Do you struggle with Procrastination? Do you wake up in the morning with great intentions to pioneer rather than postpone an important project? Determined not to be daunted by the scale of the task at hand, do you stay focused on the destination? Do you find yourself distracted by the thought of the many twists and turns on the journey?
Procrastination is a persistent human problem, holding us back in so many ways. Yet it is possible to reframe the story in our heads using a famous Storytelling technique called ‘Kill the Monster’. Let me show you how.
The Procrastination Problem
All my life I have struggled with Procrastination. It wasn’t the thought of getting started as I was always eager to jump into the driving seat and fasten my seat belt. However, further into the journey, instead of focusing on the road ahead, I was always looking over my shoulder in the rearview mirror. Then I saw the Procrastination Monster in hot pursuit. I felt its cold scales brushing my cheek, its fetid breath on the back of my neck, its fearsome fangs poised to grab me by the throat. For years he held me captive to a hollow life of joyless jobs and plans half-baked. Not anymore!
One day, two years ago on April 5th, 2016, I decided to rewrite the story in my head and break out of my inertia. The previous year I had to leave the Corporate World where I was a Marketing Contactor. I fell off a loft ladder and broke my spine. The crack on my head when I fell to the floor was a strange kind of wake-up call to do something much more fulfilling, to start my own business after a year spent recuperating.
Whilst on my sick bed and during numerous hospital and physiotherapy appointments, I kept thinking how many years earlier, in a large Telco, I’d discovered a framework for helping the salespeople sell a dry, complex portfolio of products through marketing storytelling. I created a marketing toolkit based around hero stories about the amazing salespeople (the beating heart of the company) who went out on a limb every day to help their own heroes, their customers every day. Important client conversations happened. Client relationships deepened. Profits soared. I discovered that storytelling really does help you sell!
At that time I discovered a book by Christopher Booker ‘The 7 Basic Plots. Why We Tell Stories’. He shared how every situation in life and business can be framed into one of 7 common story structures we can use to find meaning from our experience, using it to share our experiences and insights with others. His ‘Kill the Monster’ storyline is an approach we can use to prevent the evil monster, procrastination, sabotaging our success. It’s a tool we can use rewrite our stories and choose a much better ending.
So without more ado, let’s burn rubber! Let’s not look backwards in our rear-view mirror but make headway towards the end goal. Hold on tight. Let’s outrun this Procrastination Monster, together, in 5 manageable stages!
Stage 1. The Call
Maybe you have fallen out of love with your current job? Or perhaps you want to publish that book or declutter your house? Whatever it is, it’s preventing you from leading the life you deserve to lead, the story you’d love to tell.
Here it’s important to write your ideas in a journal and turn them into actionable daily, fortnightly, monthly and annual goals. Collectively, they’re the Haynes manual which will make your vehicle road-ready for the journey which lies ahead!
Stage 2. The Dream
At this stage, the hero (you) dares to dream about the treasure (that longed for weight-loss, the dream job or business, the published series of blogs or book) that lies at the end of your long, hard campaign. The monster is still a safe distance away and you have plenty of time to postpone and prevaricate.
Here it’s important to hold fast to your dream. In the words of Walt Disney “All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them”. Confront your bad habits, replacing them with new ones. This is the toolkit which will keep you operational on the long, dark road ahead.
Stage 3. The Frustration
In this stage, the monster has again grabbed me by the throat and kept me in a place of inertia. Its power is revealed in all its terrible glory, and it looks like I (the hero) am in this situation way over my head.
Here it is important to navigate your journey with small achievable goals (like “I will write 1000 words a day, taking me nearer to publishing my book” or “I will create a content marketing plan with systematic actions to execute). Depict the treasures for the taking at journey’s end on a vision board. This is the satellite navigation system which enables you to proceed to the route without risk of deviation as your new brand story unfolds.
Stage 4. The Nightmare
I fall victim to the same vicious cycle which keeps me stuck every time. I oversleep, don’t exercise, see friends or have fun anymore. I am trapped in a living nightmare.
Here you should think about regrouping, recharging and rewarding, rather than giving up at the first hurdle. Look to your supporters, your networks of other like-minded business owners, friends and family, to keep you on track. We all have our own breed of Procrastination Monster holding us back. In the words of Tim Ferris “Your tiny actions put together can move mountains”. Your supporters are the road relay service which will take you stage by stage to your desired destination.
Stage 5. The Thrilling Escape From The Procrastination Monster
In this stage, the Monster is subverted and I (the hero) emerges victorious and win the trophy at the end of the journey. I can take my place on the podium along with the other winners (I become Master of my own destiny).
This stage represents my first two years in business as ‘Copy That Sells’, with clients who actually want to pay me for crafting more meaningful content which attracts dream customers at every stage of their marketing journey.
Don’t wait for tomorrow and remember done is much better than perfect. In the words of Tim Ferris “Tomorrow becomes never. No matter how small the task, take the first step now”. It’s not the Procrastination Monster but our own internal fear of failing which sabotages success. So confront those fears, take control and make your dreams materialise. Then tell your success story to others who will ask you to make it part of theirs.
If I can rise up like a Phoenix from the ashes after falling out of my loft and breaking my back, you can do this too! I admit I am not quite there yet. But beating the Procrastination Monster is top of mind each and every day. It’s always work in progress! We can all rewrite our life and business story. It’s yours, not someone else’s. You can have the life you choose as long you follow your heart. Write and tell that story. Don’t compromise or procrastinate. Just do it.
Let’s beat the Procrastination Monster. Our time is now!
Katherine Ledger is a Content Marketer, business storyteller and the owner of Copy That Sells. If your story doesn’t reflect your true personality and heart towards your customers she’ll help you pan out your business’s gold nuggets and write them into marketing content which wins clients’ hearts. Reach her at copythatsells.co.uk , +44 (0) 7703 545117, Katherine@copythatsells.co.uk, https://uk.linkedin.com/in/katherineledger