When the individual I was working with mentioned that he should have done his work last week in order to have gotten a head start on it, I asked him if we could shift our perspective. One thought is judgmental and negative about what we should’ve done differently. Since he does consistently procrastinate, he is always feeling as though he is letting himself down. But I told him that he always manages to get the job done, and that he always comes through.
So, from my perspective, he’s the guy who may not hit the ball once in practice -- but when it’s game time, he shows up and hits it out of the park every time. If we can rely on the fact that he will procrastinate and struggle with finding a way to get a head start on any future project, we just accept that one of his unique abilities is to always come through in the end, despite struggles with procrastination. Then we can release that need for him to be different and, instead, we can simply celebrate the way he is now. It’s his process, and it ultimately works -- so let’s embrace it.
I think there is an important distinction between beating himself up for never before getting a jump on projects until he’s under distinct pressure to produce a final deliverable product, and just embracing his process that always yields positive results once all is said and done. It goes a long way to help shift our perspective to a more gracious and apt take on how wonderful we are -- just exactly the way we are now.