This year is almost done, we are about to cross the finish line — and begin again! Like most of our finish lines, it’s an arbitrary thing. There really is little difference between December 31st and January 1st. Of course there are rituals around these two days, and traditions, and they still are each 24 hours long.
We actually celebrate this ‘finish’ every year. The year will finish no matter what we do. And yet there is a huge pile of goals we declare and never ‘finish.’ Why is that?
We distract ourselves, we procrastinate, we make up weird rituals around things… on and on it goes.
Recently a client turned me on to this very aptly named book called: “Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done”, by Jon Acuff. It’s a WONDERFUL book about the tangle we get ourselves into in ‘trying’ to get things done. I highly recommend that you read it… NOW! It’s fun and amusing and dead on. He comes at this issue through the idea of Perfectionism, and how it scares us and holds us back.
Another book along a similar path that I find equally compelling is “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”, by Steven Pressfield. He’s writing about the same result of not getting things done, only instead of centering it around perfectionism, his nemesis is Resistance. This is a favorite ‘bathroom book’ of mine—a book with short bits to be read in several minutes! He’s less outright humorous, perhaps more sardonic and witty, and absolutely on point!
Here’s my take on both of these books, and why we need them. They are full of strategies and tactics for us to, at the very least contain, and possibly even curtail our “inner critics”. This handy, dandy persistent nagging voice in our heads is responsible for us staying in ruts, and not embracing our dreams.
You’ve heard me talk about it before, and no doubt will hear my musings on the topic again. I do so because it’s crucial to you living a life that is fulfilling.
A short review of your critic’s game plan:
- It wants to keep you safe
- In this moment you are safe (i.e., not on fire)
- It wants to block anything that might create change (i.e., change could make things worse)
- Distraction is a very good technique keep you where you are!
Can you see this pattern at work in your life? You get close to doing something that might ‘change things’ and then somehow get distracted, or confused, or mired in the process. That is very likely your Inner Critic keeping you firmly planted in the doldrums!
Part of the value of both the books listed is that they give you some practical tactics to break through that cycle and create the life you want.
Also, please note, this is NOT new stuff. We, as humans, have always had these challenges in staying stuck in places that don’t work for us. One of the main reasons for a ‘coach’ is to help us break through that and create the life we want.
So to finish out 2018 and start 2019, how about giving yourself some strategies through one of these books—or other ones you find—that will give you some new tools and perspectives? It just might change things for you!
Ka-ching to a Cool Yule!
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Feel free to share any other books that may have helped you avoid the critic’s traps. Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.