forward to just slightly come up on your toes. Can you feel the difference? Can you feel the need, the desire, the irresistible urge to step forward when you rock forward?

So, when something seems to knock you off balance. When you feel stuck or stopped or resistant. When you are overwhelmed or stuck in perfectionism. Stand up and lean in.

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The Magic of Action – Free Webinar!

Do you struggle with procrastination?
Are you overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff to do – so much you are frozen by it?
Or are you really busy – but lack confidence that you’re doing the right things to create success?

Action is required to bring any goal to fruition.

Without action, inspiration and ambition are merely cool ideas.

Without action, your creativity stagnates, opportunities evaporate and despair gains fertile ground to root in.

FREE WEBINAR

The Magic of Action – How to Implement the Right Things at the Right Time!

LIVE ENCORE May 4th, 2017
7:00 PM EST

REGISTER TODAY!

It seems so simple, right? Just start moving, start doing, right? But very often, because of the power of inertia, starting can seem overwhelmingly difficult. So, we just do the things that seem easiest, but we can call them action – like going through email or doing the dishes.

And while something is certainly better than nothing – without results, we lose momentum and fall back into inertia. Because we’re not doing the RIGHT things.

If you are serious about your goals, about your career/business, about the impact you intend to make in the world – you must take action. And not just any action – but the right actions that will invigorate your desire and manifest your dreams.

You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.
–Mahatma Gandhi

In this free webinar, Debra Russell, certified business coach, speaker, and master practitioner in NLP and Hypnosis, will give you three pillars of successful action. With this guidance you can create sustainable and impactful action that will move you to your goals.

This webinar is completely free – and if you can’t make the live date – a replay will be made available to all those who register. Take action!

REGISTER TODAY!

Boundaries – The Key to Time Management Sanity

boundariesDo you know what your boundaries are?  Most of us have some vague notion of what a boundary is and how it feels when someone has crossed our boundaries. But what are they really?

Boundary – Something that indicates bounds or limits; a limiting or bounding line.
Dictionary.com

In the context of time management, your boundaries can have many references.  It could refer to:

  • The beginning and ending of a block of time set aside for a particular activity.
  • The difference between your needs and another’s needs
  • The defining line between different projects or jobs in your life
  • The bounds between work and play, activity and rest, inner and outer focused energy

All of these are critical concepts when it comes to your ability to manage your time well.  Understanding what your boundaries are can help you prioritize, make decisions and create a sustainable business.  Burnout is generally caused from insufficient boundaries. (For example, working too much or putting other people’s needs/demands over your own needs)

Three Steps to Creating Time Management Sanity

1 – Creating A Clearly Defined Schedule

If you don’t know your boundaries – how can you defend them?  The simplest method of creating clear boundaries around your activities is working with a schedule or Time Map that has clearly defined time blocks in it.  This is different than a task list.  This is an organization of your time in which you have decided what category or area of your life you will be focused on during a specific block of time.  I go into more detail about exactly how to do this in The Artists Marketing & Business Academy – Track 3B Classes.

Once you’ve created a schedule that allows for balance and clear beginnings and endings, then you can practice maintaining those boundaries for yourself.  Also, when someone comes to you with a request for your time, you will be very clear on your availability. And if you choose to say “no” to their request (see #2), you don’t have to tell them it’s because you scheduled to do laundry during that time.  You can just say, “I’m sorry, I’m not available.”  (Practice that answer by yourself over and over if this is difficult for you!)

2 – Making Clear “Yes” or “No” Decisions

It is human nature to want to say “yes” to the people we care about, to the people we want to think well of us, really to most everyone.  Saying “no” is not a skill we’re taught as children.  In fact, quite the opposite, we’re taught that saying “yes” is rewarded and saying “no” is punished.  This is a skill you MUST learn as an adult.

As small business owners and solopreneurs, particularly those of us who work from home, we often receive requests for our time.

It is easy to say “no” to the stuff you don’t want, those are not the “no’s” we are talking about. We are talking about the challenging “no’s”, the ones that come when you have to say “no” to something you DO want, or to someone you care about, or want to help.

Indrani Goradia, Indrani’s Light Foundation – Global Solutions to Gender Violence

But if you know your schedule (see #1) and you’re clear on what your goals are and WHY you created that schedule and want those goals, then saying “no” becomes easier.  As Indrani taught me, when you say “yes” to one thing, you are saying “no” to everything else.  So, you better be clear on what you are saying “no” to when you say “yes”.  Here’s what I recommend when someone asks you for something that will take your time away from your goals (even when it’s something fun and fabulous):

  • What does the request entail?  Specifically, how much of your time, energy, and resources will it take?
  • When do they need your answer by?

