Is Your Preparation a Disguise for Procrastination?

Is Your Preparation a Disguise for Procrastination?

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Today, I want to share a distinction that might not sit well with many of you.

Some of you will resent me for it.

And some of you may change your life because of it.

Even if only one person is moved to make that change because of a deeper understanding of this distinction, my effort would be well worth it.

Several times a week, I hear some version of the following from an existing or would-be client:

  1. You’ve given me a lot to think about.
  2. I’m going to journal about this.
  3. I’ll listen to the podcast you sent me.
  4. I’m reading a book about this subject.
  5. I’m getting my coaching (or whatever else) certification.
  6. It was a busy week, so I didn’t have time to……. (fill in with an activity they had declared they would do).
  7. I’m getting ready to do that.
  8. I’m confused.

All the above—and yes, even being confused is a choice—keep us busy and give us a false sense of accomplishment. Thinking, writing, listening, reading, learning, and preparing are all worthy and often necessary work, but none actually changes our lives.

James Clear calls these activities to keep us in motion but not in action.

When we are in motion, we are preparing. There is great value in preparation. But when preparation is a disguise for procrastination, we must slow down to that recognition and say, “Enough.”

The job of masterful coaching is to help our clients make the unconscious conscious. Awareness of an obstacle is 90% of the way to remove it.

Motion keeps us busy, steals our time, and lulls us into believing that we are moving forward when standing still. It’s a devious and costly habit.

Our addiction to motion is what has us saying, “Where did the week, month, year, and my life go?”

The antidote to Motion is Action.

Action is about doing the uncomfortable things that inconveniently seem to always happen in front of others. 

That thing that carries the risk of failure, ridicule, and embarrassment.

That thing that demands courage even more than clarity.

That thing we never feel quite ready for.

That thing that scares the shit out of us.

That everyday training nobody sees until you cross the finish line and look like an overnight success.



Yes, that thing. That’s Action, and that’s what creates actual change in our lives.

Motion easily disguises as action, so we must be extra vigilant to catch it. For example, I’ve had clients who signed up for coaching, paid the fee, and accepted the year’s calendar invites. Yet, they might show up thinking they are in action when the work hasn’t begun in earnest. 

Preparation is required but not sufficient to create change.

If you feel this applies to you, ask yourself, "Where am I mistaking movement for progress?"
Once you acknowledge the answer, ask yourself if you’re fed up with motion's busyness and instead want to experience the productivity, transformation, and potential success that comes with Action.

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