Procrastination and The 8 Waits - Christine Kane

After years of not only observing myself, but also helping 100’s (if not 1000’s) of entrepreneurs break their cycle of intention followed by inaction, I’ve learned quite a bit about what leads to this particular brand of procrastination, and what it takes to end it.

This week, I share the top reasons people have for not doing the things they set their sights on, and dig into the fears and anxiety behind their reasons (excuses) so you can take a closer look at your own.

Hear the conversation I had that led to me owning my path as a musician, and I’ll share what one of my first coaches said that both embarrassed me (in a supportive way) and empowered me to stop buying into my own stories so I could start making solid moves toward success.

You’ll also hear about the “8 Waits” that keep us from taking action toward our dreams, if not literally destroying them altogether, and I’ll give you tips on moving from setting an intention to making the commitment to see it through.

The idea’s not only to nudge you forward with what you’ve got brewing now, but also get you prepared to face the dreadful “waits” when they crop up again next time.

Episode Transcript

The truth is there is no more powerful energy than commitment.

Welcome to the Soul-SourceTM Podcast, unconventional business advice for the highly creative, secretly sensitive, and wildly ambitious entrepreneur. I’m your host, Christine Kane. Let’s do this.

Okay. Welcome everyone to episode number 25 of the Soul-SourcedTM Business Podcast. And this is a weird episode. I’ll go ahead and say that. And that’s because I am taking a deep dive into intention and how it gets derailed and not how it gets derailed by a pandemic or political unrest or a really wonky year. We’re going to look at how it gets derailed sometimes unknowingly by you. So this is a pure mindset episode, and it’s a topic I have only ever taught at my Click Retreat until right now. And that’s not because I’m trying to be all secretive. It’s actually, because I, I don’t take a conventional approach to teaching this stuff. And because of that, I always like to know that it’s landing for people. So I’ve taken great pains to only teach this in the room where I can actually watch people respond and go back and forth with them.

And I now know that this has been a key to many, many entrepreneurs breaking free of an insidious pattern that has kept them trapped without them even realizing it sometimes. So business owners and entrepreneurs need to be very clear. They need to be able to begin with intention. And it doesn’t mean they have to go out and set the world on fire with their intention, but that intention needs to be something that gets them started. And I can always tell when someone hasn’t really committed to their intention, because they usually have a whole lot of reasons, and I’m doing air quotes there around reasons. You can’t see me, but there are air quotes happening here. They always have lots of reasons why they haven’t taken any actions toward their intention. And then when you really start to dive into their reasons, you discover that they are not really reasons at all.

They are excuses. They’re reasons are just excuses in, in drag. And this can sound a little bitchy, but we all do it. I’m not acting like I’m above anyone here. In fact, I’m going to tell some stories that are less than flattering about my own past, but reasons when we have them and check in and see if this rings true, but reasons make people back off. You always have a good reason, people will always turn away and be like, okay man, that sounds rational. You got a reason why you haven’t done that. It’s okay. And unless you have coach or a mastermind, you will find that a lot of people will buy into your reasons. But when you have a coach in a mastermind or something like that, that’s when you have someone who will call you out on your reasons and they will name them for what they are, which is excuses.

So when I signed up for my first mastermind with a coach, I had this massive fear attack come up right before it started. And it was the most I’d ever spent on any kind of coaching. But when I was really digging deep and looking at it, I realized that that wasn’t scared me. What scared me was that by committing to a whole year, I couldn’t get to my normal pattern of starting off a year on all four cylinders and then kind of collapse mid year and give up on myself and then kind of pull myself back up in September. You know, I realized that that wasn’t going to happen. I realized that someone was going to be there to hold the space and hold me accountable. So I would finally have to see what was on the other side of my own little insidious pattern, and that made all the difference. That was my go-to reason/excuse.

So on this episode, we’re going to explore a particular flavor of reason, and we’re going to call it out for the excuse and pattern that it is. I call these the Eight Waits and they are a form of procrastination that can keep us from taking action, and at worst, literally destroy our dreams altogether because we never actually commit to them. And like I said, I call these the Eight Waits, they are the top eight reasons people have given me for why they haven’t actualized their intention. And I’m going to be honest, wait, It, it’s not that people actually have given me these reasons. I think sometimes these become just part of our whole being, and we don’t even consciously know that we are using these as reasons and excuses. So I’m going to be clear here about intention, okay.

