Procrastination. It just feels like laziness.

I’m a coach to coaches. I help just starting out life coaches, wellness coaches and “I’m not exactly sure what kind of coach I am yet”, coaches to become marketer. Because they all start down the path of coaching because they want to help people. Then they find out they also need to build a business. That’s where I come in.

A few months ago I polled all these lovely, big-hearted coaches in my Facebook community, and asked them what keeps them from “doing” marketing for their business. While I was expecting “not enough time” or maybe, “I don’t know where to start” to be the winner, what came through loud and clear was instead… procrastination.

I wanted to know more.

While I wasn’t surprised it came up (after all it was one of my own poll questions) — I was really surprised how big of a deal it was!

So I asked them how procrastination feels and when they see it crop up.

One woman, a life coach super in tune with her own emotions, described procrastination as feeling like “laziness with an inner dialog of ‘I can do X later, because I’d rather do Y right now”… with ‘X’ being important tasks for building her coaching business, and ‘Y’ tending to be a whole lot of time wasting on Pinterest.

Ok, that made sense. And as we dug a bit more into where it might be coming from — because after all she really wants to build her business — she hit the nail on the head.

She realized that what keeps her sucked into Pinterest (instead of spending time on all those projects she really cares about) is fear of the unknown.

Yes. Fear.

You see, when procrastination comes up when you’re in the midst of something important to you — while it may feel like laziness — it’s really fear.

Fear comes up when we are stepping into our bigger selves. When we decide to leave a corporate job and become a life coach. When we decide to write a little something and submit it to arianna@huffingtopost.com. When we want more, and we know we can do it, but then we actually need to well… do it.

Procrastination comes up to protect us from that great unknown. To keep us small. To keep us nice and safe. To protect us from rejection… disappointment… negative comments… [insert your fear of the unknown here].

So, here’s the deal.

Fear of the unknown is 100% normal whenever you are stretching yourself to do something new or different. And in these times, procrastination is very likely to crop up.

So if you’ve got Big Stuff you want to make happen — instead of letting procrastination suck you in, and then beating yourself up for all those hours lost on Pinterest… maybe ask yourself if maybe there’s some fear at play.

And if the answer is yes, be good to yourself. No beating yourself up over fear. It’s your mind’s totally natural response, and it’s just trying to protect you from doing those new, scary things.

But you don’t need protection. You want to do Big Stuff. You have SO much to offer.

So instead of getting sucked into the procrastination vortex, help yourself bring your important work to life with these 5 tips to go from procrastination to action:

  1. Set yourself up for success by carving out time to focus. Whether you’re starting a business, want to spend more time on a creative project, or are just trying something new — commit to time to focus on your work. Schedule time and then head to a cafe and turn off all the distracting social media. Allow yourself to hone in on the project at hand.
  2. Open up, reach out and find community. It’s really easy to get trapped in our own heads. Instead of spinning on your fears alone, reach out to a friend or mentor, post in a Facebook community where you feel supported, or consider joining a mastermind group of others who are focusing on similar endeavors.
  3. Stop waiting for the stars to align and for everything to be perfect. There will never be a perfect time. Now is just as good a time as any. (Seriously!) Maybe starting smaller is an option? Can you call your project a test run, allow yourself to put it out there and fine tune as you go? What can you do to make less than perfect feel like good enough?
  4. Check in with yourself about what matters to you. Sometimes we set down a path only to find that we want to make a left turn instead of a right… and that can be a reason for getting stuck in procrastination. Check in with yourself about why the work you find yourself procrastinating on matters to you. Is it still the right idea? Does it still light you up to develop it and put it out into the world?
  5. Just start. And last but not least, sometimes you just need to do something… anything. Take that deep breath, open up a fresh Google doc and just start writing, or send that email, or buy that domain name, or… you name it. Just start.

It can be so helpful to find out what’s really going on when we experience certain feelings and emotions. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences around both procrastination and fear with your creative projects and business building. Let me know what you’re thinking in the comments!

P.S. Interested in building your business and feeling good about it while you’re at it? Coaches of all flavors (and you creative entrepreneurs too!) are welcome in my Marketing School community!

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