Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘plan’

Seeing More Butterflies: Likes Attract

A Time to Hide and a Time to Soar With the Butterflies

I see butterflies. Every day when I go on my morning walk, I see them. Sometimes a single white or yellow one, and sometimes two or three at a time. Occasionally, I’ll see swarms. Often, a single monarch or painted lady will cross my path as if to say “you’re going the right way. Keep going.”

For years I hid. Being an introvert is a handy excuse. But as I learn and grow, I realize I’ve used it as an excuse to be ‘less than” for too long. In reality, introversion isn’t a complete lack of desire to be around people. It’s more of a need to take people in smaller doses unless they’re the ones who truly fit me. With those people, I can spend hours or even days. If I do need to revert for a bit, I can do it without fuss or fanfare because they understand. Sometimes, all I need to do is sit back and listen while others carry the conversation.

I’ve learned hiding isn’t really a bad thing. There’s a time to hide; to wait; to rest. There’s also a time to spread my wings, show off their beautiful colors, and soar through life with wild abandon. Life isn’t an either/or proposition. It’s about choosing what and where and when. I think I had to go deep into my waiting place to figure that out.

Spreading My Wings

As my life expands and grows, I’m seeing more butterflies. Or maybe I’m just noticing them more the way you notice all the cars on the road like yours when you buy a new one. Now that I’m a butterfly myself, I notice them, and interestingly enough, they seem to notice me as well.

I suspect some see me as a bit of an oddball. When I walk in the morning, I talk to the ravens, the doves, the lizards, the dogs, the occasional curious cat, and of course, the butterflies. If it flies walks or crawls, I’m likely to strike up a conversation, or at least say hello. I have to believe some of them even reply in their own unique way.

The butterflies swoop and dance in the air around me. The lizards scoot out of their hiding places, letting me know they’re out and about. A kitten walks over and throws himself on the sidewalk, belly up in an age old demand. Even the dogs who used to leap at their fences aggressively now give a soft ruff as if to say: “good morning. Nice to see you out and about this fine day.”  They might even miss me on the rare morning I don’t pass by.

Creativity and Swarms of Butterflies

Created with CanvaSome days, I think the number of butterflies I see is an indication of how my day will unfold. When I see one or two, the day tends to be slower and more introspective. When I see swarms or groups of four or five, I’ll accomplish a lot, and my creativity will be high. Before you ask, I haven’t actually tested this theory, but you’d better believe I’ll be more conscious of it now.

The funny thing about writing (or typing) something is it creates a kind of file folder in my brain. Once written, I can more easily access it for future reference. When similar thoughts arise, I can pull out all my notes and compare them; check my theories and form new ones.

Writing has long been my healer, decision maker, sounding board, and therapist. But in order for it to work optimally, I had to learn to shut off the analytical part of my brain that wants to dive in and solve a problem with little or no evidence. It wants to guide my fingers and form the words. I’ve learned it isn’t my brain’s job to do that.

Answers come from deep within; a place where analysis doesn’t go. It comes from my heart and my subconscious. Most of my writing these days occurs independently from my brain. In fact, when my brain starts to intrude, I’ll take a break until it settles back into whatever bone it was chewing on before it tried to interfere with a process where it doesn’t belong. Its chance comes when I edit but not when I create.

Creating From the Heart vs. the Mind

How many other creatives let their hearts guide them? Allow something intangible and untouchable to form their art? Talking to other writers, some hold rigidly to a plan and woe be to the fingers which try to deviate from the plan. The very idea makes me shrivel and withdraw. Those folks can’t shut off part of their brain like I do. Perhaps they’re more focused and finish things faster than I do. I’ll never really know.

All I know is what works for me and the butterflies. Watching them, I see no pattern or plan. They flit from place to place, riding the air currents and simply loving being exactly where they are. They don’t know from rigid plans or schedules. Like me, they simply let themselves be.

Enjoying the Journey that shared sense of Being is what draws me to the butterflies. We both know we’ll get wherever we’re meant to go eventually, but the adventure is in the path we take. If we planned rigidly, we’d miss some amazing experiences along the way, even if doing so would get us from point A to point B faster.

Is the point to get there faster? Maybe for some. For me, it’s truly the journey. Sure, there are things I’d like to achieve, or wish I’d achieved already. But by taking the long way around, those achievements will be enhanced by the experiences I have on my slower, less rigid journey.

