If so, you’re in the majority of business owners – and most of us harbor a lot of guilt about it. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. And, in even more good news, procrastination is a habit that can be broken. Join Doug C. Brown and Eric M. Twiggs, the founding partner and president of the What Now Movement, as they discuss why procrastination happens, how to navigate it in business, ways to make yourself happier at work and in life, and much more.
Eric M. Twiggs is a founding partner and president of the What Now Movement. His mission is to build high-performing entrepreneurs, authors, and career professionals, who are prepared for life’s unexpected curve balls. As a Certified Life & Business Coach, Eric has conducted over 28,000 coaching sessions, helping executive leaders and entrepreneurs who have moved from feeling frustrated to finding fulfillment. Eric is the author of The Discipline of Now: 12 Practical Principles to Overcome Procrastination, which has been recognized as a Global Top Ten Finalist for the 2020 Author Elite Awards in the category of Best Self-Help Book. Eric also hosts a weekly inspirational podcast titled “The 30 Minute Hour.”
Visit his website: www.ericmtwiggs.com
Eric is giving away his Twiggs Time Value Calculator, which will help you to calculate the value of your time expressed in dollars. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive yours!
I have a great topic for us to talk about, procrastination. What do I mean by procrastination? Is it a business topic? Yes, it is. You’ll be surprised and maybe even shocked to find out how many business owners and people trying to get into the top 1% of earners are stuck or feeling bogged down in the mud. They’re procrastinating. They don’t even know they’re doing it, in most cases. They don’t even have awareness of it.
I brought in an expert. His name is Eric M. Twiggs. He’s at EricMTwiggs.com. I brought him on to talk about procrastination because procrastination can stop your revenue. It can make it sluggish. It can prevent us from doing the things we know we need to do but don’t do it. In the long term that bites you. That’s simple as it can be. We’re going to talk a lot about why procrastination happens, how it happens, what you can do about it, and how you can eliminate it from your life, or at least the majority of your life. Without further ado, let’s go speak to Eric.
Eric, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you for having me. It’s an honor to be on your show.
It was an honor to be on yours too. I appreciate you having me there. Eric is a preventing procrastination master here. We’ll title you as a Procrastination Prevention Partner. How is that, Eric?
That sounds great.
You wrote a book called The Discipline of Now. We’re going to talk about the subject here of overcoming procrastination and why it is so important for us to talk about it, so take notes. Eric, I’d like to go to you. Why do people procrastinate? They know they’re supposed to do this. They just don’t do it. Why?
At the root of procrastination is discomfort. There’s some element or aspect that people with discomfort that don’t have a comfort level with. When you’re not comfortable at the root, the easiest thing to do is nothing. A lot of times, it doesn’t have to be that complicated or that deep. It could be, “I just don’t like doing the task, so I’m going to avoid it as much as I possibly can,” but the key is awareness and understanding what’s triggering you to procrastinate in that particular moment.
“I don’t like to do this, but it’s got to get done. I keep pushing it off and then something unpleasant happens even more than if I would’ve done it in the first place.” That’s traditionally what happens with procrastination. “I’m a sales professional. I’m supposed to get back to this client. They’re going to be upset, but I’m not going to get back to them.” “My customer service department is not getting back to me. It’s going to turn into a disaster.” I get it. At the root, it’s discomfort, but what is preventing them from doing that? Is it fear? Is it something else? In other words, it’s logic. You have to get back to the client, but you don’t.
It’s a combination. There’s no one answer. The instance that you bring up where if it’s call reluctance, it could be a fear of not getting the result. “What if I make these calls and I don’t hit my quota? I’m not going to get the promotion. I’m not going to move the business forward.” It could be not wanting to have an uncomfortable conversation. Let’s say it’s a follow-up issue and maybe the customer is going to say something like, “This is going to be difficult.” It’s discomfort once again. A lot of times people are walking around unaware and they don’t realize that they’re getting triggered whenever it’s time to make this call. If you are aware, you could put certain things in place to make it happen.
