It wasn't until about 2 years ago that I had heard this statement. Not only had I not heard it before, but I had certainly never heard it used as a decision making tool.
Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and said to yourself "I am better than this"; only to choose the thing you were better than?
Have you ever had a dream and let it go to the wayside for fear of the statistical outcome, that is, failure seemed eminent?
Have you ever been given an opportunity that excited you or scared you, then lost momentum to try until the last second; because the pressure of having to do was what propelled you, not the dream itself?
Have you ever chose to do something else instead of the thing you knew you were to do?
That's it. That's what Procrastinate and Panic is.
I know it, because I have seen and lived it. When I first heard this statement, it was from a new student. Fast forward a couple of years, and that student is one of my favorite humans on the planet and also an instructor here at FMG.
I have seen first hand this at play in their day to day. It has both baffled me, frustrated me and given opportunity for me to see how I use this phrase too: that is quite pokey to admit, but it's true.
I like to break down words because definitions give specification to what they are communicating.
Procrastinate - Delay or Postpone Action
Panic - sudden uncontrollable fear, anxiety. Alarm, Nervousness, fright, dread.
Let's go a step further and look at some other words listed inside of panic.
Fear - an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Nervousness - the quality or state of being nervous
Fright - a sudden intense feeling of fear.
"Procrastinate & Panic"
Delay in action that anticipates unpleasant emotions of uncertainty, coupled with intense feelings of apprehension of imminent uncertain outcomes.
Now that we have a working definition of this filter we apparently use for decisions, what do you think? Does it just excite you? Does it give you all the chilly willies and positive vibes of a Disney movie?
Does it make you pause and wonder what that actually looks like in your life?
I am going to give you this example of it in my life, so maybe you can see it in yours too.
I personally have massive aspirations as a human. I want to make a tangible difference in a digital world. I want to do more good than I can reasonably leverage. Why? Because - I have something inside of me that says that's what I am suppose to do. Call it personality, call it my Creator, call it whatever you'd like, but it's in me. Because this exists, I have impossible expectations for myself and for my wins. No win is the size it should be when you compare it to the grandiose that is the vision to the end of my life that lives in my head.
This plays a huge role in my own "procrastinate & panic" moments.
That definition of fear..."likely to cause pain".
It creeps its head into every decision I make. Even though most of what I do is based on the needs of others, there is real fear at play when I choose to take a risk with my heart beat. Why? Because I hold the vision of impact, and my life well lived to a an unattainable measurement inside of my heartbeat. This creates a "delay in action".
This delay in action spirals down toward anxiety of not enough for my sphere of influence, which spirals to nervousness, which spirals to dread of the doing of the work at my hands for fear of the imminent outcome of someone hurting me through not valuing what it is I have given and therefore I am nothing.
Just typing that was exhausting. Can you imagine living it? Have you lived that?
Should I? Shouldn't I? If I do then this... If I don't then this....What if? Oh no! I hadn't even considered What if! AHHHHHHH!
It's so easy to do this. It's so easy to let fear be the great equalizer in our life and decision making but what is the opposite?
What can we do the rewrite the script?
We can Pivot.
Jon Acuff talks about this in his book Soundtracks. If you haven't read it yet you should. We have copies at the garage if you'd like.
Pivot - completely change the way in which one does something.
Change the way. What can we change? The DELAY IN ACTION.
We can choose to ACT instead of DELAY.
By definition this would change everything. Choosing to act would flip the Procrastinate & Panic on its head. It would become something worthwhile in our lives: it would be something that added value instead of stealing confidence.
Procrastinate & Panic would become Prompt & Courageous.
Prompt & Courageous
Prompt - cause or bring about (an action or feeling).
Courageous - not deterred by danger or pain; brave.
I don't know about you, but just the definition of this new anthem makes me perk up. Even the definition is shorter, more digestible, less scattered, and less uncertain. In fact, the definition of certain is found in the "not deterred" part of courageous.
What if you and I committed to being Prompt & Courageous in how we showed up for ourselves?
How would it change our behavior towards ourselves and others?
I do have super high expectations of the work I do. Many of which will never be attained....but
It is a good work. It is good to want the best outcome for other people. It is good to give more than you take. The work is not perfect and will get better at every repetition you take, because that is what practice does. It takes the imperfect, hard, messy, clunky, painful things, and it breathes a little life into one repetition at a time.
Andy Fresilla says it like this....
"I don't have to do it forever. I don't have to face tomorrow's fears, the week's fears, the year's fears....I just have to face them today. Wake up one more day and choose to face them that day. Just one more day."
"Just one more day" means you are closer to the goal you set for yourself. You are closer to the outcome than you were the day before. You are starting the path of least resistance by taking a step away from the destination.
We all have fear. We all have pains. We all have broken dreams and unanswered prayers. We are all scarred and torn. What we also all have in common is the ability to choose how we show up.
Prompt & Courageous brings the best out in us and those around us.
It laughs in the face of danger like Simba in the dark lands. For Simba it was ignorance and misplaced confidence. For us, it is assurance that we have failed ourselves enough and we know when to say quit.
But what if?
What if you fail? You are certain to fail sometimes. But the funny thing is, when we begin to show up like this for ourselves, those around us tend to take notice. They come along side us, and the ignorance we once had is replaced with confidence in knowing we won't let us down and there will be those that come alongside us to encourage us along the way.
What happened in The Lion King?
Simba laughed, hyenas showed up...Simba roars...hyenas laughed at Simba.
He was courageous...But it wasn't enough....he was alone, he was Prompt & Courageous.
He continues to roar, then all of sudden....His roar is no longer his own...It is his father's.....Simba's community rallied behind his stupid bravery.....yours will too...it won't be the ones you thought sometimes...but they will show up.
Let's Get Courageous Together.
Zack Schuyler (Former Procrastinate & Panic'er)
VP of Student Experience