When it comes to the Eight Waits, it’s not that you didn’t set an intention because I know y’all, I know me. We love intention. The problem is that with the Eight Waits, you start to see that even though you might’ve set an intention, you haven’t truly committed to that intention. You have all these reasons, all lined up in drag, they’re excuses. And where this comes from actually is not only just the years of observing myself, but also helping hundreds, if not thousands of clients to break out of their pattern and then hold themselves accountable for ending this brand of procrastination. And it’s not just at the beginning of a business or the beginning of an idea to live by your own lights, you can also get stopped by one of your Waits, even when you reach a certain level in your business. And you’ve already taken lots of chances and taken lots of risks. And then the story in the mind goes like this, Oh, let’s not take any more chances. Okay? Like let’s just sit here and let’s not ever get scared again. Cause I got scared that one time.

And even though you may set an intention to grow or to do things differently, you will still find yourself trapped in one of these patterns of waiting. And that’s because these patterns, once they realize that, Hey, this works, this will keep her stopped and not take any more chances. And we don’t like fear and we want to protect this being. You’ll realize those patterns will come up over and over and over again. And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, part of the thing I love about entrepreneurship is that you have no choice. If you’re going to be successful in your business, you don’t get to play these games anymore.

And it’s a gift because you start to break out of these things over and over and over again. And they don’t have as much hold when they come back around for another time, another chance. So let’s dive in here, I’m going to start with wait number and our first wait is waiting for permission. So when you wait for permission, typically you are trapped in the old paradigm where you believe that there are, are higher authorities out there who get to determine your fate. Like there’s some hall monitor out there, handing out passes or permission slips, and you just haven’t gotten yours yet. So waiting for permission is the most common Wait for people who are first getting started in their business, or even starting to dream bigger at all. And if you’ve been groomed in the corporate or academic worlds, and of course the arts too, you may be disturbed to discover this very, the belief inside of you. It’s a deeply conditioned belief that says you need someone to tell you that you have the right to do the thing you want to do.

So, James Altucher wrote an entire book about getting over this particular Wait and he didn’t call it a Wait, but his book is called, Choose Yourself. And in it, he says, he talks about this quite a bit, but he says, and I’m quoting now, we’re taught at an early age that we’re not good enough that someone else has to choose us in order for us to be blessed, rich, certified, legitimized, educated partnership material. And then, then of course, the book gives you every reason and method for going about getting over this. And ultimately as Altucher says, choose yourself.

So when I was starting on the of music, I truly did not think it was okay for me to even have this dream. I thought someone had to tell me I was okay enough to be a songwriter. And I remember my friend Pam called me out on it. And then she turned it into a little mantra for me. She said, I give you permission to be a musician. And I think we were both like 23 years old. And we were sitting at this little party in the woods. And I remember we were sitting on the roots of these very big trees. And I still remember getting chills when she said that to me, it was that much of a game changer for me. When my client Sue Ludwig had a dream of creating an organization that serves neonatal therapists, she was just a lowly neonatal therapist working in a NICU in Cincinnati. And for a long time, she stuffed that dream down because she thought someone else, someone more important, would create it because she didn’t have any kind of medical supervision, supervision, or permission or any kind of board of men somewhere telling her it was okay to do this.

And now, once she had, I was her coach when she first shared this, as she came to one of my first retreats back when I was doing women’s retreats. And we started her in on that path. But now she’s got thousands of members and she’s got corporations seeking her out to be her sponsor. Her virtual event this year was global with attendees from all around the world and sponsorships from major medical companies. And I will tell you, she did not have permission. And just this year, many of my clients have started posting training and coaching videos on LinkedIn and Instagram and Facebook. And they’re getting over this waiting for permission thing because a lot of them didn’t think they were allowed to put this out there and they have all gotten clients from this. And one of them went on, she went from only ever making $35,000 in her coaching business to crossing the six figure Mark this year, all because she stopped waiting for permission to step up, to teach and to talk about what she does. So this is your or permission to stop waiting for permission, but ultimately you don’t need, you don’t need my permission. You got to give yourself that permission.

