Stop the press! There’s a conspiracy in the personal development industry. The people selling you every flavor of “get rich/thin/happy” have an invested interest in making sure you know that you are broken.
That’s right. Big Personal Development wants you to believe you’ve got problems. Big problems. Problems like self sabotage, confusion, lack of focus and more! Problems that only we can fix.
I said “we” because, technically, I’m a vendor of Personal Development. I’m a hawker of insight, a peddler of transformation and an introspection merchant.
In this capacity, I’m here to confess the truth. There isn’t anything wrong with you. Even your most self destructive acts of insidious procrastination are all absolutely perfect… if you meet this one simple criteria:
Have a mission
If you’re embarking on a quest, in life and business, then you aren’t broken. If you’ve signed yourself up to a goal that’s bigger than you, then an extraordinary shift is occurring.
All those obstacles that personal development was supposed to cure – the procrastination, fear and self sabotage… they’re all going to change.
What used to be hugely negative issues (worth hiring a coach to fix) suddenly become an essential part of your quest.
That’s right. Procrastination (and the rest) become a valid, useful part of your mission to make an impact.
A mission changes all the rules
When you have a mission in life, a sense of purpose is added to every action you take. Every behavior you carry out. A mission isn’t just “work”. The transformation of purpose extends way beyond what you do during the hours of nine and five.
Don’t get me wrong. A lot of entrepreneurs have got problems. There are a ton of obstacles holding thousands of wannabes back, the world over. I’ve built a career around resolving as many of them as I can.
When someone who lacks a mission chooses to procrastinate, it’s because their unconscious mind doesn’t know what to do next. They’re lacking direction and the easiest next step isn’t obvious. Hell, forget the next step – the whole path and end goal is a complete blur!
In such circumstances, folks do tend to get utterly paralyzed by all the nasty psychological stuff. That’s a form of broken-ness and it can be fixed, by experts skilled in the art of transformation.
However when someone lifts their focus beyond their own needs, to a quest that matters, the meaning of all types of self sabotage is transformed.
Suddenly, everything becomes relevant
When your life is driven by the over-arching sense of direction that (only) a mission creates, everything you do is part of it.
That novel you were reading, for fun. It’s now a source of metaphorical and archetypal inspiration – driving you toward the realization of your mission.
That frivolous coffee date with your old friend? It’s now an opportunity for feedback, perspective and new ideas.
When you’re on a mission to change something about the world, there is a lot of preparation that has to happen. You have to extend yourself as a person. Ironically, this is a kind of personal development.
Fulfilling all your needs becomes “part of the mission”. Every action you take contributes, in some way, to the direction and momentum of the journey you are on. Even if you don’t know it.
Steve Jobs talked about this in his famous Stanford address. He spoke about how, in hindsight, the seemingly random actions he took in his youth were all an essential part of his (and his company’s) journey to success. Calligraphy lessons, chosen through sheer curiosity as a youth, formed a huge part of early Macintosh user interface design.
When you’re on a mission in life, everything becomes relevant. Procrastination is almost always perfectly timed and useful – your unconscious mind just needs a little more time to let ideas percolate, so it buys that time through procrastination.
Hesitation to take action is a signal that more preparation is required. Spontaneous distractions take you to new and interesting places that’ll prove to be key turning points in hindsight.
Taking time to eat food is critical – it nourishes you and fuels your mission’s success. Even total hedonism is important. Will a ninety minute massage derail your workflow or reinvigorate your mind and body to contribute even more?
Spend time with your significant other to nourish your spirit. Let your kids inspire you to make a world that’s better for them.
To contribute 110% to your mission, you’ll need to look after yourself. You’ll need to give the gift of allowing yourself constructive procrastination and hesitation.
It’s all part of it.
You need to trust that, so long as you hold a deep intention to fulfill a significant mission, no single behavior will derail you from your path. In fact, everything you do will lead you inexorably closer to realizing your vision.
Including the stuff that used to be labelled as “bad” or “broken” – like procrastination. It’s all part of it.
The only catch is losing track of your mission. If you abandon your quest, then the transformation reverses and all that stuff becomes just as bad and broken as before.
Stay focused on an ultimate purpose that’s bigger than you and all the details in between will fit into place. The rules change and things just flow.