Before we get started, let me ask you a question.
Do you ever procrastinate?
Yeah, me too. I’m pretty sure we all do at one time or another.
That's why in today's blog I want to share a sure fire way to beat procrastination. That’s right - how to beat procrastination. And for those of you wondering what that has to do with getting camera ready, by the end of this blog post you'll know, AND you’ll have the skills to stop procrastinating about being on camera, today.
Procrastination affects all of us and it’s what keeps us from living the life we know we are destined to live.
During the Dog Days of Summer I got caught up on some reading. My friend and copywriter Rick Marion recommended I read "The 5 Second Rule:Transform Your Life Work and Confidence With Every Day Courage" by Mel Robbins in one of our conversations and I’m so glad he did. (I only wish you had mentioned it sooner Rick)!
Hands down, it is the best book on taking action and putting procrastination behind you I’ve ever read.
The 5 Second Rule closes the gap between thinking about what needs to be done and actually DOING it.
It’s a total game changer. The reason I wanted to write a blog about this book is, mindset and taking action is the foundation of showing up well on camera.
We’ve all experienced procrastination’s grip when we are trying to do something new. There’s the unknown, learning curves, and lots of times it’s just plain hard.
I’ve found in working with clients, this is especially true when it comes to being in front of the camera. If you don’t know what you want to say, or why, where to look, what to wear or how to deliver your message, it can feel like trying to drive a car with a manual transmission.
How do you move forward when there are so many moving parts to master?
It's starts with mindset
What I’d like to do is share with you with I learned from Mel Robbin’s book as a first step in overcoming any hesitation you have about being on camera, whether its for photos or video.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hesitated for the same reasons you do. I want to lose 10 pounds, or I'm not sure whether my message will resonate, I'm having a bad hair day and so on.
Well, that has come to an end.
In this blog you’ll learn about:
The two types of procrastination
Why we procrastinate
How You Can Stop Procrastinating Today and get your headshots or next video done!
Okay - before we dive in let’s start with a little background:
Research shows we have only 5 seconds to act on an idea or instinct before we hesitate. And when we hesitate our fears, doubts and excuses take over and nothing happens.
Throughout the book, Mel shares a deep body of research about procrastination and how the brain works. She then offers a simple exercise to help you overcome hesitation by counting backwards from five, 5-4-3-2-1, and then hitting the GO button.
Here’s how Mel describes her life before discovering The 5 Second Rule.
“At age 41, my life was a mess. I was unemployed. Facing bankruptcy. Marriage spiraling. Confidence shot. Hitting the bottle hard.
I struggled just to get out of bed. Every morning, the alarm clock would ring. I knew I should get up and deal but anxiety rushed in and I’d hit the snooze button instead. Here’s the thing. I wanted to change. I just couldn’t make myself do it. The smallest things felt impossible. I read books and bought journals. Nothing stuck. I prayed for motivation. It never came. There was literally always an excuse."
"Have you ever felt so stuck you wanted to give up? Well, that was me. One night, I was drowning my sorrows in bourbon, feeling like the world's biggest loser, when suddenly a rocket shot across my TV screen during a commercial and it gave me a crazy idea - what if, when the alarm rang, instead of thinking, I launched myself out of bed like a rocket.”
And that’s how she discovered The 5 Second Rule, changed her life and wrote this amazing book. I’m going to put a link to her book in the show notes so you can read it for yourself.
The 5 Second Rule is simple framework designed to help you through these moments of hesitation by simply counting backwards from 5 to 1 and then taking small acts of courage immediately.
Whether it’s trying something new, speaking up at a meeting or doing something that’s out of your comfort zone, using this rule can help you take action and change your life.
The book is full of examples from people like you and me that have used the rule, taken small acts of courage and created profound change in their lives.
Research shows there is a 5 second window between your initial instinct to act and your brain stopping you. When you commit to using The 5 Second Rule you can overcome all types of procrastination.
The truth is, you are never going to feel like doing the things you need to do to move ahead, so you have to take control in order to move yourself in the direction of your desires.
And that’s the reason I’m sharing her book and this framework - I want you to know that if you have an idea or a dream and have been waiting for someday to share it on video, or to get your headshots done so you can move your brand forward, TODAY is the day for you to take action.
Alright, let’s dig in:
Did you know there are two types of procrastination?
I didn’t…, I always thought there was one kind and it was bad. According to Mel, in doing her research she discovered there is productive and destructive procrastination.