The second Wait is waiting for perfection. And this is one that will follow you around like a lost puppy. Every time you have an idea for a product or a program or even a blog post, it’s a belief that you are not quite perfect yet. Or the thing itself is not quite perfect yet. And guess what? You’re not. Damn. And it’s not double damn. In fact, the number one tenet for any solo business owner who is about to do something new is simply just imperfect action. Unless of course you’re skydiving or performing brain surgery, or, you know, we’re rational here, but of course, imperfect action. No one’s going to die. If you put out a program that’s not perfect.

And even now, as long as I’ve been in business, making my first book had to at some point be an imperfect action step. And as I’m recording this right now, the audio of that book has still not been released even though I recorded it months before the release date. Total imperfection, and guess what? I’m living through it, because you learn to live through it. My client, Wendy Pitts Reeves, who has been primarily a therapist, who has her own counseling center, big healing center. She started teaching other therapists how to set up their private practices to run better and how to make more money. This is her superpower. It’s what she lived through and started doing herself. She started this side of her business imperfectly, first working one-on-one, and then building out a framework to teach this. And then this year she has built her entire business around this new model.

She set up a gorgeous website that is now pretty close to perfect in its messaging and onboarding. And no one came to arrest her for not being perfect when she started offering this. And then as of next year, she has let go of her own center. She stopped doing that. She’s moving away from her private practice to focus solely on her coaching work. She did not wait for perfection.

Wait number three is waiting for certainty. So hold on a second. How did Wendy even know if anyone would pay her? Well, she didn’t, she just put it out there. How did you know people would buy your book? I didn’t, but I wrote it anyway, all the while wondering that exact same thing. If you’ve ever thought about writing a book, doing a vision board workshop, hosting a retreat or starting a business, the first out the ego will throw your way is the first out. Every one of our egos throws our way and that is this. What if no one comes, what if no one buys? And that begins the pattern of waiting until some kind of guarantee, some kind of certainty makes itself known to you.

And now, of course, this is not a build it and they will come kind of a thing, kind of a message. You will have to offer your, your thing, your product, your service out into the world, and that’s called marketing and selling. But the truth is that not one of my clients ever knew for sure with all certainty, that their idea would work. So I, um, I teach a program called Vision Board Pro and I’m not even sure if it’s up, but it’s a get, I think at Getvisionboardpro.com. If you want to see what that’s all about, but what it does is that it teaches people how to lead and host and market their very own Vision Board Workshops.

And it also has an online version of the workshop that I teach you how to do too, that got obviously very popular this year. But what I love the most about teaching this is that many of the people who have hosted these workshops have never done anything like this before. And they are terrified because they don’t know if anyone will be interested. And of course, I teach them marketing. I give them all the emails to send out and everything. They need to make it happen, but they still have to walk through that. And there are no guarantees, but some of them, they get six people at their first workshop. Some of them get 12 people and some of them get as much as 45 people. But the thing is, none of them know at the start, and the mere fact that they can take action in spite of uncertainty, instead of waiting for certainty is what I love most.

This is what gives them so many lessons and so many life lessons about how it works when you set an intention. So when I’m congratulating them for their success, it’s not just because they made money or they got attendees. It’s because they stopped waiting for certainty. And some of them go on to do the retreat over and over and over again, because it starts to feel so good to get over that perpetual pattern of waiting. And it’s so much fun. And I will say that every single event or retreat or workshop I have ever put out there has started with uncertainty. And sure you can work on your mindset because you want to make sure you’re being as positive as you can. But the most devastating thing I hear people say about their ideas is that first thought of, you know, what, if no one likes it? What if no one buys it? What if no one comes?

Not one person ever knows if anyone is going to buy something from them or like anything they make. It is the ability to be with that uncertainty and then keep moving forward In spite of it, that turns us into true masters of our lives.

And that brings us to wait number four, which is waiting for rescue. And I’m going to start this one with a little conversation about archetypes. So the medical intuitive and best selling author, Carolyn Myss teaches archetypes around all of her work. So I’m going to give a little hat hip to her here, cause I really followed a lot of her stuff for a long time, but one of the archetype she teaches, especially for women, and of course often in relationship for her to the medical challenges that she sees in them. But it’s that archetype of the damsel.