How do people become aware then?
Pay attention to your patterns. People always say, “Eric, I always procrastinate.” That’s not the case. I have yet to meet someone who procrastinates all the time. What I have met is people who in their home life, they’re spot on. They do everything scheduled and then when they get to work and it’s time to make that call, they start procrastinating. The key thing is to pay attention to the patterns. It may help to have a coach. It could be a life coach or business coach who can point that out to you.
For example, during the sessions I have with entrepreneurs or CEOs, there’ll be several weeks in a row when someone says, “I didn’t get around to doing that.” I’ll stop them right there. “Tell me, what are you afraid of?” They then get quiet. It turns out there’s something. It’s not the reason they were telling me, but there’s something that’s beneath the surface that we haven’t talked about yet. It’s paying attention to the patterns and reaching out for help. Get a coach where it applies.
Let’s talk about triggers because we all have triggers of some sort. What’s a trigger? You’re driving down the road, somebody throws you the middle finger, and you lose your mind. Maybe they were pointing at the sun and you thought it was something else. We got triggered off. We went into a fit of, “How dare you?” and then off it goes. We all have triggers, but what causes a procrastination trigger? Does it stem from my childhood or where do these triggers come from?
Again, it’s just discomfort. When I do these workshops, I talk about what causes people to procrastinate and what triggers people the most, fear always comes up it. I don’t bring it up, but it always comes up as the number one thing that causes people to procrastinate. It’s the fear of success, fear of failure, or fear of the unknown. Fear of success is extremely common. People are afraid of what the next level will demand of them and whether will they measure up to what will be required. “I can do a speech. If it goes well, I might be asked to do this again. But I may not be able to deliver again. What is this going to mean?” Fear is one of the most common reasons that people delay things.
I had to go to the dentist. No disrespect to all the dentists reading or anybody who has married a dentist, but I don’t like going to the dentist. I never have and never will. When I was a little boy, I had to have a tooth extracted. I was wrestling with a friend who kneed me in the mouth by accident or maybe on purpose. I’m not sure. My tooth had to come out. They popped the needle in my mouth.
Ever since then, I haven’t liked the dentist. I put off going to the dentist for a few years. I’m like, “I’m getting a little pain in a tooth, but I don’t want to go,” so it’s fear. I don’t want to feel that feeling again. I put it off and lo and behold, it gets to a point now where I’m like, “I can’t take it anymore.” I go to the dentist and they go, “If you had come in a couple of months ago, we wouldn’t have to do a root canal, but now we have to do a root canal.”
I want to hit on this point on the fear of success because I see that a lot too amongst CEOs, salespeople, business owners, coaches, consultants, or whatever. They’re afraid that when they get to a certain level that if they go past that, then they’re outpacing something. In other words, maybe they’re not going to be accepted by their family any longer because now they’re making $2 million a year or whatever it might be. It might be that they never wanted to do this in the first place, but they got to keep going to keep an image so they’re living this untruth. I’m curious, where do you think fears come from? Are they rooted in something? This may not even be a fair question because we’re talking about procrastination.
It’s a normal response over time. Ancestors from back in the day had a saber-toothed tiger to deal with. It’s a natural thing that everybody has some level of. Fear isn’t necessarily bad. Fear can keep you safe. Fear could be helpful if you’re walking by a lion’s den. “I’m afraid to keep going because something bad can happen”, but the challenge is if you’re not aware and fear isn’t used constructively, it keeps you from moving forward. One of the things I instruct or suggested people do is the Be Do Have formula. If I can become more, I can do more. If I can do more, I can ultimately have more. It’s always focusing on improving yourself and getting better.