Then end the conversation WITHOUT GIVING THEM AN ANSWER.  Promise you’ll get them an answer before their deadline and walk away (or hang up the phone).  Give yourself time to think, time to make the decision away from them.

In order to make this decision, ask yourself:

  • If I say “yes” to this, what am I saying “no” to, specifically?
  • What are the benefits to me personally if I say “yes” to this?
  • What will I lose if I say “yes” to this?
  • What will I lose if I say “no” to this?

These questions should help you come to a decision that enables you to honor your boundaries.

3 – Managing Expectations – Yours and Everybody Else’s!

Our tendency, particularly if you are a new or struggling business owner, is to promise your prospective clients the moon.  This can damage both your own life as well as your business.  Because you promise more than you can realistically achieve within the time allotted, you will either kill yourself to keep your promise, or break your promise and kill your reputation.

There is a saying, “Under promise and over deliver.”  I actually recommend, under promise and deliver on your promise with excellence.  That doesn’t necessarily mean over deliver.  It just simply means, promise only what you’re absolutely sure you can deliver and then deliver it with excellence.

Setting clear time boundaries is another important aspect of managing other people’s expectations.  For example, if someone calls you and asks if you have a minute – you know that they’re asking for more than a minute.  But you can respond with, “I can give you 5 minutes.”  And when that 5 minute period has ended, you can say, without guilt, “I have to go now.” and hang up.  Because you managed their expectations at the beginning of the conversation, ending that call becomes much easier.  I often do this when calling for technical support.  I start the call with, “I have a client in 15 minutes.”  And it’s amazing how much less time I now spend on these calls!

But you also need to manage your own expectations.  For example, creating a To Do List for today that has 16 hours of work, but you only have 4 hours available is a habit that can kill your self-esteem.  You will never get all of those things done, and every time you don’t, you feel like you’ve failed.  Have a master To Do list (ideally organized by category, see #1).  And then put on today’s task list ONLY what you are confident you can accomplish in the time available.  Hey, having to go back to the master list because you finished faster is a happy problem, right?

So how are you doing with your time management boundaries?  Let me know in the comments what new insights you got and any questions you have.

 

 

Procrastination is Keeping Me Waiting

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramOne of the most frequently asked question in my Ask Coach Debra calls is how to deal with procrastination. Very often we know what we need to do.  And yet somehow, we can’t get ourselves to sit down and do it!

All of the Time Management structures and systems you’ve learned to create in the Time Management and Project Management Classes will be impossible to implement if you don’t figure out how to overcome procrastination.

Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.  ~Victor Kiam

In this class you’ll discover:

  • What is procrastination, really, and what causes it?
  • Three techniques to get yourself moving when you’re stuck
  • An NLP process that you can use over and over to create momentum with ease

At the ArtistsMBA, you are learning a lot about how to create a successful, sustainable and profitable business doing what you love.  But until you put this knowledge into action your dreams are fantasies.  This class will help you move past your internal blocks and into action.

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

Listen to the Class:

Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Professional, Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Foundation Program
to access the following classes today ($5 for first 10 days/$27 per month Tuition):

Read the Class Transcript

(Transcript coming soon.)
Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Mastery Lab to access the transcript of this class today


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Next Class:

Time Management Bookends – A Framework for Success

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramTime Management is the Number One System that will enable you to achieve sustainable success in your business and your life.

If your Time Management isn’t working – nothing else will.

I have worked with literally hundreds of clients on the issues that a poor time management system creates

They include:

  • Procrastination
  • Difficulties with prioritization
  • Boundary issues with family and friends
  • Feelings of overwhelm and fear
  • Burnout

And what I’ve found is that when you start the day well and end the day well, very often the middle works so much better!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • What are Time Management Bookends and why do we use them
  • How to design your unique morning and evening Bookends?
  • The three most important components of successful Bookends
  • How to install your bookends into your daily life

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

Listen to the Class:

Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Professional, Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Foundation Program
to access the following classes today ($5 for first 10 days/$27 per month Tuition):

Read the Class Transcript

(Transcript coming soon.)
Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Mastery Lab to access the transcript of this class today


Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA foundation, professional Program members only. Click here to access.

Next Class:

Time Management 101 – The Art of Juggling

Artists MBA, Foundation Program“If only I had more time! Then I could do all that I want to do!”

There are 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. That won’t change. So how do you use what you have to create the life that you want?

The solution isn’t by figuring out how to do more stuff.  It’s figuring out how to adjust your choices and decisions so that you’re doing the right stuff at the right time.

Time Management is a skill and as a skill, you can learn it.  The problem for most people is that they were never taught.  Instead you’ve been shamed for not already knowing how to manage your time.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. quote

Don’t you think it’s time for you to get a handle on your time?

In this Class, you’ll learn:

  • How to figure out what you’re doing right so you can do more of that
  • How to set up a system that really works with who you are
  • Several tools to help you make the most of your time
  • What to do with that To Do list!