And this is what Carolyn Myss says about the damsel archetype. And I’m quoting here. The shadow side of this archetype mistakenly teaches old patriarchal views that women are weak and teaches them to be helpless and in need of protection. It leads a woman to expect to have someone else who will fight her battles for her while she remains devoted and concealed in the castle.

In other words, and this is me talking now, when you wait for rescue, you feel helpless and you want protection. You are still expecting someone else to do the hard thinking, the hard work. And since we’re talking about business here, this Wait usually shows up as someone who wants someone else to come along and quote unquote, take care of the business side of the business. Cause you’re too creative and too hip and too cool for the business side. Or you want someone to do all that marketing stuff or anything that requires a deeper level of strategy or thought. And it’s because that stuff is hard. And the challenge of it breaks down our protective seal that we imagine is what’s keeping us safe, but ultimately that behavior really kind of just keeps us small with an imaginary protective coating around us.

What I can tell you without hesitation, that for me, I had to really face the damsel archetype in myself as I created my first business as a musician and in some ways having to do the work of being a business owner, supporting myself as an artist, is what really broke me out of this kind of subtle level of learned helplessness. And it was ugly and it wasn’t easy, but I am so grateful for how I have expanded out of that one particular archetype, that one particular trap. It’s very, very worth it. And I don’t know if other people feel that same trap if, if that’s a big one for other people, but I’ve seen it in people who, um, who avoid their, the business side of their business and they, they can be a little diva like, and I was too, I I’m completely willing to admit that.

The fifth Wait. Wait number five is a distant cousin to waiting for rescue, but this one is waiting for discovery, and were waiting for rescue renders you powerless and forever letting other people do the hard work, if you’re waiting for discovery, you want someone to see all of this pent up potential and light that you have and bring it out into the world, so your brilliance will finally be revealed. So you are too scared to own what you are, to name what you are, to see all of the good and bad that comes with this light that you have. And so rather than do all that unpleasant work, you simply want someone else to validate you and to use their influence, to prove to the world that you have something valuable to give, and then you get to benefit and make all the goodies and the money and the fame.

It’s a little similar to waiting for rescue, but in the business context, it usually points to a lack of clarity and ideas around how marketing works. And as you know, I, I look at marketing as communication, not as marketing. And so what happens is you still believe that there is even such a thing as discovery. It always cracks me up when someone says something to me like, you know, maybe Oprah will have you on Super Soul Sunday because your book is called Soul-SourcedTM as if that’s the only chance in hell that anyone has of impacting people’s lives with their book.

So if you get on some kind of Oprah kind of thing, great, that’s wonderful. But please don’t let that be your plan. I’m not saying you won’t because anything’s possible, but people in that kind of a position, usually wait until you’ve done the work and you’ve created the kind of buzz that makes them interested in even considering you. And of course, having a good PR team will help, which I don’t particularly dig the whole PR thing, I’ve not had, I’d only ever had them when I was a musician and really it wasn’t that big of a deal, but the point is you don’t need any of that. And if you’re waiting for it, then please do yourself a favor and learn how to stand in your, on your own two feet in your own source of power and discover yourself. Along with it, you’re going to discover a level of power that is so real and so true that that alone will be enough.

And these days you, you get to be Oprah. Like you get to be Oprah, maybe not for the masses in the millions, but you can have what I call a mini empire and you can make a really good living having that mini empire. You don’t have to be discovered by her, be her, be that voice of influence. Discover you. Also, just as an additional note, I would point you to my episode on, it’s called The Nitty Gritty of Launching Anything. And that will give you an idea of how marketing and selling yourself play out. And the whole idea of fame being kind of manufactured when it really comes down to it. So you manufacture your own success.

This brings us to wait number six, and this wait is called waiting for passion. And I know you’ve probably heard me say this over and over again on this podcast or in any number of my trainings or even in my book. I think we have some pretty manic misconceptions about what passion even is, but there’s a real messed up thing that happens when someone is waiting to take action on any of their ideas because they first want to make sure it is their passion.