Still, I listen to some of those with rigid plans because within their rigidity are nuggets of wisdom I can use without following their overly structured ways. Perhaps they’ve even showed me how to notice the butterflies with their single-minded focus?

Taking Time Out of Each Day for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for my writing and all the worlds it’s opened to me.
  2. I’m grateful for learning to disengage from my analytical side. There’s a time and a place for it, but it needs to step aside when it’s my creative side’s turn.
  3. I’m grateful for the flow of words from my fingers. It goes more smoothly these days, after pounding out so many in the last few years. I’d even go so far as to say it’s become a habit.
  4. I’m grateful for a flexible schedule. Some days, I need to stay out of the world and be alone with my words. These days, it’s no longer a luxury, but a lifestyle.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, creativity, love, life, friendship, joy, music, health, humor, peace, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Setting Intentions to Safely Navigate Friction

Making July’s Friction Work For Me to the Power Path School, the theme for July is “Friction”. They go on to explain that rubbing two sticks together creates friction which causes sparks. The ensuing fire can either be used for good (i.e. lighting a fire under ourselves), or it can burn the entire house down leaving us to begin at ground zero.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s definitely a time and place to tear things down, especially if they’re rotting from the inside out, or have outlived their usefulness. For that reason, the Tarot card which personifies July is one of my personal favorites, The Tower (or in some decks, called “Lightening Struck Tower”). Numerologically speaking, The Tower is number 16 which, when reduced down to a single digit, is 7, or the number for July.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But I choose to believe things happen for a reason.

Sometimes What I Need is a Good Old-Fashioned Purge

At any rate, I’ve always felt The Tower in a reading is a good omen, though many The Tower from the Spiral Tarotdisagree with me. I see it as a much-needed cleansing, or purging of people and things which no longer serve our greatest good. Call it a cosmic decluttering.

It might be as simple as clearing the mind of thoughts which are holding you back, or practices like fear and procrastination that get in the way of your ultimate success.

Or it might indicate the need to clear some space in your home. In my case, I’ve put off ripping up the rest of the carpet in my bedroom because it’s in a difficult area, namely, the closet. But I feel like the time has come. I just have to work up the energy to tackle the last pieces along with the tack board that’s a bear to pull up, even with lots of room to work.

Setting Intentions to Use Friction Effectively

In order to navigate the friction successfully, I intend to do a couple of things which have yet to become automatic. The first is to set some intentions:

  • I intend to remove the carpet from the closets in my bedroom
  • I intend to get (number to be determined) chapters of my memoir re-written
  • I intend to release 10 pounds in July
  • I intend to launch my new landing page

I won’t overwhelm you with all the things I have before me. But this is a sample of where I want the month to go. As always, I’ll give myself a “gimme” or two because I know how much the small successes keep me going when I get frustrated or stymied.

Creating a Road Map or “Plan”

Once I have my intentions, I need to create a plan for each of them. For example, I need to decide how many chapters I will complete in July and put the due dates into Trello. From past experience, I’ve learned it’s better to underwhelm myself than overwhelm. If I finish more chapters or release more weight than I intended, it’s a bonus, and inspires me to reach higher with the next set of plans.

Another advantage to planning out at least part of the month is it will keep me too busy to get sucked into other friction-based activities which could work against me. A plethora of projects with aggressive timelines keeps me out of trouble. I’ve learned that the hard way more than once.

I Can’t Make People Like Me So Why Should I Try?

I’m working on being very Zen, and avoiding unnecessary arguments. By the way, all arguments are unnecessary. If nothing else, at the start of what appears to be an argument, I’m practicing saying “Yes, you’re right” and walking away.

I’ve also learned I am, at times, an acquired taste. Sure, some people like my weird-ass self from the beginning, but in most cases, they have to get used to me in their own fashion. Plenty never do. That’s not to say there aren’t a few who find me to be their cup o’ tea from the very beginning, but those few see the real me right away. Though I’ve gotten better about being both real and vulnerable, I’m still selective about who sees that side of me and when. I let my internal radar lead the way after burning my fingers a few too many times by showing too much to the wrong people.

As a friction-y month, I don’t doubt I’ll have ample opportunity to rub folks the wrong way, so practicing my argument avoidance techniques early will save me a lot of aggravation. Aggravation, for me is a guaranteed killer of forward momentum. I have a tendency to spend too much time mulling, chewing, and dissecting the event, taking too much responsibility, and wondering how I can fix it than I will following my plans and manifesting my intentions.

