I’m working on it . . .
I’ll get to it later . . .
Now’s not a good time . . .
Someday, I’ll make that happen.
Any of these phrases sound familiar?
If you’re anything like the thousands of clients I’ve worked with over the years, then this is just a small sample of the false promises you make to yourself regarding even your most cherished hopes and dreams.
It doesn’t matter how much something means to us: if it involves doing anything that scares us, we’ll come up with any excuse to put it off and avoid discomfort. We convince ourselves that we’re not giving up on it—just pushing it away for the moment.
Welcome to part #3 of the “Sneaky Confidence Killer” series: Delay Tactics.
If you haven’t yet viewed the first two posts of the series, I highly recommend that you make time for them either before or after reading this post. Each of these confidence killers is highly damaging to your overall confidence journey on its own, but together, they may as well function as a task force against your progress.
So, let’s hop right into today’s topic: delay tactics!
Not too long ago, I was on a mastermind call in which one member was discussing some recent triumphs, including putting himself out there by pursuing a major creative endeavor through to completion. In response, another member commented that he would love to do something like that someday, as well.
My response: “When?!”
Far too often, we don’t even realize that we’re subconsciously giving ourselves permission to fail through subtle, yet effective, verbal cues.
Two of the worst of these linguistic bombs are, “Someday,” and, “I’m working on it.”
Firstly, when we say that we want to do something, “Someday,” it gives us an indefinite timeframe—it removes any accountability to proceed because there is no sense of urgency. Furthermore, when we say we’re, “working on it,” we’re really just giving ourselves permission to stay in exactly the same holding pattern we’ve always been in, even if it’s making us miserable: Well, I’m not NOT doing it—I’ve started, haven’t I?!
When we give ourselves verbal permission for complacency, we keep ourselves stuck in limbo. We let ourselves stay safely within the confines of our beloved comfort zone, where we’re never expected to feel anything unpleasant.
We do this because using more decisive language denotes impending action—that’s when fear inevitably creeps in:
- Ok, I’m going to start that Kickstarter campaign! But what if everyone thinks it’s stupid?
- Ok, I’m going to launch my website! But what if no one hires me?
- Ok, I’m going to make those phone calls and get some business! But what if I don’t know what to say?
Recently, I was working with a client who needed to make a pivot in his business (2020, am I right?). One of his ideas included the need for a LOT of cold calls—something he had never done. Up until that point, he’d always been in a business that received referrals, so going after business leads without any sort of guarantee attached was terrifying to him.
So, what was his delay tactic response?
- “Let me think about how I might come up with a plan for getting in touch with people.”
He wasn’t just going for one level of delay—he went for a double whammy right on the first try! Not only did he need a plan to talk to those people (just call them), he also needed to think about HOW he would make that plan (don’t think—just call). Let’s not forget the word, “might,” that he threw in there as well, just in case his psyche needed further assurance that he wasn’t really going to take action.
At that point, he’d given himself three different ways of staying stuck in his holding pattern . . . and it only took one sentence.
Your fears will always manifest themselves in your thoughts and language. If you’re not careful, they’ll bleed into your actions, as well.
If you want to see changes in your life, you have to take action, starting immediately, and you have to reflect that urgency in your language and thoughts.
It’s not, “I’m going to think about how I might come up with a plan to get in touch with people”; it’s, “I’m calling those people.”
When I posed this new thought process to my client, he got suddenly anxious. He said he wasn’t sure how to get in touch with them, what to say, or if they were even in the market for the product—the fear was already starting to build up.
Do you know what I said to that? “GREAT!”
When you remove yourself from the possibility of action with words like “someday” and “maybe,” you don’t feel anxiety—there’s no possibility of rejection, so there’s no threat.
Delay tactics are a confidence killer because confidence is a byproduct of action.
The problem with delay tactics, however, is that they will never provide you with what you want in life. They won’t provide you with a chance to pivot your business; they won’t provide you with a chance for creativity, growth, or happiness; they won’t provide you with achievements, a sense of power, or even a job.
When you engage in delay tactics, you’re basically surrendering the steering wheel of your life to fate. Even worse, you’re essentially telling fate to take a hike and throwing the steering wheel of your life into the gutter.
Take a couple days and really pay attention to the language that you use—not just out loud with other people, but also in your own mind. What delay tactics are you using? How can you bring yourself closer to action through your language? What small action can you take TODAY to keep yourself accountable and jumpstart your confidence journey?
The language we use is important to our mindset, and a healthy mindset is essential to our overall wellbeing.
This sneaky confidence killer cannot hold you back as long as you do what it takes to recognize your unproductive thought patterns and learn to replace them with beneficial ones that will move your life forward.
- I’ll have it to you by Friday!
- Let’s schedule a date for that meeting now!
- I’m going to start right now and see how far I can get in an hour!
These are just a few examples of the new language you can use to replace your old, tired delay tactics. In the meantime, please share your experiences with delay tactics (and your best tricks for avoiding them) in the comments below. We grow faster when we grow together!
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.