There’s something else that’s out there and that’s impostor syndrome. That’s also a root cause. I’ve met a lot of highly successful people that feel they’re a fraud. They don’t have the goods and someone’s going to find out. That person is more likely to suffer from the fear of success. One of the reasons that people suffer from this fear is that certain things come naturally to them and they think it’s them getting lucky. They don’t understand that’s an attribute.
For example, some people are great listeners and they can connect with people. They think of it as just, “That’s nothing,” but they keep advancing because of it. They don’t understand that’s one of the things that’s fueling their success. Everybody’s gone through some level of impostor syndrome. Sometimes we discount some of our positive attributes and that’s what causes that whole thing and can lead to fear of success.
People who are in the top 1% of earners have identified exactly what you said. They use their strengths in order to get to that point, but they’re also truly authentic. They know their own identity and they’re not afraid to talk about it. The other people I find who aren’t making that money, i.e. the top 1%, are afraid of their own authenticity because they’ve never identified it. As you said, a fear of judgment, maybe in the case of they messed up.
I love this. I talked to so many business people, people who look up to these business people, moguls, semi-famous, or famous people and they go, “I would love to have what they have.” I’d ask them, “How many failures do they think that person had before they’ve become that entity in which you are now putting up as an idol or mentor?” It gets them thinking a lot because they don’t think that these people who are very successful have gone through all of this fear-challenging process that you’re talking about. Most of them who have challenged their fears, now become far more authentic. Therefore, they’re far more effective.
I want to talk about coaching because coaching is an important part of this. You read all the books you want. You have a great book. I have read a book. You can get information. You can watch videos and do all that stuff. You can get some good stuff and make some progress and movement with that. I tend to listen to Oprah Winfrey every morning. Oprah, if you’re reading this, thank you.
I have found that the biggest gains ever in my life have come from coaching or having someone else like yourself look at me and go, “Doug, you don’t have a full head of hair.” No matter how much you want to wave your hands out and cross your chest, there’s no Goldilocks there. Coaching is a great differentiator between a lot of people who are extremely successful in those who are not. I’ve listened to some people say that the one thing that they wish they had done differently was getting help sooner. What’s the value of coaching from your perspective? What does it give people?
It’s huge because we all have aspects of ourselves that we can’t see. As you talk about awareness, I don’t think anybody can be 100% self-aware because we all have blind spots. It takes a coach or someone that’s outside of you to be able to point that out and bring that to your attention. The coaches I’ve had were all big thinkers.
We all have aspects of ourselves that we can't see. No one can be 100% self-aware because we all have blind spots. It takes a coach or someone to point it out and bring that to your attention. Click To Tweet
I remember I had this coach, Dr. Sonja Stribling. She’s spoken with Les Brown and has done a lot of big things, but she is a big thinker. No matter what I said, she was always challenging me to that next level. If I said, “Doctor, I’m thinking of charging this for my program.” “You need to charge more than that. You need to charge this.” I’m like, “I can’t charge these people,” and then I would go with her suggestion and the client would say, “Okay.” A coach will challenge you to think bigger than you’re thinking because a lot of times, a great coach will have a perspective that you don’t have.
I agree with you 100%. I’ve said to my best coaches, “I don’t like you.” When I look at the yearend numbers, year over year, the years I’ve had coaches in my corner and the years I haven’t, you can see the growth is 17% to 46%. It’s huge numbers because they look at the blind spots differently. They’re seeing the blind spots.
Let’s say you and I drive a car down the street and we’re having a good time, somebody pulls up next to us, and they roll down the window and point at our car and go, “Hey.” We roll down the window and go, “What?” They go, “You got two flat tires on the side of the car.” We pull over and two tires are low. We’re jamming out to whatever was on the radio and we’re having a great time together. The perception from inside the car or outside the car is very different. That’s why I found coaching to be a huge benefit for people. If you have a coach that’s challenging you to the next level, and you’ve got fear of success, is that going to trigger off, potentially?