Sometimes the Best Strategy is Retreat course, I could simply hole up in my house, working on stuff until the month is over and the worst of the friction has passed. But frankly, I get some of my best blog ideas from being out in the world, living life as it should be lived. My readers deserve better than the flat, uninspired posts that would ensue were I to go into hermit mode for 31 days.

I’d like to believe I’ve gotten better at avoiding arguments just as I’ve improved on my ability to set intentions and create plans. Though I have a long list of failures, I also have a growing list of successes to inspire me. Were it not for those failures, I’m not sure the successes would have been possible.

As such, I’m inclined to stare July in the face and say Bring on the friction. I’m locked, loaded, and ready!  I’ve always loved a challenge and a worthy opponent!

Lubricating the Friction with Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned.
  2. I’m grateful for the supportive community I’ve built around me.
  3. I’m grateful for the momentum I’m already feeling, and know it’s just a tiny sample of what’s to come.
  4. I’m grateful to Linda Clay for helping me see there really is a time and a place to make a plan.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, fire, inspiration, motivation, joy, release, timing, projects, relationships, beginnings, endings, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats, and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Attitude: The Ultimate Motivator

Analyzing My Attitude

As I recently embarked on a new version of my lifelong weight management journey (courtesy of Julia Cameron’s “Writing to Diet”), I tend to think about it more than usual. Being the analytical sort, I take it apart and put it back together in various configurations. In one scenario, I look at how others treat their less-than-perfect bodies. Let’s be honest, here. I’ve never met a woman who couldn’t find something she didn’t like about her body!

Still and all, I find those who are more successful focus more on changing one thing, and it has nothing to do with food or exercise.

Re-assessing the Messages I Send Myself

You’ve probably seen a lot of meme’s and posts lately dealing with how people to the messages they receive. Whether you tell a child she’s smart or dumb, she’ll more often than not meet your expectations.

Humans like you and me grow up on the outside, but there’s a part of us which will always be that child who’s easily influenced by expectations; both internal and external. When we tell ourselves things like:

You’re a mess. You need to clean up your act.


You’ll never lose the weight you need to. You’re a fatty who can’t control her eating.


You gained back 3 ounces. Might as well go scarf that gallon of ice cream. You’re a failure.

In one sense, you’re ripping away at your own self-confidence, and in another, you’re giving yourself permission to keep failing—to keep disappointing the most important person in your life—YOU!

Self-Improvement is the Ultimate Goal

One of the requirements for the new self-improvement program I’ve embarked upon (and yes, I see it as self-improvement rather than weight loss) is to take a 20-minute walk every day. As it happens, I’ve been trying to get into the habit of walking daily for months without success. Somehow, though, when Ms. Cameron wrote about it and offered examples from students who’d followed her plan successfully, I came up with my own plan to make it work.

I know myself well, so getting dressed and out the door had to be a first-thing-in-the-morning task, or it would get put off the way my gym workouts were until I created a plan. If you’ve been following me for the last year or so, you know I’ve been incredibly successful at meeting my 3-day-a-week gym goal, because I assigned myself specific days with their own specific workout. (Monday; legs, Wednesday; chest and triceps, Friday; back and biceps).

As a result, I’m stronger, leaner, and have more energy. I also know it’s not enough, because I wasn’t sticking to my healthier diet so my weight was going up and down like a yo-yo. I’d like to believe at least half of the poundage I reacquired is muscle mass, but who am I kidding? Indeed, a part of it might be, but my clothes were fitting tighter again, and contrary to popular belief, they did not shrink in the wash!

Motivation According to Plan

In order to make the daily walk work with my schedule, I had to put it after writing morning pages and feeding the cats (tasks I can’t move around any more than I already have!), and before coffee and my usual yogurt and blueberries breakfast. Trust me, when coffee is the reward for getting my sneakers on and heading out the door to walk for a mere 20 minutes, little if anything gets between me and that walk!

Now, I could tell you I motivate myself by looking at the too-high numbers on the scale or the ample figure in the mirror and berating myself, but not only would I be lying, I’d be doing you a gross disservice. The truth is, I look at the numbers on the scale and, even when they go back up a bit, I look at my excel spreadsheet and see how many pounds I’ve released over time rather than what I regained over a day or two. It reminds me how much I’m capable of, and that there will always be setbacks.

Positive Reinforcement

I also look myself in the mirror and notice the positive changes. I tell myself how proud I am of those changes, and the effort I made and continue to make. I recognize the effort and forgive the imperfections.