And I think what that boils down to is that you’re telling yourself this better be the thing that lights me up now and forevermore. And I’m going to say that from the experience of playing music for a living, if there is one thing that has the highest chance of sucking the joy out of your passion, it’s doing it professionally. And I’m not saying not to make your living from your passion, but I am saying to take a really realistic 360 view of what that actually means, because no matter what your passion is, the business side of it will get tedious from time to time, and yes, it is lovely to really deeply love what you do. I think that’s great. I am not dissing that at all, but if you haven’t done anything yet and you’re waiting because you, you know, you’re not quite sure this is your number one truest passion, you may be one of those people who just simply needs to take some actions so that you start trusting yourself. Any action on something or anything, just to see who you are as someone who takes action, because you may just be one of those people who find their passion by accident. But you’re more likely to discover that if you’re doing something rather than waiting for something.

And that brings me to our Wait number seven, which is similar to waiting for your passion, but this one is waiting for Why, and there are two directions that waiting for Y can take that will stop you in your tracks. The first is the forward direction of it. And that means that you are still waiting for your life purpose to be revealed to you before you’ll take action or set intention or do anything. And like I said, this is a slight twist on waiting for passion, but now it’s all tied up with your life purpose and this can create even more egoic pressure on you before you’ll even begin with a simple idea.

In fact, I don’t I think ideas can find their way to you if you’re all so totally tied up and trying to figure out what your purpose is. And I’m going to tell you, I don’t think purposes are figured out, like they’re not up in the brain, the purpose of our work or our life, It reveals itself and it slowly evolves, and you know what, maybe it doesn’t even matter. Well, except it does matter if you’re a Ted Talk speaker and most of the ones who are all about purpose, they almost have this neurotic look in their eyes as they demand that you have a purpose. And it almost makes me purposefully not seek out a purpose just because who wants to be that crazy and that driven. Try curiosity, try wonder, instead. It will loosen things up. And my point is, is that all of this waiting for passion and purpose and all those big ideas like that, it’s just too much for that simple place that these ideas come and these delights that arise to point you in a direction.

And the other direction that waiting for Why can go, cause that was forward, the waiting for Why can also go backward. And that is that you are waiting to discover why something happened or why you are the way you are or why you procrastinate so much before you can let go and move forward. And it is the ultimate trap. The ultimate excuse. For the most part, there is no Why except for the meaning we give to the situation. Why did he reject you? Why did your teachers shame you? Why did that employees steal from you? Why didn’t your launch workout? Why didn’t anyone buy your book? Our need to sit in the past and wait for an answer is really just kind of an obsession. And yes, there may need to be therapy or energy work or some kind of deep healing work in these situations to clear some of the pain from them. But ultimately moving forward is about taking steps in spite of not having resolutions for all of our past challenges, because that will be a very convenient way to never actually have to move forward because you will never resolve all of those past challenges. It’s just part of life.

My, my first coach, and I know I’ve told this story before, but many, many years ago, my very first coach was helping me in my music career and I kept not getting things done. And I don’t even remember what exact things we were at. It was pretty early on and it was one of our first calls. And I started in on one of my usual stories about how, I didn’t know why my dad was the way he was and didn’t support. And I started into that story and, and my coach, he just stopped the story and he cut it off. And he said, Christine, I’m not here to help you with your dad problems. I’m here to move you toward success and help you move forward. Let’s do that. Okay? I know, you know, these moments with coaches, it was utterly horrifying and so embarrassing at the time, but this is what good coaches do. They do not let you enroll them in your patterns and stories. If you have hired them to help you move forward. And that is the gift of it. It’s not to say he didn’t have compassion. He just basically said, this is not the terrain where we’re going to go there. And I, I realized, okay, okay, this is what we’re doing. And it was a real game changer for me.

The eighth and final Wait is waiting for signs. So let’s talk about this one. When you set an intention and you’re not really committed to that intention, there may be a temptation to play a kind of a game with the universe. Like I’ll dip my toe in here. And if I get a sign from the universe, then I’ll really commit. Like if the universe sends me a check for the exact amount, then I’ll get this piece of equipment I need, or then I’ll hire that coach to help me, or then I’ll hire the employee I need.