Let’s look at productive procrastination first:
It usually shows up when you are working on a creative project or innovative idea. Productive procrastination can actually be a good thing because it gives you some thinking space to let your mind wander and see things differently and come up with new or diverse solutions.
Conversely, destructive procrastination (the one we are most familiar with) is when you continually put off something you know you need to do and you know there are negative consequences, but you put if off anyway. Mel sums it up this way “ it’s anything we find ourselves deliberately avoiding that really needs to get done.” Which leads to my second point:
Why do we procrastinate?
This is the best explanation I’ve ever heard and if you’re like me, you probably have a tendency to beat yourself up for procrastinating.
When you learn that procrastinating is really a form of stress reduction, you might go easier on yourself and look a little closer at what’s going on in your life that’s making you want to procrastinate.
Mel calls it "emotional eating for the mind." When you avoid something that feels hard, you get a sense of relief.
She asks you to think about when you surf Facebook or watch cat videos instead of writing your blog or recording your video and you feel a sense of relief.
That’s because when you do, you get a hit of the hormone dopamine that makes you feel good in the moment.
Sad thing is, the more you procrastinate, the more likely you are to continue to procrastinate and that creates more stress. And then you are more likely to procrastinate. It’s really a vicious cycle.
Mel says in order to overcome this procrastination, you need to get clear about the sources of stress in your life. And, because they aren’t always obvious, it requires a bit of introspection.
Sometimes it's a job, other times it’s finances or a relationship or health issues. Getting clear about sources of stress in your life is essential to stopping procrastination.
What can you do to stop procrastinating?
The first step after you’ve gotten clear about what’s causing your stress is to forgive yourself; stop beating yourself up.
There’s actually science out there that shows when people forgive themselves for procrastinating, they are less likely to procrastinate in the future.
Step two involves asking yourself what would the future you, who doesn’t procrastinate, do?
By framing the question and envisioning your future self who doesn’t procrastinate or who has achieved whatever goal it is you are after (like getting your headshots done) it gives you the objectivity to give yourself the little push you need to take a courageous step which is:
Use The 5 Second Rule and take action!
When you count backwards from 5 to 1 and then say GO, it engages your brain and helps you regain your locus of control so you can refocus your thoughts.
By counting backwards you are signaling your prefrontal cortex it's time to take action before you have the opportunity to stray elsewhere.
It’s helpful to think of it as a starting ritual - a signal to your brain it’s time to begin something new.
I’ve been using The 5 Second Rule for about a month now and I can tell you my productivity has gone way up. I’ve gotten my better half John to start using it too and he loves it! (Not that he’s ever been one to shy away from work, he says it’s just easier to get started).
Summing it up
1) There are two types of procrastination, productive and destructive.
Productive procrastination - like when we are immersed in a creative project and need a little space for a different perspective.
Destructive procrastination where we know there are consequences for not doing what we need to do to move forward, but we don’t care, we do it anyway. This is the type of procrastination that often keeps us from meeting our dreams and getting in front of the camera.
2) Procrastination is the brain’s way of dealing with stress - its a mental form of emotional eating. When you feel like you want to procrastinate, ask yourself if there is something stressing you out, and take some time to identify it so you can deal with it and take action. Then forgive yourself and envision a future version of yourself who has taken action and ask them what they would do.
3) You can stop procrastinating today by using The 5 Second Rule to retake control of your brain and set yourself up to take action. By creating a starting ritual, you signal to your brain, it’s time to get something done and with the countdown you create the momentum to get it done!
If you follow these steps, you are well on your way taking action around things that matter in your life and will move you forward. Especially when it comes to getting your headshot done, creating videos, starting a YouTube Channel or using Facebook Live as part of your marketing tools.
Here's a link to The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins and a link to Mel’s TedTalk so you can take a listen for yourself. Please scroll down and leave a comment if you've used The 5 Second Rule and how it's changed your ability to stop procrastinating.
As always, I'd love to hear from you. If you have any questions about being on camera, I'm happy to answer them on a future episode, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
So remember, the next time you are thinking about getting those headshots done or shooting your welcome video, you now have a new tool to 5-4-3-2-1- - GO and get it done, every time!
Val Brown is an Emmy Award winning television producer, story, visual and personal brand consultant, coach, and speaker. She consults and coaches high performing business professionals and entrepreneurs looking to up their game and increase their confidence and credibility on camera. Val teaches you how to use your story to support your brand in video and photos.
p.s. I’d love to connect on social media and hear your questions and concerns about being in front of the camera.