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Six Things That Stop You from Being Productive

In our last lesson, we talked about how true productivity means having a deeper purpose connected to everything you do. So that your actions move the needle forward. That you're guided by an authentic inner power. Rather than being externally influenced.

Since we're talking mindful productivity AKA super-charge status, you know we can't stick to the surface level. Which is why today I'm going to share a few common mindsets I see that hold people back. And how they progress.

Having a closed and fixed mindset. Someone once told me, "Even my therapist can't get me to change, so I doubt anything will help me." This is a sign of a closed and fixed mindset. Of passing the baton of responsibility outside of yourself, and seeing power as external instead of internal. When you see power only through the five senses, it now becomes something that's limited, can be stolen, bought, transferred, gained, or lost. This creates victims.

But when you start to see power as something that goes beyond the five senses, multi-sensory, which includes the spirit and energy, you start to live from authentic power. You don't allow anything external to determine or influence your inherent, divine power.

No one outside of yourself can change you. No therapist, friend, significant other, or family member is responsible for your improvement. That lies within you. I know you wouldn't be here if you believed otherwise. But, it still needs to be said.

Dr. Wayne Dyer, in Happiness, is the Way, defines responsibility as "I have the ability to respond. I can respond with ability. It means taking responsibility for everything that goes on in your life..."

Ownership of your time starts with ownership of your reactions, thoughts, and emotions. Your identity doesn't lie there. You're not a victim to them. You have to be deliberate and choose what thoughts or emotions you tune into. It's almost like you have to see yourself as two people. One that represents your present and past self. Who likes routine, habits, and taking the least amount of effort. Then the other that is connected to your expansive future and is more disciplined and ok with long term gratification. You have to be willing to let the higher evolved version of yourself dictate the actions you take. It's hard at first, but with practice will become easier and easier.

Your personality often won't want the same things your soul wants. So it's your job to change that. To get your personality to want the same things as the soul. That starts with your systems and habits. They create a structure within which your personality starts to get into alignment with your soul.

I used to play victim in my life. Blaming others outside of me for what I was feeling and experiencing. It took some time to separate my sense of responsibility from those outside of me. But once I did, it sparked momentum in the way I worked, in how hard I worked, and in how much I cared for myself.

Taking back responsibility helps you transform your mindset to one that's open and flexible.

The ultimate control you have is within yourself first. Regardless of your external circumstance, you can always find joy within, and that's what I want to focus on. No one can take away that power from you regardless of your race, experience, nationality, circumstance. That's why it's crucial to cultivate and grow it. There's a lot that goes into our external circumstances but knows that we live in a loving Universe that wants to see you thrive. Every situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity to evolve into a higher state of self.

From here on out, make this solemn promise: "I will take full responsibility for the change I wish to see within myself. No one else can do that for me."

You're fixed and unchangeable. Another thing I've heard is, "Yeah, I just feel like this is just how I am and not much I can do about it." This kind of thinking won't serve you. Maybe some people believe this because they only look at what's immediately around them. Or they haven't developed the emotional habit to act differently. They stay within the five senses and can't see beyond their current circumstance. They accept disempowerment because of this belief. That is not you. You're an ever-changing, growing divine soul here to evolve.

Dr. Benjamin Hardy says in his book Personality Isn't Permanent, "two major obstacles that prevent people from predicting and creating their future personality. 1. We assume our present personality is a finished product 2. We overemphasize the importance of the past, which leads us to become increasingly narrow in how we view ourselves and the world."

Do you find yourself defining your future based on the past? Or thinking something is impossible or too difficult because that's not who you are?

Promise me you'll repeat this next sentence to yourself and adopt this mindset moving forward "I choose to show up in life, every day, whether I feel like it or not. I take action."

Thinking you have to find something you love first before getting to work. Someone once told me, "Maybe the key is to be doing something I love. I would be more focused if I was doing something I wanted to do."

This isn't their fault or yours for thinking this way. Many of us have been told to do work we're passionate about, which is correct. But there are two big pieces of advice missing. First: we usually love the work we do after we start putting in the work. Lasting passion comes after the unpleasant grind. Not before. Second: we need to question what we think we love. Here's why:

Dr. Benjamin Hardy says, "Just because you want something doesn't mean you should want it. Our desires do not come from our innate personality. Instead, our desires are trained, usually through experiences we've had, society, media, and those around us. Desires aren't innate. They are trained and fueled. They are clinged onto and identified with. Your desires shouldn't be mistaken as the "real" you. They are simply things you've attached meaning to, which you can also detach or change the meaning of."