Sure, I’ve changed my eating habits a lot. I eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and less sugar and flour. I try to track every bite that passes my lips, though with more success some days than others. The question remains, how was I able to turn a life of sloth and often depression into one where the weight is coming off, albeit slowly, and my energy is increasing, not so slowly.

The answer is really a single word: Attitude. Changing my attitude and appreciating my smallest wins turned everything around, and gave me the drive and desire to add new things like daily walks to my routine. Attitude makes me stand straighter and taller, suck in my belly without having to remind myself, and make better food choices.

Ask Not “What Can I Eat?” But “Am I Really Hungry Now?”

It’s taught me to ask myself when my stomach growls at 10 PM if I’m truly hungry, and if so, will a small slice of bell pepper be as effective (if not more so) in silencing the dragons than some sweet or salty snack (for the record, the answer is always yes these days).

I listen to friends complaining about the way they look, or some flaw nobody notices but them. That was once me, and while I focused on the flaws and the failures, my progress was limited if not negative. I had to learn to love myself as I am, at any given moment.

Seeing Myself Through Less Critical Eyes

That doesn’t mean I have to stay in the place I spent so much time beating myself up over. It simply means that each stage of my progress is good and praise-worthy. Wherever I find myself is better than someplace I was at some point in the past.

The changes might not be visible to anyone else, but like everyone, I have laser vision when it comes to myself. I know the frame I live in once carried 20 or 30 more pounds, and that those pounds were pure fat. I know I’m starting to see collarbones I haven’t seen in decades, and silly as it may sound, it makes me dance with joy. Does anyone else notice the faint hint of bone at my neckline? Doubtful. But what anyone else sees has nothing to do with my attitude towards myself—unless I let it.

The Only Opinion That Matters is Mine

If you ask me, the biggest mistake you can make is to allow anyone else to influence your attitude towards yourself. I did for a very long time, and am working on fixing the damage it did.

I’ve also learned no matter how much I’ve shored up my attitude, people and things can still shake it. Still, it’s up to me to remind myself of one of my favorite quotes:

What other people think of me is none of my business.

Whether you’re struggling with your weight, building a business, reaching a goal, or simply giving yourself permission to succeed, I’ve learned it will continue to be a struggle until you can tell yourself with complete confidence that you deserve to succeed at whatever you want to do. The rest is just logistics.

Supporting Myself With an Attitude of Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned to love myself as I am, and not some pie-in-the-sky image of perfection.
  2. I’m grateful I’ve learned to set new goals, and to find a way to achieve them instead of talking myself out of trying.
  3. I’m grateful for new adventures.
  4. I’m grateful for dreams fulfilled. It means I get to dream new dreams.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy, love, self-confidence, attitude, friendship, inspiration, motivation, new experiences, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Re-kindling Self-love With Committment

Committing to Me

The Facebook Live associated with this post can be found here.

Last night I talked about how I struggle with making and keeping commitments to myself. One of the things I have found over the last few months is that making a commitment to do anything is only half the process. The other half is coming up with a plan. In the case of my workouts, it meant setting specific days. When I deviate from those specific days, I’m not as likely to get all of my weekly workouts in.

At risk right now is the business I’ve been trying to develop for the last three years, or more specifically, my writing career. I know I haven’t been committed or I’d have actually finished and published something by now. But I also know that doing it just for the money sucks all of the energy out of me.

Help When I Need It

I had a conversation at the beginning of the week where this very concept came up. The person I was talking to suggested that regardless of my fears and concerns right now, I need to take money out of the equation. Instead of pitching ideas for stories I’d like to write for compensation, he proposed I write the article first, then pitch it to someone and be willing to let it be published, compensation or no.

Since then, I’ve created a business plan, but not in the normal sense. This one simply commits to a certain number of hours per day spent writing, reading and researching, and querying (I’m trying to use a word other than pitching because of the negative feelings I have around the word).

Part of my research today was to compile a list of places I might present my work. I even took compensation out of the equation and included sites which, though they might not pay me for my initial offerings, would give me visibility. In this day and age, getting found is critical. With so many writers, entrepreneurs, and virtual businesses out there, we each need to find a way to stand out from the crowd, and high traffic sites is one way to do it.

Boomers vs. Millennials

I’m also working on an article about Baby Boomers and Millennials. When I started it, my focus was on how Millennials will change the face of business in the next decade or so, but as I read articles from different points of view, I learned a lot about not only what drives Millennials and why, but how different the relationship between the two generations is from the one I had with my parents.