We don’t want to take a really committed step forward unless we get a sign, kind of a little mini guarantee from the angels that we’re about to do the right thing. In my experience, which has been many, many years now, the very fact that you got the idea or that this opportunity presented itself to you is the sign. And I also think that we have to be the one who takes the first step toward that commitment. Otherwise we’re just bargaining with ourselves and we’re playing games with this idea of the universe or the divine, whatever it is for you. The truth is there is no more powerful energy than commitment. And I will remind you of the oft quoted statement from W.H. Murray. I even quoted it in my book and it says concerning all acts of initiative, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. And that is that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.

And this reminds me of, uh, uh, my very first gig. I was, I was so scared to do a gig. I was so scared, so scared and, uh, an opportunity presented itself to me, a friend of mine canceled, had to cancel a gig one weekend and he told me he wanted me to go do it. And I was terrified and I didn’t want to do it. And I wasn’t ready. And I didn’t have enough songs and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And he just kind of held me to it. And I went and I did it. And I was, I was shaking in my boots. So it was two nights, three sets.

And there was, uh, the end of the first night, there was a Shakespeare acting troop in town and they got there. Gosh, I think at the end of my like third set, they were, they got there late after their show, after whatever play they were performing that night. And at the end of that night that I had struggled and sweated through, one of them walked up to me and he put a hundred dollar bill in my tip jar. And he looked me in the eyes and he said, I just learned, this was your first gig. And I am here to tell you, you need to keep going. And that would never have happened if had not jumped in and done that gig, even though I wasn’t ready. And too many people, that was a sign obviously, but too many people wait for some other kind of sign that that says I don’t have to be scared. I don’t want to have to take action.

And I think that this one Wait, number eight, might be the most insidious because it stopped so many people from taking action because they have learned, they have, they have projected some kind of thing on the divine that makes it all powerful outside of them. And they have no intention whatsoever and they don’t have to take any action at all. So it’s when you set an intention and then you wait for the universe to just show you what to do. And then ultimately what can happen is you stay in a place where you never learn to trust yourself to take the first steps. You don’t trust. What does it look like when the universe moves through me? Like if I do get assigned, what does it feel like? Like, how do I know? But we’re waiting for the UPS guy to show up and give us the sign, a letter telling us to take this action. And it doesn’t work that way.

So as we close here, I’m going to ask you to ponder something. Each of these Waits has something in common. And I am wondering if that has become evident to you as I’ve been teaching this, but there is one key revealing element that is threading itself through all of these waits. It’s the thing that each one of them points to. And that is this. They’re all about power. They are all about your relationship to your own power when you wait. And this is true for each one of these, you ultimately give your power to something outside of you. Each one is a belief that you do not have the power. Discover me, rescue me, fix me, give me a sign, make me perfect. You’re looking outside of you for the answer for the energy, for the power and the convenient thing that is behind all waiting is that as long as you are waiting, you get to avoid yourself.

As long as you’re waiting, you’ll never have to ask yourself to face your own deep fear of looking within of sourcing from within of facing the gunk and stepping a hundred percent into your commitment or your intention. Instead, you keep all the power safely, just arms length, outside of you like some mystical unicorn that will somehow make it all get fixed, make you magically more productive and save the day for you. And I know it’s not quite that cut and dry, but if you let this kind of sink in and really observe yourself, like really observe where you keep waiting for something, you may find just how subtle the verb, this verb that we call to wait, is not really a verb at all. It’s complete non-action and from experience, I can promise you that if you stop waiting and you move forward and even just be scared, who cares, get scared. You’ve been scared before, but that gets the energy moving. It gets things going. And that tunes you into your capacity for power in a way that you will never regret betting on yourself. Even if you fall on your ass and trust me, you will fall on your ass, just because you tune into your power doesn’t mean you won’t find that you have power to make mistakes, but you will find that you have power to get up after making those mistakes. I have been there. I have done that. I have the proverbial t-shirt.

So thank you guys for listening. It is really a true joy to be able to share some of my coaching with you. And if you have read my book, the Soul-SourcedTM Entrepreneur, I thank you, first off, for getting it. And I’d love it If you’d head over to that page on Amazon and leave a review there, if you are so inclined, I am really grateful to read all the cool things people have written there. And I, I do appreciate that. Thank you for all the support you’ve given this book. Thank you for coming and listening to this podcast. I will keep going and I will see you all next week.