Whether it’s starting a new habit or launching your passion project, you keep waiting. And yes — putting it off feels safe. But you’re robbing yourself of the time you need — and killing your confidence.
You’re waiting for the perfect moment.
Surely tomorrow you’ll start that new habit. Or ask for the help you need. Because you do need to change that bad habit. And you do need the help. But that perfect moment never comes, does it? So you keep putting it off — waiting for that perfect time to begin. But that perfect time is never now. Instead, it’s tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes. Because by the time tomorrow comes, it’s today. And then tomorrow is the day after today.
But waiting makes it worse.
You do know that delaying what you need to do is making your weaker, right? That every time you say to yourself or think to yourself, “I’m going to do that thing I need to do today,” and then you don’t — you let yourself down. And you deplete your can-do-confidence. Why? Because every time you say you’re going to do it — and don’t — you doubt yourself more and more. And what you become confident of — subconsciously — is failure and delay. You get really good at putting off what you know you need to do. Which makes you feel worse and worse — and weaker and weaker.
Time to tip.
But there is a way to overcome this procrastination. It’s called tipping. And all you need to do to tip is to take one small step. Think of the simple act of walking. In order to walk, you need to lean forward a little. When you lean forward, your body automatically puts a foot out to keep you from falling. And if you keep leaning forward, you keep putting one foot in front of the other. This is the essence of tipping.
How to tip.
What can you do to tip today? How can you lean into what you need to do so you’ll take that first step? It can be as simple as making one call, or sending one email in the right direction — forward. So — what are you waiting for? And I do realize that this message seems oversimplified. And what you’re facing feels a lot more complicated than that. So if you need a little help tipping, send me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll help you break down what seems overwhelming into that first small step.
One of the reasons you’re anxious is because you’re too optimistic. Because optimists are often disappointed. Whereas realists know that facing your problems head on — without losing hope — wins the day.
Life is scary.
Right? I mean, unless you’re totally checked out, you may have noticed that there are lots of demands on you. So if you want to succeed, you’ve got to step up your game. But that’s scary, because it seems like you’re already doing just about everything you can think of to make it. And yes — some of those demands come from outside of you — from your partners in crime to your love partner. But many of those demands also come from inside of you. Because you have big dreams. But you’re not sure how to get from A to B, much less get through the day. So — what can you do?
Being optimistic helps sometimes.
Sometimes in the midst of the stress, you turn to your old friend, Optimism. And here’s what Optimism says. It says, “Hey — it’s OK. You didn’t do so well today, but tomorrow is bound to be better.” And I’ll be the first one to admit that sometimes you need that pep talk from good old Optimism.
But being realistic is better.
Because as good as wishful thinking can be, being realistic is better. Why? Because realism will sustain you longer and take you further than a premature pat on the back. And that’s exactly the point. Optimism gets you by — but realism gets you going.
Let’s get real.
So — please do this. Treat yourself to a short (less than 20 minutes) TED talk about how to get where you’re going. And then make a plan to face your challenges in a new way. And if you’d like help with that, feel free to get in touch with me at email@example.com. As a men’s life coach, I work with creative men every day to help you get focused and get moving.
What a waste. I could have done that so much better. I’ll never get another chance to do this again — and I blew it. These are all examples of those sick feelings of regret. We’ve all had them, and we’ll have them again. The question is — what do you do with your regret?
Don’t waste a good regret.
Is there such a thing as a “good” regret? That depends — on what you do with it. You can either let it just sit there, eating you up. Or, you can use it to help you realize that something needs to change. And then make the change.
Look at it closely.
One of the big mistakes we make with regrets is that we waste them. Because we leave them in the back of our heads. What I mean by that is that we don’t really look closely at what happened. For example, I gave an interview yesterday with a local podcaster. And I was glad to do it, so I said yes. And I don’t regret saying yes. But I woke up this morning with some regret. Because overnight, somehow that daemon in my head came up with a whole new set of things I could have said in that interview. Which, as you have probably already guessed, are not the things I actually said in the interview.
Make a choice.
So this morning, I had a choice. I could have wallowed in self-loathing over what a dumb shit I am. I mean, seriously — how could I have used that example? And why did I tell that story instead of this much better one? Yada yada yada. Or — I could sit down for 15 focused minutes and actually look at what happened. Which, on this particular day, is what I did.
Make a change.
So don’t waste a regret. Your regrets are telling you that you need to make a change. What change, you don’t know at first. But regrets are very helpful tools to help you realize that you need to make a change. And what I realized this morning is that although I am a public person, I have not given many interviews. Which is primarily because I am a shy public person. I don’t like the sound of my own voice after it’s been recorded. And I remembered what I tell my clients all the time. Which is that confidence comes with repetition. So if I want to get better at doing interviews, I need to do more of them. Or stop doing them. Or prepare better. Or get more clear about who I am and what I have to say. Because I don’t want to waste a good regret.
Your turn. What do you regret today? Go through these steps.
Mark Newton has had 5 professional careers. He began as an architect in San Francisco and taught at the Academy of Art College while there. While still in the Bay Area, he followed his passion to build, working as a carpenter and becoming a building contractor. For over 20 years, he led vibrant communities of faith. Now, he is a full time men’s life coach living and working in Portland, Oregon — helping men get focused and get moving.
You’re too smart for your own good — which leads to analysis paralysis. And the good news is — you’re creative. And the bad news is — you’re creative. But how can being creative be a bad thing? Because you can think of way too many options. So the challenge is to focus and choose. Here’s how.
Analysis Paralysis: What to do?
There are some men who live their lives without asking many questions.