It’s possible, but a good coach can bring that to your attention and help you to overcome that. A good coach can show you some of those patterns and bring it to your attention that, “I’m noticing that every time we talk about this next level, you react the same way.” They can heighten your awareness so that you can ultimately get past that.
When I think about coaching in the sports world, there’s all this talk about the GOAT, the Greatest Of All Time like Tom Brady, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan. If you look at those individuals, they all had a great coach. Anybody that you’re considering the greatest of all time had a great coach. Tom Brady had Bill Belichick. Michael Jordan had Phil Jackson. That’s not a coincidence. Coaching is so underestimated. In the business world, it’s the same thing. If you want to be a GOAT in business, it requires having a great coach.
I will add an idea to that, which is more than one. I have a great coach in business development per se. I have another great coach in personal development. The personal development will call me out on my own stuff, whereas the business development will call me out on the business stuff, and sometimes catch the personal stuff. I have found that for everyone, not just myself, usually, business problems are personal issues. Those personal issues generally come down to fear.
I don’t know why we all fear, but as you said, fear is good and bad. It depends on how you use fear. That’s what it comes down to. How one uses fear is going to determine the outcome. You’re either going to go down the left road, the right road, or you’re going to stand still. That’s pretty much what fear will do to people. Sometimes people back up. That’s the other thing too. The reality is, how we use it is going to determine how we view it.
It’s interesting because I’m writing down these keywords. You keep saying these keywords as soon as I write them down. Awareness was one of those. If we can’t create awareness, we are never going to break a pattern. The first key I have found is no matter what it is in business, people in the top 3% of income earners often can’t get to the top 2% or top 1%. It’s usually a trigger that’s stopping them from getting there.
They are procrastinating on something that you would zero in on and go, “I’ve been noticing this pattern.” What are they going to do? They can’t deny it. That’s the ultimate fear, but the reality is you can zero in on that and then all of a sudden, “It’s okay. Now we’re aware. What do we want to do about it?” We got awareness. We know it’s fear. We know we shouldn’t be doing it, but sometimes we do it anyway. We need to have somebody else point it out. Once I get there and I’m like, “I got the awareness. I got that. What’s the next step?
You need to be clear on where it is you’re trying to go. I say in the book that clarity is a starting point for success. You need to know where your North Star is. Once you overcome the fear, what’s the next step you can take? If I’m coaching someone, I’m like, “Based on what we talked about, what are your priorities between now and next week? What are we going to do to move forward? We need to have the North Star in mind once we overcome the fear.
I’d like to add a thought to that. We have to be truthful on that North Star. Sometimes CEOs and business owners are funny people. They’re doing $100 million and want to go to $200 million. They have $500,000 and want to get to $5 million, but they don’t. The $500,000 net is 50% and they want to make $1 million so they need to get their business at $2 million, but they keep driving it to $5 million and they’re stressed out of their mind. They can’t figure out why.
I have found some companies that I’ve talked with have cut back their revenue and they’re happier than ever because now they don’t have the 300 employees and only got 100 employees. Miraculously, their profitability goes up a lot of times when they do that too. They got to their North Star and know where they were going to go. I 100% agree with you.
Steve Covey wrote the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He started with Begin With The End in Mind. If someone doesn’t know where they truly want to go and start moving in that direction, then they’re going to create fear. It’s that simple. I was listening to Oprah Winfrey and she was talking about this subject. That’s part of the reason I’m bringing it up. What you’re bringing up is so key. They get truthfully to the North Star. They know where they want to go. They’ve got the awareness, so there’s no more, “It’s not there anymore. The emperor doesn’t have clothes on.” What do they do next?
You have to focus on what the next steps that you can take are. The steps don’t have to be big. It could be small, but we need to make sure that what we’re doing is moving us in that direction or getting aligned with where it is that we’re trying to go. As far as making sure that you’re clear, I agree with that. I’ve done this with people. “Why do you want that?” I keep asking why and you get down to the root.
