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achievement action ideas avoidance business business skills coach empower growth motivation network marketing secrets Aug 07, 2022

Has this ever happened to you?


For the last few days, something important has appeared on your “to do list” and you still haven’t done it.  Maybe you need to make reach-out phone calls to find new customers.  Perhaps you need to make follow-up calls to past customers.   You’re clear about what it the task is, but  for some reason, you keep avoiding it.


Are you ever drawn to a pattern of “creative avoidance?”  Here’s what that looks like:

  • You start cleaning anything in sight, even if you don’t like to clean.
  • You organize a drawer that has always been bothering you.
  • You bake a batch of cookies. Maybe two batches.
  • You do anything you can think of to give yourself the good feeling that comes with being productive,


Deep down, part of you knows that you’re simply avoiding what you need to do.  It’s possible you don’t want to do it.  It’s possible you don’t know how.  It’s likely that you are afraid of failing.


I recently had an experience like this.  I had an important project with a critical deadline.   Truth be told, part of me was feeling a little overwhelmed with what needed to get done.  I was afraid that my outcome wouldn’t be fantastic, and I like when things are fantastic.


I know that breaking things down can help get things started,  so I segmented the project into ten bite-sized pieces.  My thinking was good:  If I could just get in motion on the first part of it, momentum would kick in and I’d keep moving forward.  I knew what had to happen, and I knew the first steps.  And yet, instead of writing, I went into my kitchen and started scrubbing down my already-clean counter-tops.  Now, let me ask you this:  Were ultra-clean counter-tops going to move my project forward?  You decide. 


I chatted with myself as I scrubbed, realizing that my avoidance activity was nothing more than fear-based procrastination.  I was avoiding the project because I was afraid of the outcome.  I knew I wasn’t doing what I needed to do.  I was sabotaging myself and keeping myself from moving toward a positive outcome.


You may wonder if I ever found a way to walk away from the spray bottle of kitchen cleanser.  (Yes, I did.  Whew).  And yes, I finally started,  and finished, my project.  I was thrilled with the outcome, and I learned a lot about myself every step of the way.


You may wonder what to do when you’re avoiding  a task that you know is important to your success.   Let’s look:


  • WALK AWAY. Literally move yourself away from the source of distraction so you can change your perspective.  Take a short walk or move to another location so you can think clearly.


  • PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SELF-TALK. Look at the thoughts in your head during your distracting activity.  Has your self-talk been negative?  Have you been saying, “I should” or “I can’t”?    


  • BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. Ask yourself, “What am I avoiding?  What is making me avoid this?”  Open yourself to the possibility that fear of failure is at play. 


  • SET A TIMER. Give yourself permission to engage in the distracting activity for a specified period of time.  In my case, I said, “Joan, you’ve got another five minutes to clean.  Then it’s time to stop avoiding and get to work.”


  • DECIDE WHAT YOU WILL DO. Break your important action into measurable and manageable pieces.  For example, decide that you will make phone calls without distraction for 30 minutes.  Or, decide to make ten calls before you’ll give yourself permission to stop.


  • DISCIPLINE YOURSELF TO LEAN INTO THE FEAR. Like a lot of things, self-management is the key to growing.   It won’t work if you wait for the fear to go away before you take action.  It is in taking action that you will minimize the role that fear plays in your actions.  Discipline yourself to do what it takes.


You chose to work for yourself so you could create your own outcomes.

Pay attention to what you’re avoiding.

Take steps to do what you know you want to do!