Oh hai there!
Got something you want to do but got done reason can’t quite get around to it?
Urrrgh I know that feeling well, in fact it's a fairly regular dance that I do with myself.
It can be incredibly frustrating and at times i've felt like the only person in the world who isn't just doing things without over thinking and procrastinating!
But I'm not alone and incase you are feeling like you are I thought I'd share what my own non action taking cycle can look like at times.
CLASSIC Kit non action-taking for me looks a bit like... Researching the thing, writing lists on Evernote about 'The Thing', adding lists on Trello about 'The Thing', researching more about 'The Thing', seeing that other people have already done 'The Thing'.
Sometimes it can look like: Seeking out permission from people around me that it’s okay to do The Thing, waiting for inspiration to hit (this is a common one for me when I have to write something, spoiler alert... inspiration isn’t coming!) finally writing first drafts of blog posts, sales pages and content about The Thing. Note: Never finished copies that are ready to share, meditating on The Thing, journaling about The Thing. mind mapping about The Thing, feeling overwhelmed by The Thing, so much so that now the idea is feeling quite unpleasant rather than exciting. The worst part of the non action taking cycle is if I start to listen to that pesky inner critic who tells me thatthere’s no point doing 'The Thing' now, because it’s...
a) already been done.
b) Been done better.
c) By someone more qualified.
d) With a bigger audience.
e) With a podcast or book deal
f) Did I mention it’s been done already?
Basically my cycle looks like doing anything that involves not taking any actual action on The Thing.
In fact only time I’m consistently not like this is when I’m painting/being intentionally creative, then I’m free to make impulsive intuitive led decisions without any fear of failure. In my art practice I have trained myself to trust that mistakes are actually where all my best work comes from, it’s true too! The work I’m happiest with has all come from ‘accidents’ and when things have gone ‘wrong’. I am also usually pretty good at taking action if I’ve made a commitment to someone else or if someone needs my help unless my health or the health of my children come under attack.
The lightbulb moment for me has come when I realised that I can try to replicate how I work in my art practice across into other areas of my life. It's a transferable skill.
I was really beating myself up about my inability to take action but as soon as I found a way to talk about how I felt (I'm part of several fantastic communities where I get the space to do this!) I gave myself permission to have a luttle bit of time to procrastinate because life can be fucking at times! Reminding myself that my brain is just trying to keep me safe and when I do new things, even if they don't present a physical risk can trigger all the 'stay safe' responses my brain can throw at me.
Over the years I’ve managed to feel comfortable owning the identity of Artist, I’ve been doing that now for a long time and I have no trouble saying that when I get asked that dreaded question “So what do you do?” at social events (it's worth mentioning that if ever you meet me at a social event I find small talk really hard, I'm terrible at it, please persevere, In often warm up after a while!)
But I think in my most recent (very recent) case of non action taking, writing this blog post or any blog posts for example. I’ve not yet managed to own the extra part of what I do, the newer part. Even though it’s something I’ve been doing in an unofficial way for just as long as I've been calling myself an Artist.
I had to think carefully (and have a spot of 'non action taking' procrastination over whether it was appropriate to be sharing this with you; but I am because I know deep down that my inability to get shit done at times actually gives me the hugest empathy for you when you’re stuck in the torturous cycle of non action when it comes to working on your own ideas!
I just want to tell you that I know just how hard it can feel, how lonely it can feel as you see so many others who appear to be effortlessly doing their 'Thing' (they have their shit too, we all do!) I can metaphorically sit beside you in it and offer to help you figure out some teeny tiny actions that you can take so you don't feel so alone with it because your ideas are most likely brilliant! Is there an area in your life where you are comfortable taking action? Where you feel more comfortable? If so then are you able to work out what makes you able to do that and then apply it to this new area. I realise it's often easier to say than do, this is where for me journalling REALLY helps. I write all this stuff down and then re-read it later on when I'm a bit detached and see if I can figure things out a bit more. It's worked well for me so far, let me know if it works for you!
Right, now if I can just stop over thinking whether this post is worth sharing... and... just...press... post!