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

Listen to the Class:

Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Foundation, Professional, Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Foundation Program
to access the following classes today ($5 for first 10 days/$27 per month Tuition):

Read the Class Transcript

(Transcript coming soon)
Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Mastery Lab to access the transcript of this class today


Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA foundation, professional Program members only. Click here to access.

Next Class:

Get the Learning – the 5th Key to Maintaining Focus in the Face of Chaos

As I teach in How to Use Feedback and Criticism Constructively, every experience is fodder for growth and development, if you are willing to get the learning. Assessing and adjusting as you go will make you more successful, because the ability to be flexible and adapt to changing conditions is a key success principle. So, the concept of “Get the Learning” is both useful in your immediate ability to function as well as ensuring your long-term success. The first step of this Key is to be asking yourself, as the Former New York Mayor, Ed Koch, was famous for asking, “How am I doing?” Here are a few questions you can use to evaluate how you’re doing:

  • What accomplishments and successes did I have today? (no accomplishment is too small)
  • What did I think I’d be able to accomplish, but didn’t, and what a) got in the way and/or b) did I choose to do instead?
  • What worked and didn’t work, today?
  • What were the choices I made and how do I feel about those choices?  What could I have done differently?
  • What resources did I use and what resources could I have used that might have enabled me to achieve more?
  • What obstacles did I overcome and how did I overcome them?
  • What am I proud of myself for and what I am I grateful for?

These questions can be asked on a daily basis and they can also be asked at the end of the period or project as you look back at what happened. Once you’ve answered these questions – and I think it’s useful to write your answers down – you must follow it up with these two critical questions:

  • What are the over-arcing lessons and principles I can take away from today? (These should be the larger concepts that can be applied to multiple areas of your life)
  • As a result of these learnings what adjustments or changes am I going to implement tomorrow?

If you approach each day and each challenge with the mind of a student, solidify the learnings and then apply those changes in the future, you will be able to rise to any challenge, adapt to any change and succeed in business and in life. What lessons did you learn today?

Ask for Help – the 3rd Key to Maintaining Focus

In the 1st Key, we looked at the big list, and in the 2nd Key, took everything off the plate that we could using the first 3 of the 4 D’s from Julie Morgenstern’s Time Management from the Inside Out:

  1. Delete
  2. Delay
  3. Diminish
  4. Delegate

The 3rd Key is all about delegating.  It’s about taking the things that you’ve got left on the plate and asking the question – for which of these things is it critical that I do them personally and what can I give away?

In this society, we’re taught that it’s wrong to ask for help.  You should be able to do it yourself, right?  Just pick yourself up by your bootstraps and get to work.  But the truth is that the really successful people understand that no one gets there by themselves.  You have to be willing to ask for help.

“But Debra,” you say:

  • If I ask for help, don’t I look weak?
  • If I ask for help, aren’t I vulnerable to being taken advantage of (could also sound like, what if they steal my material?)
  • I can’t ask for help, everyone else is just as stressed and overwhelmed as I am!
  • What if they say “No?”

Regarding the first point – ask yourself this, if you don’t ask for help, and aren’t able to come through on your promises as a result – how will you look then?

Regarding the second point – I’m recommending delegation, NOT abdication.  Be smart in how you work with people -and set up accountability procedures.

Regarding the third and fourth point – whenever you ask, you must be OK with them saying, “No.”  If you don’t allow the “No”, then you’re not asking, you’re manipulating.

But let me ask you this – when someone you love and care about asks you for help, how do you feel?  I’m not talking about the person who always asks and never offers, always takes and never gives. I’m talking about the person who mostly does for themselves – when they ask for help, how do you feel?  If it’s someone you really care about – I bet you feel honored and grateful to be able to give to the people you love.  By not ever asking for help – you are holding out on the people you care about.  You’re cheating them of the opportunity to contribute to you and to express their love and caring for you.  So asking for help is being generous – isn’t it?

And if it’s OK for them to say “No.” because they just can’t this time, then they will also have the space to say, “Yes.” if and when they can.  And you need to trust people to take good care of themselves.  Support them in being honest with you – let them know that it’s OK if they say no.  And then accept their generosity graciously and with gratitude.  You could also look for ways to give back and help them out when they need it.

When it comes to asking for help from your fans and followers, as an artist, you are offering them an opportunity to play with you at a deeper level.  When fans volunteer for an artist they love, they become more committed and invested in your success.  And as a result, they are more likely to share you with others, buy from you, and commit to being your fan for the long term.

And isn’t that really what you want?  Committed, passionate lifetime fans?  The best way to create that relationship with your fans is to ASK FOR THEIR HELP!

So who are you going to ask for help?  Let me know how it goes!