Sometimes you can find out that maybe they can get what they want without everything that comes with having a $50 million business. They can get it with less revenue. They think that the revenue is going to solve all their problems, but it can add to their problems depending on the systems that they have in place.
Eventually, that takes their identity. That’s what I have found. Their identity gets to a place, “I don’t know myself. I’m not truthfully at my North Star, but I got a $50 million company. If I make it $60 million, I’ll feel even better.” They get to $60 million and they’re like Tony Robbins, “Is this all there is? Maybe I need to get to $80 million.”
They keep driving and, in the meantime, the rest of their life is falling apart on the other side because they’re so lost in that process. When people procrastinate, they don’t head it off early enough. It spiders into a whole bunch of other stuff like a root canal, two crowns, and all this stuff that I had to go through.
Your message is sound. I love what you said about small steps. With the dentist, I’ve scheduled two and I’m going to get three cleanings a year. Maybe when I get into the dentist’s office, I have this happy hygienist, and then I start liking the dentist a little bit more. If I never take those steps, I will never get into that process. What I’m hearing is no matter what your fear is, we got to take steps toward it to at least embrace it. We don’t have to confront it. I don’t know about everybody in life, but most of the fears that I’ve had that I’ve procrastinated on were way smaller than I made them.
A lot of times when you look back, it worked out fine. You were worried about it and you were like, “How am I going to do this?” The big thing too is that people feel like they have to have everything. Let’s say you set the goal. You’re clear but sometimes doubt because you’re like, “I can’t do that.” You’re not going to have it 100% figured out.
That’s why in the military they talk about, “You have to be able to act with imperfect information.” Some people feel like they need to have all the details to move forward, but it’s about making progress. You can’t allow perfection to become the enemy of progress. That’s the key with this whole moving forward thing. You don’t have to have it all 100% figured out.
Everybody write that one down if you’re reading this because that is true. If we make a little bit of progress, we’re getting a little more confidence and assurance. We’re now creating certainty in our life which will lower those fears. I’ve always said this publicly and I’ll say it again on this show, no matter what your goal is, it usually takes you 2 to 3 times longer and it usually costs you 2 to 3 times more than you figure it was going to take you to get to that goal.
Confidence comes when you consistently keep the promises that you make to yourself. You start to get more confident when you develop this habit of doing the thing that you said you were going to do and taking the actions you said you were going to take. That helps to overcome the fear when you start to feel more confident and better about yourself. We’ve all heard about dopamine. Dopamine is the feel-good hormone. You increase dopamine when you’re working towards a worthy goal. When you feel like you’re making progress, you will start feeling better. Those are some things to think about. That whole idea of the small steps can help you to move forward.
Consistently keeping your promises to yourself is what makes us continuously move forward in progress. That progress will increase our confidence. Our confidence will then increase our ability to go, “I can take something on a little bigger than this if I decide to. I’m satisfied I got here.” That’s where it is. If you can continuously do that and keep your promises, that puts us into a flow state, just flowing along at that point.
You’re starting to attract the wins. That’s why people like Jerry Seinfeld had got to a point where he had a big chart on his wall with the calendar and his thing was, “Every day, I’ve got to write at least one joke.” He would have it marked so he would start to see the string. “I’m on a roll.” It builds momentum and confidence when you’re consistent.
I’ve never talked to Mr. Seinfeld, but I would assume that not all 365 jokes he wrote were off-the-charts good. What does he need per show, 30?
Something that’s not talked about enough is consistency is a differentiator.
Most people aren’t consistent, even with podcasts. The typical podcast lasts anywhere from 14 to 25 episodes. It’s a war of attrition. If you could consistently put the episodes out, you’re going to be ahead of a lot of people. That’s why consistency is critical.