For instance, my circle of friends includes people from their 20’s to their 80’s. We interact on equal footing for the most part. I can’t even imagine my parents having the kind of relationship I have with people my daughter’s age. Even as adults, we were always just kids to them.

I’m not saying we do all the same things or hang out together regularly, but we share ideas and opinions, challenges with our businesses, and we support each other’s activities. I’m also not saying that the age-defying outlook my friends and I enjoy is applicable to all Baby Boomers or Millennials. But the fact it exists at all is for me, compelling.

Finding Common Ground

I’m not blind to the fact that there are some from both generations who blame the other for their woes. I guess that will always be the case when the subjects of jobs and social security come up. I realized, though that one of the best ways to work our way through the quagmire of misinformation and fake news really lies in our ability to cooperate inter-generationally. Our being at odds serves someone else’s purpose—someone who does not have any of our best interests at heart.

Choosing to emphasize our similarities and downplay our differences seems like a pretty good idea to me. I’ve never been a fan of placing blame anyway. I saw enough of it in the workplace, and it’s only real purpose is destructive. Far better to take the position that we agree something is broken and between us we can come up with the best way to fix it.

Learning From Each Other

Frankly, we can learn a lot from a generation which grew up with cell phones, instant messaging, and social media. One of my biggest pet peeves has always been communication, or lack thereof. In some cases, there might be a bit of over sharing, but for the most part, it’s more of an asset than a liability. Millennials are accustomed to getting immediate answers. By getting those immediate answers, they get things done faster too. Good news since instant gratification with communication has created a culture that’s used to constant stimulation and when that stimulation wanes, boredom sets in. To be honest, I relate to this myself, but my career path led me to embrace technology early on. Anything to get away from the drudgery of writing everything down in big, dusty ledgers, totaling up dozens of columns on countless pages with nothing more than a calculator, then moving all of the figures to the proper accounts. All-in-all a painstaking process which spreadsheets and accounting programs rendered obsolete. Others might have complained as they didn’t like the changes, but I was overjoyed.

More to Come

But I’ll leave the results of my research on the topic for another day. What started with a single article is escalating out of control as it is, but believe it or not, that’s a good thing. I can write on the subject from a number of different angles which gives me yet another niche. Not bad for my first day’s work with a plan!

Was I ready to take this step 6 months ago? Probably not. I needed to gain more clarity on what I truly wanted, and that has occurred in the last few weeks. Will I get it in gear before the next 5 months races by? I can only hope and put the work in. The rest is just going to have to resolve itself as my plan and its potential unfold. Stay tuned!

Remembering to Be Grateful

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for epiphanies which move me forward on m path.
  2. I am grateful for the tenacity which, though little used lately is still there when I call upon it.
  3. I am grateful for the support and advice of my friends. They help me find clarity and the courage to continue moving forward.
  4. I am grateful for my writing. When I’m lost and confused, it helps me sort things out.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, resources, friendship, love, joy, dancing, inspiration, kicks in the butt, encouragement, support, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Anti-Procrastination Plan


Itchy, twitchy, and utterly scattered

This week has been especially challenging for me, despite the relative calm in my life as the New Year begins. While running errands on Tuesday, I felt especially cranky, yet there was no good reason for it. My stomach was full, I had water with me, people in the stores were friendly…I was just out of sorts for no particular reason.

I did miss three dancing nights this week and my only excuses were exhaustion and a badly swollen and painfull knee. Yet I really didn’t do that much. Monday I actually got a few hours of work in, Tuesday I did my 3 hour errand marathon, and Wednesday I made another vat of turkey stewp. But none of that should have worn me out to the point of missing dance nights! And yet I did.

By Thursday, I was edgy, twitchy, and unsettled. I even took a few moments to go stand in the rain, barefooted on the newly green front lawn (ok, it’s weeds, but they’re green!) until my feet were too frozen to maintain my position. Yet the twitchy-ness continued.

Lunar Lunacy

My only explanation for this malady of sorts is the full moon mostly hidden by the cloud cover which has become an integral part of the sunny Southern California landscape of late. (seems the El Nino our inimitable weather services predicted for the last two years finally arrived after they stopped predicting its imminent arrival!)

Yet, as the week wore on and I got a few things done I’d been avoiding, I found myself feeling more settled. Was procrastination the ultimate culprit?

