01st May 2018
Let me introduce you to Andrea, founder of Project Self. I first met Andrea a little over a year ago at the co-working space we both are part of in Melbourne. Her laid-back style, unashamedly confident & honest personality along with her positive vibe, made it easy to see why she was running a successful business that was about mindfulness, radical honesty & mind-taming programs!
As I sit here in year 3 of running my own business & noticing my procrastinating mind as I experience business growing pains. Wondering, how I could get more sh!t done, focus more and be more proactive. I realised a few things, 1 I had stopped meditating so my mind was harder to tame, 2 I was lacking self-discipline & 3 I needed support.
If I needed support, there were obviously others out there who also needed support and guidance on mind-taming right?!
So, when Andrea’s latest program crossed my desk, on how to avoid-self doubt and procrastination, it was like the universe had read my mind. Naturally, I asked her to write a blog post & provide simple, practical tips that us busy business owners or busy people in general for that matter, can start doing asap.
A quick-start guide to avoiding self-doubt and procrastination
By Andrea Featherstone, Project Self
In the first year of starting my business, I found myself staring into the fridge 90 times a day, eating snacks at every available second, spending hours in the kitchen making homemade almond milk and horribly disappointing vegan cauliflower pizzas.
All to avoid the dread of working on the mountain of to do lists pouring out of my business.
My procrastination was out of hand, I couldn’t focus on one thing, and I kicked myself for not being able to get more done every day.
I couldn’t tell you how, but I seemed to be “busy” every day, yet nothing that needed to get done actually got done!
Despite having a part time job, I had to get another part time job as a bartender – not because I needed the extra money, but because I needed to keep myself super busy to avoid overwhelm and self-doubt that flooded my thoughts when I had too much time on my hands.
As entrepreneurs, this kind of bollocks is par-course for when we’re starting out, yet the procrastination and self-doubt can linger long after the business is up and running – and even come back to haunt us years later when we have to make big decisions about where to go next.
Enter my very un-secret weapon, mind-taming.
Without having learnt to tame my mind, I have no doubt that I would have bashed myself over the head with self-doubt, questioned all my decisions, and procrastinated my business into a big rut.
The voice in our head – our mind – is designed to focus on the negative, overthink everything, and to keep us playing is safe within our comfort zone – which is a nightmare for our inspiration, motivation, sleep, stress-levels, creativity, and fulfillment as business owners.
So here’s a quick-start guide to taming your mind so that you can start to train your attention to stay focussed (and not procrastinate so bloody much), stop getting caught up in self-doubt and stress, and get clear on your values & gut instinct so that you keep your business on track for what’s best for you rather than getting swept away by all the shiny entrepreneurship possibilities.
Step 1. Notice the voice in your head
Recognise that there’s a mad voice talking to your head, commentating your daily life.
- Have you ever driven somewhere and realised you haven’t noticed the journey at all? Did you go through a red light? Who knows.
- Have you ever been in a conversation and suddenly realised you have no bloody idea what they’ve said in the last two minutes?
Our minds usually love to hang out in the past (replaying conversations, dwelling on regrets, rehashing mistakes) or the future (worries, stress, anxiety about our to do lists).
When your mind is wandering, which it loves to do, our attention generally wanders with it, which means that we lose focus, and can easily get caught up in negative or stressful thought spirals that drain our mental energy, creativity, and confidence.
Step 2. Disidentify from your mind
Recognise that that voice in your head – the one that keeps thinking even when you really want to be sleeping – he’s not you.
Have you ever tried to stop your heart beating with your willpower? Ever tried to stop your lungs altogether? What about your thoughts?
If you try all three, you’ll likely find that you can’t stop any of them. They’re acting autonomously, without your input.
You wouldn’t say “I am my heart”, or “I am my lungs” – and in the same way – you are NOT your mind. Your mind generates thoughts to keep you alive, just like your heart pumps bloody and your lungs breathe oxygen.
Realising that “Me” and “my mind” are two separate things can help us take a step back from our thoughts, see them for what they are (often, useless jabberings!) and be less yanked around by them.
Step 3. Choose an anchor
Choose something other than your mind to anchor your attention to when your mind is yanking you around unhelpfully. A boat at sea needs to be tied to an anchor lest it gets washed up on the rocks.
Your anchor can be anything that exists in the present moment – a good anchor to start with is one of your 5 senses – touch, taste, sight, sound, or smell.
Step 4. Train your attention
When you notice you’re getting caught up in a thought (“Andrea, you tool, you shouldn’t have said that out loud!”), simply notice the thought, decide whether it’s helpful or not, then redirect your attention to the anchor.
Before long, your mind will wander again. When it does, just notice that it’s wandered, and bring your attention back to the anchor.
Every time you redirect your attention away from your mind and into an anchor in the present moment, you’re training your attention.
With time your mind-taming skills will get stronger, your ability to focus will grow, you’ll stop getting caught up in self-doubt spirals and procrastinatory urges, and you’ll probably become a ninja.
To hone your mind-taming skills, whip your focus into shape, and learn to make big decisions with ease – click here to join us in the free 6 Days to Decisiveness Challenge – a mind-taming challenge for indecisive busy people.