A few weeks ago, I asked about your Productivity Death Star. That is – a project, goal, or result that would completely transform your life, but that you just can’t seem to get done.
I got so many replies (a huge thank you to those who submitted!) and they are all so juicy that I can’t wait to start replying to them…
One Death Star many of you are facing was a variation of “I really want to write a book, but just haven’t been able to.”
You know what the content is, you’ve spent $10,000 on a coaching program to help you write the book, you have two arms, ten fingers and still after 4+ years…
Your book is no closer to being published.
…Swap out “book” for starting a new business, publishing an online course, creating an exercise habit…any large project that’s outside your comfort zone.
Keep reading to find out why this is a Productivity Death Star for some people, while for others it’s easy to take action.
And tomorrow, I’m going to share my 4 Inaction Torpedoes you can use to make one final assault run on this Death Star, and create a chain reaction that destroys it. (Am I having a little too much fun with the Star Wars analogy?)
What do you do?
This is a classic Death Star Productivity issue and one of the #1 reasons peak performers seek me out for personalized coaching solutions…
Because they want to discover how to breaking new ground on big and exciting goals (and stick with them to completion).
This is an issue you will face time and time again as you upgrade your life by tackling bigger and more challenging goals.
In the survey responses, I got two very interesting (and very opposite) issues when it comes to writing books.
Person A (who I’ll call Sarah to protect the innocent) can’t seem to get started with her book.
Sarah has a “Fear Of Starting.” She’s become comfortable imagining what it would be like to be a successful author. She can picture herself enjoying the status upgrade that being a published author can have. Maybe it’s even on her vision board.
But when it comes to putting pen to paper, Sarah isn’t comfortable taking the thousands of steps towards making it real. She’s unhappily stuck inside her non-author comfort zone. (Can you relate?)
Sarah is a great example of how your comfort zone isn’t necessarily a happy place. In fact, you can be deeply unhappy because you know you want to move into action, but can’t.
Person B (who I’ll call Lucy) has a completed manuscript, but has an intense fear of completing her book and getting it published.
Lucy has moved past her fear of starting, but now faces a new fear – Fear Of Success. Many folks stuck on Fear Of Starting have no idea that Fear Of Success could be waiting down the line.
In Lucy’s case, this fear has infected every aspect of her life.
She says, “Not completing this book has WRECKED my self confidence and my writing career. I used to be making an extra $4-6k a month. Now because I haven’t published in 3 years I make only $300 a month. What’s worse is not completing this book has fed into a narrative I have about myself that “I’m not a writer” and “I can’t get things done”. Every other aspect of my life has suffered, even my graphic design business and personal relationships. Help me Oby Demir & Carey, you’re my only hope.”
Fear of success means Lucy has become comfortable in “book writing mode.” This is now inside her comfort zone.
But getting the book published is now outside her comfort zone. What if her editor gives her bad feedback? What if no one buys it? That might mean she’s a failure as a writer. Or maybe Lucy really hates the idea of promoting the book because it’s not a skill or passion of hers.
Essentially, she needs to move from the part she likes to the part that she doesn’t like. She’s found her comfort zone, which is eroding her self-worth and financial security. It’s the definition of a rock and a hard place.
Sarah and Lucy’s Death Stars might seem different, but they’re very similar. Both are dealing with a fear of the next phase.
At the end of the day, no matter who you are, there’s a “fear of the next phase” in your future.
When you get to a point of unwillingness or resistance, the trick is learning how to prevent yourself from getting trapped in
It’s like when you’re in class, and you’re thinking about raising your hand to answer the teacher’s question. But you’re not really sure if you have the right answer.
The longer you think about if you should raise your hand, the more you start to doubt yourself. What if you get the answer wrong? It suddenly seems very, very scary to raise your hand. Your heart starts to beat faster and your palms get sweaty.
As time passes, the likelihood that you’ll raise your hand plummets. (And then the teacher calls on some other smart aleck who overcame her fear and got her darn hand up.)
So who’s ready to destroy the fear of the next phase for good?
Inaction Torpedo #1: Pull Triggers
If you know you can get stuck in analysis paralysis, default to pulling triggers and taking FAST action.
Shoot first, ask questions later.
Over time, your ability to do something rather than nothing will result in the occasional huge success. (At the very least, you’ll learn what not to do.)
This is why the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins is so popular – it keeps you from talking yourself out of action.
I pull triggers by timeboxing important decisions to 15 minutes, and making it a rule to say “YES” whenever I’m pushed to do something outside my comfort zone.
Inaction Torpedo #2: Fearcast
If you’ve been soaking in resistance for a long time, a great exercise to get out of it is Fearcasting.
Fearcasting is where you visualize the very worst case scenarios that you fear, in graphic detail, so that you can overcome them and take action. (Check out Tim Ferriss’s TED talk for more.)
Ask yourself: What am I really running away from? Explore every nook and cranny of whatever comes to mind. Mine are primarily around losing my wife, losing my business, or losing my health.
Make a list of 10-20 fears.
Next, ask yourself what the chances are of them happening on a scale of 1 to 10, assuming you did everything you could to prevent them from happening.
Are they truly likely to become your reality? Also, are they within your control or outside your control?
Then, ask yourself: how bad would it really be if these things happened? Would your life be over? Would you be permanently damaged in some way? Really paint a detailed picture. Then consider what would happen if you continue with status quo. What is the cost of inaction – emotionally, physically, and financially – on a scale of 1 to 10?
And finally, what is the upside if you DO take action – on a scale of 1 to 10? I typically find I’m facing fears that are 1-3 on the scale versus a potential upside of 8-10.
Inaction Torpedo #3: Think Small
Your to-do items are too big when you’re stuck in inaction. Reduce the next action to something impossibly small.
Lucy might be thinking, “I have to turn this into the publisher.” So her next tiny step would be to do a first draft of the book cover. For Sarah, it might be to write just 500 words of the book. Heck – reduce it to “write the first sentence.”
Your small action needs to be something that doesn’t scare the crap out of you. It needs to feel simple, easy (and ideally fun) in order to jumpstart yourself into action.
Inaction Torpedo #4: Don’t Fly Solo
One of my favorite hacks is to leverage psychology. Humans are social creatures! That’s just how we were built (yep, even introverts).
So get other people involved in your success. In Lucy’s case, she could tell her publisher when he can expect the final manuscript on his desk. In Sarah’s case, she could join a writing group that can hold her accountable each step of the way.
For maximum effectiveness, you need not 1, not 2, not 3, but FOUR layers of accountability to truly make taking action easier. This is the hard-core accountability structure I create in our 60 Day Breakthrough Bootcamps because it’s effectiveness is unmatched.
I call it 4 Layered Accountability and it includes having a coach, a team, a buddy, and public accountability. Carey breaks each layer down in this podcast she did with Amy Porterfield (start at 16:19)
Demir & Carey
P.S. If you are stuck on something like this, and are sick and tired of waiting to take action on it, I encourage you to talk to one of my Lifehack Coaches about joining my upcoming Bootcamp.
Tips and tricks via email are great, but there’s no substitute for getting personalized advice from coaches who have been in your shoes.
The call is free and they’ll give you immediate, actionable advice on what you can do to get started on it today. Sign up here.
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