Putting Off the Scary Stuff: How I Finally Broke the Habit
How often do you say, I’ll do do that project when I’m less busy or think I’m going to chase my dream; but not until next year, because I’ll have more time then. Or I’ll launch that podcast/ blog/ product/ newsletter/ insert here…when the time’s right?
We all do it, right? We all have reasons to put things off. Putting things off is something I’ve realised is becoming a nasty habit for me.
Here’s just a short list of some of the excuses I’ve been making:
I’ll send that pitch … when I’m ‘ready’
I’ll launch my course … when my audience is ‘big enough’
I won’t put my products out there yet because … it’s ‘too early’
I’ll make more time for self-care … when my business is ‘big enough’
I’ll leave my job and take my side-hustle full time … when the time’s right’
Sounds like a load of lame excuses doesn’t it?
That’s because they ARE!
And you know where those excuses were coming from? FEAR. I’m making these excuses so that I don’t have to step out of my comfort zone. They’re excuses I’m making so that I can stay in my ‘safe place’.
So perhaps if I re-phrase them to the honest TRUTH:
I don’t want to send that pitch yet because … what if people reject me
I don’t want to launch my course yet because … what if I fail
I won’t put my products out there yet because … what if they don’t sell
I don’t want to make more time for self-care yet because … what if my business suffers
I don’t want to leave my job yet because … what if I end up looking like a fool
Yup, all fear.
But I hadn’t taken a moment to really feel those feelings and understand that I wasn’t putting off all of these things because ‘the time wasn’t right’ or because ‘my audience wasn’t big enough yet’, I was postponing all of these things to avoid having to step out of my comfort zone, to avoid feeling scared, to avoid failure.
Are you realising right now that you’ve been doing the same with a particular project or scary next step?
Besides, side note, when is the ‘right time’ what is ‘big enough’ what does it feel like to be ‘ready’ and when is ‘too early’? Spoiler alert - these are vague reasons for putting something off - meaning I could keep postponing them time and time again because ‘I’m still not ready’.
So, what made me break that nasty habit? What broke the cycle?
Well, in a nutshell … I made a plan and I made it happen!
OK I know that sounds annoyingly simple, but I believe it is. Especially for me once I started to see through my weak excuses.
I created a 12-week plan breaking down all of the steps I needed to take to make my course happen. I grew my audience and my mailing list for my fortnightly side-hustle letters. I put deadlines in place and made myself accountable by telling my audience when my course would be on sale. I got support from working with a coach (the wonderful Kayte Ferris) and having business buddies I could speak to when things got tough. And I flexed my courage muscle, the more I used it the stronger it got.
This has been first time I stopped putting off creating my course Make a Plan > Make it Happen and got it out there. My only regret is, why didn't I do it sooner?
If you’ve also realised there’s something deeper behind your reasons for putting things off. If you’re also feeling held back by the fear, here are some tips on breaking the cycle so that you can make it happen in your side-hustle.
Make a plan - this is so important. Without a plan your running blind and you’re not sure where your focus needs to be. Make a plan which includes a solid goal, a deadline and the actions you need to take split out over 12-weeks. You can use my 3-step planning method to create your action plan.
Set a deadline - I know I mentioned it in my last point but it’s worth mentioning again. Set a deadline and make it public. I hate the idea of letting people down and I also hate the idea of people asking me - ‘where’s that thing you promised was going to be live today’ - so setting a deadline and making it public really helps me to make the thing happen.
Create a routine - It’s the little steps that add up to big changes. Even if it’s one evening a week that you can put aside, get into the routine of having that time to work through your plan each week.
Get some support - This could be in the shape of a business buddy, coach, mentor or group of like minded people. Surround yourself with people who can cheer you on and call you out when you mention that you might push that launch date back by a few weeks.
Take the pressure off - Treat each new project, each product launch, each newsletter etc as a little experiment rather than a life-changing moment. This will help to take the pressure off and enjoy the process of putting your unique work out into the world.