It’s a great thing you brought up podcasts because a lot of people who are reading this are like, “I’ll start a podcast.” They go, “What’s the number one thing you should know about starting a podcast?” “It’s a long game.” “What does that mean?” “You better be prepared for 1 or 2 years before you think you are even going to start to see results out of your podcast.”
That’s why people quit because they’re not getting the results they’re looking for immediately. That sugar high, if you will, from their process, but they’re not being truthful about their North Star goal. They figure they’re going to throw this out there. They want new clients. It’s not going to work, but they’re not in it for the long term. That’s what I have found in the process. Let’s say somebody’s sitting here and going, “I’m a procrastinator. I should wear a t-shirt. This Eric guy is pretty smart. How do I find out more about him?” Where do they go? What do they do?
They can go to my website, EricMTwiggs.com. You can pick up a copy of the book there, The Discipline of Now: 12 Practical Principles to Overcome Procrastination. You can also click a link and start listening to episodes of the 30 Minute Hour Podcast. That’s my central hub there.
He has got a great podcast and great guests. I know one of them.
We had this fantastic guest. His name was Doug. That was a great episode in all seriousness.
Thank you. I appreciate that. I also appreciate you being here and bringing the A-game here to the show. Eric, thanks for being here. I appreciate it.
Thank you for having me.
Consistently keep your promises to yourself. That was a big a-ha moment for me because we all have fear. Whether fear controls us, we align with it and make it our friend, or control it, that’s up to us. It’s all between our ears. It’s in our nervous system. It’s the way our brain works and processes information. I have found it a habitual thing that you learn these traits early on in life. You carry them on into adulthood, thinking, “I’m an adult. I don’t have these childhood tendencies any longer.” You still do. It’s not a lot of fun. You’re supposed to do something, but you keep putting it off.
I use the dentist analogy because that was a true thing from my life that happened. There are other things that you put off as well. When you put them off in your business, they will come back to bite you most of the time. If you know that you’re running short on leads, for example, and you’ve got to go out there and generate new business, but you’re procrastinating on that, it will bite you. How is it going to bite you? You have up and down cycles in your revenue or monies that you’re making. If you’re having up-and-down fluctuations, you’re probably procrastinating on doing what you know you should do. Now is the best time to get out of procrastination.
Here’s the thing about procrastination. As Eric said, it’s difficult to do it on your own. You can read to shows like this, books, listen to tapes, and do anything you want, but remember, you’re coming at it from your own frame. When you come at it from your own frame, you’re seeing your own face in the frame in the picture. When you have outside help, coaching, training, or something out where you can get active constructive feedback, it changes the frame because no longer are you the only solo in the frame. You’ve got other people outside the frame looking in, going, “Why do you have this in your picture frame?” That awareness starts to spark at a reality of, “I didn’t know that was there. Now, I know how to deal with it.” You work through that in the coaching process.
If you like this subject matter, please give it a five-star review. If this will help someone, please pass it on to someone else. The more people that read this, the more people we help. That’s why we started this show as I said in previous episodes. This show was started on a double dare. It was something that came about. Somebody double-dared me to do it and I did it. It has worked out great for a lot of people who send in information saying, “I appreciate the content.”
If you are an expert in something and you think it’ll fit this show or you know somebody else who’s an expert and you think their expertise will fit the show, send an email to YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com and we’ll interview that person. We’ll look it over and let you know that if we can have you on the show, we’ll certainly be willing to do so.
If you want to be in the top 1% of earners, in other words, you’re selling, you own a company, you don’t own a company, working for somebody, or have a team of people, but you want them to get into that top 1% and learn what it takes to be in the top 1%, we are rolling out a training program called the 1% Academy this 2023.
If you’d like more information or want to talk about it, Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com. Let us know what you’re looking for, we’ll have a conversation, and see if it’s for you. Until next time, go out and sell something. Sell a lot of it. Play win-win, but sell it profitably. They win. You win. Everybody’s happy. That’s how you garner and get more referrals. Until next time, to your success.
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