Procrastination: Same story, different day

Procrastination occurs for a plethora of reasons. I won’t profess to understand everyone else’s but here are a few of mine:

  1. Boredom
  2. Fear
  3. Anxiety
  4. Unpleasant tasks (or those I’ve convinced myself are unpleasant)
  5. Laziness

Sometimes, the hard part is catching yourself avoiding what you know needs to be done, and getting out of your own way. I should know by now that if I’d rather be cleaning, I’ve really talked myself around a task.

To wit: I’ve needed to transfer the preliminary outline I finished this week to a Word document. Yet Thursday came and I’d yet to begin. In fact, I hadn’t even taken the notebook out of my laptop case until Wednesday night! Yet I still found reasons to put it off. I really need to read some of the blog posts I’ve been saving. Or how about: I need to do laundry right now. As if I hadn’t perfected the art of late night chores decades ago!

Using crankiness to devise my anti-procrastination plan

Now that I’ve actually put a couple of chapters worth of outline into that Word document, I feel less tense and irritable. The feeling has been replaced by anticipation and expectation, but it beats being cranky for no reason! At some point, I am going to learn to sit myself down and do that which challenges me instead of finding all sorts of ways to avoid it until I don’t even want to be in the same room with myself. It seems I’m much better at keeping commitments I make to other people than I am about keeping them with myself.

As I let this idea germinate for a couple of days, I finally came to the conclusion that I am a starter but not a finisher. I get bored or frustrated with a project, and put it aside, sometimes forever. I need to give myself small milestones so I’ll feel like I’m accomplishing something. Getting the outline on paper was one of those milestones. Putting it into Word so I can play with it, move things around, and,  more importantly, expand on it is another. Using it to improve my story is yet another step in the long road to publication. One I’ve made much longer through my procrastination.

Being my most treasured client

Someone gave me a piece of advice when I was struggling with marketing myself. They said to think of myself as one of my very best clients and put that same effort into the marketing. I think that same piece of advice applies to commitments I make to myself. Whether it’s getting that outline done, working on one of my books, writing in general, drafting regular blog posts, or doing work for a client, there should be no difference in quality or commitment. Am I truly alone in failing to see the disconnect? The shoddy workmanship on tasks for myself?

I read a story last night about a carpenter who decided to retire. His boss asked him to build one last house. Part way through the project, he started getting lazy and sloppy. He did sub-standard work and used cheaper materials. At the end of the project, his boss handed him the keys. He said he’d have done a better job if he’d known he was doing it for himself.

I seem to do the opposite. My clients get my best work, and I get what’s left over. The spoils. Instead, everyone should be getting my best work. Don’t we all deserve the very best I can give? Myself included?

Manageable pieces for a successful anti-procrastination plan

One thing I have learned lately is that I don’t need to write an entire blog post in one sitting. Sometimes, I start an idea and as the day goes on, other things occur to me. I need to allow this to happen. I can write a few thoughts which occur to me, then go on to other things and let the thoughts germinate. If I’m lucky, the germination makes for a better post.

I took my time finishing this post, though a good part of that time was spent farting around instead of really accomplishing anything. Sometimes I need to do that to see where I’m shooting myself in the foot. For now, knowing I need an anti-procrastination plan is the first step. Like an alcoholic, I need to admit I have a problem before I can format a plan and create manageable steps to fix it.

What we need is a 12-step program for procrastinators

I invite all who suffer from procrastination and self-sabotage to join me in taking the first step: admitting we have a problem. Maybe even start a support group; some might call it accountability partners, to help each other form anti-procrastination plans with those small milestones we need to keep us interested. Even give each other honest advice about those plans. I know I tend to form some that are just not manageable, and drop by the wayside. If someone were to look at my plan and tell me when I need to break the pieces into smaller chunks, I know it would help. And if they checked in to see if I was truly accomplishing those smaller chunks, the guilt alone would kill me if I hadn’t. Here’s my first step. Will you share yours?

My name is Sheri and I’m a procrastinator. I start projects but never take them to completion.

It all starts with gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the honesty with which I view myself.
  2. I am grateful for lessons I’ve learned, and those yet to come.
  3. I am grateful for support groups.
  4. I am grateful for honesty, however painful it might be at first. In the end, it’s what makes us great.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, hope, dreams, plans, successes, failures, challenges, lessons, support, giving, receiving, love, philanthropy, peace, harmony, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Are you interested in helping me form an anti-procrastination support group? Fill in the form below and share your thoughts!

Photo courtesy of Gavin Firkser via Flickr

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