The other day when I was swimming laps, I surprised myself when halfway down the lap lane, I stopped. I stopped suddenly and for no apparent reason. As I stopped, I pondered, “Why did you stop, Julie?” I responded to myself, “I wondered that, too.” And, so, I pondered some more, “Why did I stop?”
I had everything I needed:
• Decades of swimming experience (swim team, teaching swimming lessons, and coaching swim teams);
• The optimal setting (I had a calm, outdoor pool all to myself on a perfect summer evening);
• The right tools for the job (fins, paddles, kickboard, and my skills)
I took a deep breath and made myself open to some answers.
I likened my stopping mid-lap to how in life I have stopped mid-flow. I have sometimes stopped in the middle of a project or what I was working on to assess my progress, reassess the process I’m using, and then tweak as necessary. I have also found myself experiencing a bit of procrastination on some projects. And, while procrastinating, I have thought about the best way to proceed and at times, worried about the possible outcomes. The “what if’s.”
I pride myself on having the patience for research when trying to figure out the exact right tool for my business. Such as which payment tool to use, which scheduling platform is the best for my business, and which CRM (Customer Resource Management) to use. Researching, analyzing, and weighing all options are skills of a reasonable, logical person and business owner.
Over thinking and wellbeing
However, sometimes over thinking and weighing options ad nauseam can wreak havoc on my psyche, my relationships, and my well being. It is advantageous to make sure I’m taking the right steps and risks. However, when there is too much of thinking and ruminating, it can become debilitating. It can become a severe case of “analysis paralysis.”
Here is the funny part… And, I am an improvisor. Planning, thinking, procrastinating, stalling are not typical characteristics of an improvisor. (I trained at The Second City in Chicago in the 1990’s and even coach individuals and business owners how to incorporate improv into their lives, businesses, and as an effective communication tool.)
I thought about these thoughts over the next few days.
And then, voila, by chance, or by a serendipitous pull from the Universe, I reached for a book on my nightstand. I keep a stack of various books on my nightstand so that I am ready for whatever reading material strikes my fancy.
I opened up the book, “Originals…How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant to a seemingly random page on the topic of “Procrastination—The Discipline of Delay.” P. 97
The Discipline to Delay. Procrastination turns out to be a common habit of creative thinkers and great problem solvers…Procrastination may be particularly conducive to creativity when it leaves us solving problems at moments where we’re unfocused.
Looking at the big picture
I am reminded that everything is done in its time. It is important to let an idea percolate a bit. Sometimes we need to pause, take a step back, and look at the big picture. As I write this, I am aware of the difference between percolating and ruminating. One is allowing an idea to develop. The other is lamenting over what could have or should have been done.
Taking time to pause, reflect, and admire where I have been and what I have accomplished is indeed a part of the process and leads toward progress.
Pause if you need to, ruminate on those fabulous ideas, and be sure to take action. You will see progress.
And, you just might enjoy the process along the way as you allow your ideas and dreams to percolate.
About the author: To find out more about Julie Ostrow, please click here.