I’m making myself crazy. I’ve been doing it for months. Ever since I decided I was ready birth to my next body of work. In a fit of over-zealous optimism, I gave myself till spring to create a brand-new class, complete with a workbook.
Well, spring is quickly coming to a close. Neither the class or the workbook is near completion. Not even close. I’ve been beating myself up—unmercifully—for missing my deadline.
I’m a big believer in setting deadlines. They’re terrific tools for staying on track. But, I’m recognizing, there’s a major downside to made-up deadlines.
The trouble comes when I don’t meet them. Rather than rethink the timing, I scold myself severely for screwing up.
Oh the absurdity of artificial deadlines! Yet, looking back, I see I’ve done this my whole life. In fact, I realize, it’s a habit that’s been hardwired in my brain. And the very thing I wrote my last book about—3 steps to rewiring the brain—is precisely what I need to put into practice now. Yes, there’s hope!!!
I’ve already begun the 1st Step: Recognize. I clearly see that chastising myself for falling short of an arbitrary deadline is unhealthy, unproductive and habitual. Sure, deadlines can be motivating. But self-flagellation is no way to foster creativity. Instead I need to recognize my adverse reaction with curiosity, not judgement or criticism.
Now, the 2nd step, Reframe. I need to see this differently. Looking back, I realize (big sigh!) new projects always got completed…just not on my schedule. Instead of defying reality, I defer to Divine timing, declaring: “I’ll create it when the time is right.” And I repeat that affirmation over and over again.
Finally the 3rd step, Respond Differently. I make a promise to myself. From now on, if I’m feeling stuck, if doors stay closed, if nothing flows freely and it ceases to be fun, I’ll take these as indicators that it’s time to surrender to Divine Timing rather than doggedly pursue an artificial deadline.
The essence of my rewiring experience boils down to this: Would I rather live with the tranquility of trusting a Higher Power or tolerate the stress of self-imposed pressure?
Which experience would you rather have? Leave me a comment below.