I wanted to cry.  I was on my first practice hike and was vigorously climbing a slightly steep mountain – ok it was a hill.

I tend to start off on new things gulping down a couple of shots of fear.  I felt so much fear on that first practice hike I did before my volcano hike that each step was a battle with my thoughts that screamed

“It’s safer at my car!  Run back now!”  I think a lot of my fear was about not being able to keep up with the group.

I had a similar anxiety when I first moved to my new apartment building.  For 3 months I exercised alone despite there being a gym with a full schedule of group fitness classes.  I was afraid of taking a class and embarrassing myself because I couldn’t keep up.

However one day after too much time working alone – I again  found myself on the floor looking at the ceiling.  I decided to force myself to do a Zumba class.

I had no idea what to expect – so yes I went down to class as if I had taken 5 shots of fear.  The small room was filled with maybe 14 people.  I, without realizing, assumed my goal was to get the dance routine perfectly.  I wanted to be a dancing wax replica of the teacher.  In order to achieve this I kept my eyes intently focused on the instructor, trying to imitate her every move.  I kept fumbling and felt a barrage of stings of embarrassment.
The thoughts in my head sounded like this:
“People think I’m a bad dancer.”
“Everyone else is getting it perfect except me.”

I felt like I was constantly off.

In that moment I tried telling myself nooo one cares if I’m one step off, just dance!  However these orders only made me feel worse.  Considering how miserable I was, I’m surprised I went back.  I finished class feeling overwhelmed by the noise – not the Zumba music – but from my thoughts.

I asked myself after both situations (the hike and zumba) what was wrong with me?  Was I a lost cause?

The fact is that all of us face certain situations that we feel very out of our element.  Usually we aren’t familiar with the situation and doubt that we are capable.  And even if we try to avoid these situations, they will probably still find us if not daily, regularly in some form.  Although this seems like a bad thing, it’s actually good, it means we are taking risks and pushing ourselves a little more each time.
So congratulations hottie on sticking your neck out there and going for it.
In a previous post we talked about how the cause of procrastination is fear & self criticism.  So if we could somehow get past the fear and self criticism we would probably not procrastinate and enjoy ourselves even more!  One method I talked about is focusing your attention on what you have to do physically to get it done and less on the result.
In this article I will share another method to get past the fear and self criticism that causes procrastination.

Finding our rhythm in our actions

  • Find out if we ever found those secret volcano pools.
  • 5 Step Method to make progress on your vision (and not hyperventilate every time you think about it).
  • The Stop Procrastination Worksheet I made for you: Give it 20 minutes & start seeing progress on your goals!
  • More pictures from my meditation hike.

When we feel fear and don’t want to do – how do we get out of that funk?

After about 6 zumba classes I started to feel more comfortable in class.  I started really getting into shaking my booty like I was a true back up dance for Beyonce.  However I still felt jolts of embarrassment when I made a mistake. One day at class I could see more and more critical thoughts creeping in because I felt so off rhythm.  Then Rabiosa came on by Shakira.  I decided for this next song I would instead of focusing all my attention on looking like the teacher, I would mainly try to pay attention to the beat.

As I started to be more aware of the beat, my feet started to naturally want to synchronize with it.  I started to dance better!

By the end of the song I was shaking my booty like I was a true back up dance for Beyonce!  Because I was focusing on keeping up with the rhythm I was finally having fun!

Discovering the beat in my steps

Two posts ago I talked about how on my Volcano hike I was stuck in front of a sea of lava rocks that I had to cross in order to keep up with the group.  What I ended up doing to get past my fear was look straight down at my feet and focus on the next physical step.  In addition I counted each step.

One…..two….three….four…five, I counted out loud each time I placed my foot down.  The steps sounded like a beat that my mind could follow like a music rhythm.   My feet enjoyed keeping up with the rhythm, so much so that it wanted to keep up step with the tempo, even when there was a more difficult step to take.  By the end of the day we found these amazing secret fresh water volcano pools that we could dip ourselves into.

As I found myself enjoying each step a light bulb went off in my head, synchronizing my step with the beat was like dancing!

Applying a rhythm to office work

A few weeks later I sat in front of my computer trying to write my second post.  It was painful.  Everything I wrote seemed not good enough, and being alone doing this was even more unpleasant.  All I wanted to do was stop even thinking about it.  Then I thought about what I learned from my hike and zumba, how a beat helped me get out of my fearful thoughts.

I asked myself, could I find a rhythm or a beat in my writing work?

I decided to break up my work into 25 minute chunks and see how many words I could write in that amount of time.  I started a timer on my phone that I put next to my computer.  I started to write.  Suddenly each word felt satisfying because it contributed to my overall word count.  And as my fear started rise and nudge me to allow my mind to wonder I would look at the clock and see I had some time left.  This kept my attention going back to just writing.  Finally 25 minutes were up!  I reviewed how many words I wrote, I wrote 450 words!  With that as a baseline, I could finish my article in 2 hours.

I repeated this for another 25 minutes.

Then another 25 minutes.

By the last session I didn’t even need the timer, because my mind was already in sync with my writing flow.

It turned out I could use finding a rhythm with office work to get through fear and self criticism.  I call this the Action Satisfaction zone.  I now use this technique whenever I find myself stuck at work.

Click here for the directions to get into your own action satisfaction zone.

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