In this blog post, I will share 3 lessons learned from procrastinating like a pro (for 18 months) and how it could have held back in my business.
Click the play button below to listen, or scroll down and click ‘Read full transcript’ if you prefer to read the post.
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As you may know by now, my nickname is the Queen of Connection. This past week I think it should be changed to Queen of Procrastination!
Procrastinating. We all procrastinate from time to time but when it comes to being visible in your business it’s often fear that takes a grip. It feels super scary being visible and you have to constantly keep stepping up if you want people to know about your business. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve come in business or what you know, the procrastination monster (fear in this case), can kick in.
Here’s what happened:
Ever since I’ve become a coach I’ve had issues around whether I’m as good as other coaches. I’ve done the training, been tested, but it’s never been enough to completely quieten that nagging voice of doubt.
Yes, I’ve had the coaching on it, but often the coach gets frustrated with me, tells me just to get on with it and move on! At first, the fear was around being a newbie coach, but that never quite passed and the more I’ve mentored people the new fear of me not being a purist coach came up. (As in pure coaching only I mean, no mentoring)
Eighteen months ago I decided I wanted to go for my Accredited Senior Coach accreditation. I know I get great results with my clients but that’s because I combine my skills. For this assessment, I knew I needed to be a purist coach, and a lot of my work now is both coaching and mentoring so it’s hard for me to separate the two. I know I get better results with my clients when I use a combination of both.
If I could prove to myself that I was an okay coach then I could put a stop to this once and for all. So, like most things in my life, I treated it like a project. I spoke with my mentor and asked for some practice sessions with her.
As part of my sessions, we decided that I’d practice honing my skills on some business besties and get them to give me some honest feedback about areas in which I needed to improve. All good so far.
In my group programme, Rock Your Visibility Bootcamp, I thought I’d share my vulnerability with them to inspire them to step up with me. I declared that I would get the assessment done within the following 3 months and they were welcome to hold me accountable for a change. Three months came and went, no assessment or mention of it.
Lesson 1: Declare your goal, it means it doesn’t go away because you know someone could come back to you on it!
I had 5 of 6 sessions with my mentor, I think it was, and then I stopped them. If I didn’t take that last session, I didn’t have to take the assessment so I couldn’t fail, right?!
That nagging reminder that I’d declared the intention in my group was still there, though, so I ended up booking my final session and we talked about the assessment again. My accountability piece was that I’d follow it up and just ask the coaching body to book an assessment date for me, which I did.
I knew that I needed to just do it. No more messing about. If I didn’t take it then I wouldn’t know what I needed to improve on. I knew I couldn’t keep saying I’m going to do it, that’s not what I do. I’m an action taker, true to my word, so I did.
The session happened to come up when I took some time out over the past couple of weeks, funny that. The universe must have known I needed no other distractions! Thankfully, because I was not working I had time to prepare. There’s a lot of supporting evidence to provide for the assessment, plus I needed to feel ready. Yeah, like that was ever going to be happen
Lesson 2: Sometimes you just need to jump, there is no ‘ready’
You name it, I ran it as a thought. I messaged my mentor on the day asking the most basic questions, because I was so nervous. Why? Well what if they thought I couldn’t coach?’, ‘What if they listened back to the recording and wondered who on earth this coach was to say she was even applying to become an accredited senior coach?’ I didn’t even dare share it with my group in case I failed!
So to ‘get through it’ I did EFT. I did an NLP anxiety technique. I took White Chestnut Bach Flower Remedy to stop churning over what might be. I wrote a gratitude journal, I wrote intentions, I visualised. I did afformations (not a spelling mistake – they are different to affirmations!) I listened to past mentoring calls where I coached my ‘client’ and listened to her feedback to improve. Throw every tool you can at it. Whatever it takes to get you through that fear – do it!
I tried to be a shining example of a mum to Natasha, showing her that I wasn’t nervous (She’d just finished 10 GCSE’s for goodness sake – I was only doing 1 assessment) but it was a BIG deal! I was nervous, I was pacing, drinking coffee like it had gone out of fashion, but I knew it had to be done.
It only took me 18 months to pluck up the courage to go for it – how’s that for procrastination?!! EIGHTEEN months! Seriously!
The outcome: Ta-da! I passed!
After I was told I’d passed the assessment, I didn’t celebrate. I didn’t really even believe it until the award came through by email. I thought I’d misheard it. I even clarified with the assessor on the call that I had actually passed! I was like a cat on hot bricks waiting for the details to come through.
The thing is, if I hadn’t made myself vulnerable and declared to my lovely Bootcamp members that I was going to do it, it wouldn’t have happened. I’d have failed them, as I wasn’t leading by example, but this was yet another comfort zone I didn’t want to cross. ‘What if I failed at this assessment?’, ‘
What’s SO sad, though, and I’m sure some of you will resonate is that I got my actual grade last week and my first reaction wasn’t excitement, it was disappointment. I don’t know what I expected but the number wasn’t good enough. I wanted the number to be higher than it was.
I discounted all of the good and focused on a stupid number that means nothing. I was told prior to the assessment that to pass the testing would be rigorous, they wanted loads of evidence and I would only be awarded it if I could satisfy their strict criteria.
And I did. I passed, but what do I focus on – a stupid freaking number! A number that by any standards is a great number. It wasn’t just a scrape through, but it wasn’t the number I wanted. I think if I’d have got 99% it still wouldn’t have been good enough.
Did it really matter either way if I didn’t get the accreditation? Well yes and no. Truthfully, I think I’ve only been asked about my qualifications a couple of times now since coaching. It wouldn’t mean I couldn’t coach, I’d still get great results with my clients, but it was something that was important to me personally – something I just had to do.
My fear mindset could have cost me clients, though, I know that if you’re having doubts about your abilities when you’re coaching, you’re not completely focused on your client, and that’s not right.
When I was asked by my coach in a group coaching programme I’m in, how I was going to celebrate, I said I didn’t know. I’m not great at celebrating, but I will celebrate this one. It was a long time coming!
Lesson 3: Remember to celebrate
I hope by me sharing another vulnerable post with you that you’ll stop procrastinating on that thing that scares you too, it’s much more fun being on the other side of fear!
Call to action this week: Sometimes you just know it has to be done, no matter what the fear is. You will never develop if you don’t push yourself. You never know how far you’ll get if you just share with others what scares you, and then go out there and do it anyway.
Anyway, still doing the happy dance. I did pass after all!