Don't wait around in a life you dislike until you feel passionate about something. Don't be passive. Don't sideline your happiness until an imagined passion pops up. Too many people think they'll stumble upon work they love, and then they'll get to work. Stephen King says, "Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and get to work." Don't be an amateur.

That doesn't mean you need to quit your job and join a hippie commune. This isn't all or nothing. Start by letting yourself be curious. What seems fun to you? Attractive? Worthwhile? Give space for curiosity and for a desire to grow. Then keep working at it.

Science has shown that it's through getting to work and doing the small, unsexy things day in and day out that you eventually develop a passion for what you do.

If your dream were to become a lawyer. You see yourself doing work that matters and changing the world. But you're going to have to go to law school. Unsexy and not fun. But necessary to achieve that dream.

If your dream were to become a parent who also thrives in a fulfilling side hustle. You see yourself connecting with your kids and also showing them what it's like to create something from the ground up. But you're going to have days where the balance goes out of control. Where your kids act up, and you need to work late.

The idea here is even if you find something you love, the day to day won't be something you love. Embrace that now. Anything you love won't be happy and sunshine every day. Which is why you're learning about productivity so you can keep going on those days you don't want to.

Remember this quote from James Clear, "Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity."

Acting like an amateur instead of a pro. Resistance is real. Every single person you look up to who's created something that's inspired you resisted sitting down and working. But they're professionals because they got the work done. So what makes someone an amateur vs. a professional? Steven Pressfield, known for his book War of Art, talks about this ever-present struggle to get our butts in the seat. His books clearly outlines the difference between an amateur and a pro, and I'll list a few so you can get an idea.

An amateur:

Shows up when she feels like it.

Has big dreams but only commits to them in her mind (which is easy), not in her day-to-day actions (which is hard).

  • Makes excuses.
  • Complains about circumstances.
  • Treats fear as a DO NOT ENTER sign rather than a guiding light.
  • Waits for inspiration.
  • Creates overambitious and unrealistic timetables, gets overwhelmed with the intensity, hits a wall, then crashes.
  • Seeks cheap thrills in her work instead of slow-burn fulfillment and progress.
  • Takes failure (or success) personally.

The professional, however:

  • Shows up every day.
  • Stays on the job all day.
  • Accepts no excuses.
  • Knows the playing field is the only level in heaven.
  • Takes fear with them.
  • Takes action, trusting inspiration will show up.
  • Has their skin in the game. As Brené Brown says, she's in the arena as opposed to shouting from the sidelines.
  • Is patient—she understands the fulfilling concept of delayed gratification.
  • Doesn't take failure (or success) personally.

Steven Pressfield says, "The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself."

Decide if you want to stay an amateur or adopt the mindset of a professional. Amateurs won't like the idea of productivity. Professionals, however, will thrive by it.

James Clear says, "It doesn't matter what you are trying to become better at, if you only do the work when it's convenient or exciting, then you'll never be consistent enough to achieve remarkable results."

Promise me you'll repeat this sentence to yourself, "I choose to be a professional from this moment forward and do the work no matter how I feel."

Focusing on goals instead of systems. Goals are good for giving a direction. But systems are where the actual progress happens. Systems provide a solid foundation and show up for you day in and day out. Goals are flexible and changeable. As they should be.

James Clear says, "Goals create an 'either-or' conflict: either you achieve your goal and are successful or you fail, and you are a disappointment. You mentally box yourself into a narrow version of happiness...It is unlikely that your actual path through life will match the exact journey you had in mind when you set out. It makes no sense to restrict your satisfaction to one scenario when there are many paths to success."

Pretty simple. This next obstacle is a good one.

Overvaluing your current system. Michael Hyatt says, "We overvalue our current systems and resist change - even if that change will bring about immediate, life-altering benefits." The ego wants us to stay safe in the space of zero change. So you start to believe that the way you do things now is the best. We attach to it. We feel comfortable and don't want to change. This pattern shows up in other parts of life too. Maybe you don't want to move to a new apartment and save money because you overvalue the current place you're in.

You have a choice. Make it right here and now. To try a new and transformative productivity approach. Or continue doing the same old. Which means continuing to feel overwhelmed, burned out, and frustrated.

The choice is yours.

Alright, now that we've got those common obstacles out of the way your next lesson will be on the science behind good habits. This will especially be useful if you're a questioner like me and become more committed when you understand the WHY behind something. We'll talk about common misconceptions about habits, the difference between managing vs. owning your time, and how to start thinking in systems instead of goals. See you soon!

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Francesca Phillips