Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Quality Results Guaranteed

September 12, 2008

The trick to doing most anything well is doing it badly first.

My favorite illustration of this comes from the pages of a wonderful (short) book called Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

“The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.”

Perhaps it is truer to say that the trick to doing most anything well is DOING the thing in the first place. The hurdle lies in moving from contemplation into action…and the best way over the hurdle is practice.  Far too often, we don’t give ourselves permission to practice — to dive in head first, make a mess of things…in essence, create a bunch of ugly pots.

But what if we did?  What if, more often than not, we moved across the great divide between contemplation and action by focusing on doing rather than on doing well?  What if we set our sights on the quantity of practice rather than on the quality of our efforts?

Consider it…What would change for you if you gave yourself more permission to practice?

Jen

P.S. Many thanks for the terrific response to last month’s ZoomLetter on Laughter! Friend and veteran television director & producer, Abby Russell, makes it her mission to share the benefits of laughter with others.  Abby is the founder of Comedy Fights Cancer, a non-profit organization that delivers live and taped stand-up comedy to patients in hospitals and care facilities and organizes comedy benefits to raise money for cancer research.  CFC’s mission is to improve patient quality of life through humor. Learn more about this amazing organization at www.comedyfightscancer.org.

Jen helps people to set goals and then exceed their own expectations!
Her personal & career coaching programs are custom-designed for students and professionals.  Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Smart Money, Forbes.com, Time Out New York, and on The Today Show.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services, or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

Phone: 914.617.8283
Email: Jen@JZBcoaching.com

Visit Jen on the Web at  www.JZBcoaching.com
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When It Comes to Procrastination, It’s About Outsmarting Fear

February 29, 2008

 

One of my favorite tricks is: COMMIT…AND THEN FIGURE IT OUT.

I’m talking about putting a deadline on the calendar. When a person makes a commitment to another person with a date marked on the calendar, it’s amazing how 99% of the time, it gets done.

This is a great trick if you find yourself putting off something out of fear that you really want to do deep down.

Try it next time you’re presented with a vague request to do something that scares you. For instance, if you’re in business for yourself (like I am) and you find yourself getting requests to give public speaking engagements, and if (like me) the thought of giving these presentations makes you weak in the knees, experiment with this: Call the point person at the organization that is requesting your presence and set a date on the calendar — BEFORE you prepare the presentation. Tell them you’ll get back to them with a topic and proposal, but you want to set aside the date well-in-advance to be respectful of them and to be able to plan around it. Once a date is set and you know it’s approaching, you’ll be surprised by how quickly the ideas will flow — DESPITE the fear (The fear itself takes scores of speaking engagements to abate).

This way, rather than the fear eating away at you as you continue to put off picking up the phone to schedule the speaking engagement, now the fear and adrenalin will meet productively as you make preparations for a real, scheduled presentation.

Jump off the cliff, and you’ll find a way to fly!

Jen

Learn more about Jen’s life coaching services at www.JZBcoaching.com.

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THIS WEEK’S ZOOMLETTER: Procrastination Fuels Stress

We’ve all been there — procrastinating out of sheer boredom or repugnance. Take the ultra-common resistance to perform household chores. Most of us can relate to the thoughts: “If I just hadn’t put it off!” or “If I had only done a little tidying up each day, I wouldn’t be faced with the piles of mail or the overflowing hall closet!”

But many times, procrastination springs from something a bit less transparent than simply not wanting to bother. I’m talking about the type of procrastination rooted in FEAR.

With permission, I share a valuable approach to just this type of procrastination, relayed to me by a client. She makes a great case for…

Why procrastination causes us more stress than it’s worth (and what we can do about it):

She writes: “I often put things off that I’m scared to do. Like if I have to make a phone call; or commit to something; or get back to someone; or meet with people. I always try to put it off. The problem is, when I put it off, I’m then spending all that extra time worrying about it. So, procrastinating only feels good for the first day or so (when I feel like there’s still a lot of time until I have to do the scary thing). But, really, I spend the rest of the time worrying.

So, I’ve started experimenting (like we discussed) — committing to things right away and setting up meetings sooner rather than later, even if I’m scared I won’t be prepared. This way, I end up getting whatever it is out of the way, and I have a lot of time left to feel good that IT’S DONE! I know it’s a simple idea, but it’s worked so far.

I’m actually finding that I’m pushing things UP (instead of BACK). What I’ve found is that I have more time to work on things sooner this way, which leaves less crunch time in the end. If I push things up, I can feel more freedom to make mistakes, because there’s more time to correct them. So, I might show my supervisor a crummy draft, but that’s not nearly as scary as if we met further along and I showed her a crummy final draft, because then I’d have no time to make corrections. I find the old saying to be true: The sooner you start, the better. Oftentimes, if you push something off, you end up having only one shot at it. Better to work the kinks out earlier than have it be too late. Plus, it’s a bonus to realize I can handle most things sooner and don’t need the extra time.

Now when I’m nervous about something, I don’t put it off, because that will just leave me more worried about it. The key is it’s better to take action sooner than set your life up constantly worried about what’s coming next.”

This client’s valuable insight is this:
Procrastination that stems from stress & worry ends up FUELING stress & worry. ACTION interrupts this cycle.

I encourage you to try this…Take a moment to consider ONE thing that you’ve put off out of fear, and imagine the stress that could be lifted if you were to look out your “rear-view mirror” at it COMPLETED.

With cheer,

Jen

Learn more about Jen’s life coaching services at www.JZBcoaching.com.