There’s an old story about a manager being fired and leaving his successor two envelopes. The envelopes, labeled #1 and #2 are to be opened in that order when the new manager gets in a tough situation. The story goes that the new manger gets in a bind, opens #1 which has a note inside that reads “Blame it on me.” This works for a little while and then another major problem arises. The new manager opens up #2 which contains a note that reads “Prepare two envelopes.”
It’s so easy to put things off. Something more exciting can come up or maybe you’re just feeling lazy. Why do something right now when you can do it later? How can one procrastinate, let me count the ways:
- Putting something important off to watch TV, surf the web, play video games, etc…
- Instead of doing what you know deep down needs to be done, you pretend something else is a higher priority and do that task instead.
- Putting something you don’t want to do off indefinitely with the hope that you may never have to do it.
The word “but” often causes trouble in interpersonal communication. Consider the following statement: “You did a great job, but….”
Of course, you expect to hear something negative next and the part about doing a great job is forgotten. Instead, try this “You did a great job, and if we could just fix this one issue, things will go even smoother next time.” Another alternative would be to replace the first comma with a period and delete the “and.”
My friend Mark once told me a way to help me achieve my goals: each day, write down 20 things that you can do to that will help you move closer to your goal. Mark had used this technique while earning his MBA when his goal was to win a contest at his school. He did this diligently every day and sure enough, he won.
Through the years, I’ve played around with this technique and created some rules to make it most effective. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Do you ever look back on a time in your life where you regretted not taking a risk? Personally, I can think of several opportunities I missed out on ranging from not asking someone out on a date to not taking a chance and starting a dot com business when those businesses were thriving.
Chances are, there’s some kind of fear or discomfort that’s separating the current you from the you that you want to become. If your goal is to find an ideal mate, maybe it’s fear of rejection or discomfort of trying something new like speed dating. If your goal is to get promoted, perhaps it’s fear of the unknown – you don’t know what to expect and if you can handle it.