Have you ever experienced that odd sensation of moving when you are actually totally still? This sensation occurs when you have just pulled into a parking space while the person beside you is backing out. For a few seconds, you lose perspective, and although you have stopped, the movement of the person beside you makes it feel as if you are moving, too.
The same is true in life. Often, we have the perception of movement, when, in fact, we are standing still.
Following are obstacles that hinder forward motion:
An embarrassing number of years ago, I pitched a book idea to an agent. I got the go-ahead to send a full book proposal and three sample chapters. Exciting, right? Uh, yeah, but guess who is still massaging that proposal and three sample chapters—rearranging paragraphs, changing scope, rethinking theme, and second-guessing approach. Yes, I am the one half-raising a hand in acknowledgement of never getting to the place that I’m satisfied enough with this project to send it.
Perfectionism paralyzes forward motion. Perfectionism second-guesses and what-ifs you into inaction and causes you to miss opportunities.
With the encouragement of some fellow writers, I am looking over those three sample chapters with a less critical eye. The agent may have forgotten me by now, but I’m going to submit the chapters and proposal anyway.
What have you allowed perfectionism to halt in your life? Have you worked and re-worked something to the point that you’ve lost your enthusiasm? Resurrect that tabled project and give it a gander with non-perfectionist vision. Then move forward by completing what you started.
Perfectionism and fear could easily be linked with handcuffs because they travel in pairs. Perfectionism says everything has to be flawless; fear says something awful will happen if it’s not. Both perfectionism and fear erect roadblocks that are visible only to you.
Figure out the root of your exact fear and address it. Are you afraid of rejection? Embarrassment? Being viewed a certain way? Not measuring up to someone’s expectations? Define your fear and do what is necessary to conquer it.
Indecision is the final element in the perfectionism-fear-indecisiveness trifecta. When you’re striving for perfection, and fearful of what might happen if you can’t achieve it, not being able to make decisions in a timely manner is the by-product. Opportunities are lost and blessings missed when you can’t decide to commit and take the next step.
One the surface, it may seem anger doesn’t fit in a list of what prevents forward motion, but anger is an emotion that can send you sideways or cause you to focus on looking back. Anger archives offense and causes you to waste energy on replaying words or actions you need to move beyond. Old anger paralyzes and new anger ruins relationships. Don’t let anger chain you to the past or sideline your future.
In a world replete with gadgets, screens, entertainments, diversions, and voices, you have to work really hard to avoid the allure of distraction. Often, distractions masquerade as research, relaxation, or learning, but distractions always take your eyes off goals and circumvents forward motion.
Assess your forms or distraction and the amount of time they usurp. Make adjusts that allow you to more fully focus on moving ahead, finishing tasks, and achieving goals.
Have you noticed that some people immediately jump on a project, no matter how challenging, and stay with it until it’s complete? These are the people who don’t have procrastination in their vocabularies.
Procrastination looks at tasks, assesses their difficulties and challenges, and then stacks them in a to-do pile. Procrastination makes excuses, reschedules, and reassigns priority. Procrastination halts moving forward.
To overcome procrastination, decide to meet at least one challenge this week head-on. Just dive in and do it, and then congratulate yourself for taking a step forward.
Wow, this is one I wish I could leave off the list, but it belongs here. Often we stay glued in place because it’s easier than moving forward. Your current status is familiar, and often more comfortable than the unknown. Staying put doesn’t involve change, energy, vision, planning, or risk. But staying where you are also doesn’t position you for potential joy, blessings, and rewards. Don’t let laziness dupe you into thinking you are moving when you’re standing still. Get up. Push perfectionism, fear, indecisiveness, anger, distraction, procrastination, and laziness aside and move forward with God-given vision and confidence.
“Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you.” Proverbs 4:25-26 MSG
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT