I doubt the diagnosis would hold up in court or with a doctor, but according to the one and only Kelsey Balcaitis, I have a very severe problem.
After years of observation, including several late nights in college (and even high school) trying to finish a paper or study for the next day’s exam, it has become evident that I suffer from the sometimes terminal afflictions of procrastination, distraction, and indecision. When combined, this “trifecta” can be extremely detrimental to success.
But after suffering from these three diseases for quite some time (cough, my whole life, cough), I have learned to work with them - sort of.
Whenever I work on a new project, I go through a similar eight-step process:
- Start strong and brainstorm a million ideas.
- Attempt to work on these initial million ideas.
- In the process of working on these million, come up with another million ideas.
- Become so inundated with ideas that frustration sets in.
- Give up.
- Day before project/paper/test, go into a panic.
- Revisit list of ideas and pick the one I always knew would work.
- Work, distraction, work, study break, caffeine, work, distraction, work.
Then, after hours of work and plenty of distractions (note to self: going to the library with friends is NOT the best place for me to get work done), I would finally have an end product with which I was mostly satisfied. Of course, I ran through the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” list. But the benefit of last minute work is that you can’t change anything once it’s turned in. There is no room for that.
I went through high school and college stuck in that cycle. It turned out well, minus the lost hours of sleep and the panic attacks. But as I graduated and stepped into the “real world”, I hoped those days were behind me.
Delusional thinking on my part.
As I begin to work on the We Dream project, I find myself starting the same cycle. I have so many ideas and thoughts, no clear direction, and I’m finding myself getting frustrated. How am I supposed to start a project if I don’t know where the “start” is? How am I supposed to make decisions if I don’t know what the end goal is supposed to look like? How am I supposed to do this or do that?
If you’ve ever read Linchpin by Seth Godin, you might recognize these thoughts as my Lizard Brain talking. My lizard brain is afraid. It’s trying to protect me from the failure of not getting it right and not getting it done. It’s telling me that I’m better off giving up.
But that’s not what a “Next Top Credit Union Exec” does. And it certainly isn’t what Kelsey Balcaitis does. Because no matter how much I may struggle, panic, or want to curl up in a ball under my desk, I will not give up.
As I continue working on the We Dream project, I will continue to battle my lizard brain and those nasty diseases. This experience won’t be easy. I don’t have a map. I don’t have a checklist of things that need to be done. I am blazing my own trail to get to the end result. But I’m definitely looking forward to the journey.