Authentic Inspiration Zaps Procrastination

Authentic inspiration is to procrastination what sunlight is to darkness.
Procrastination or any form of resistance just can’t coexist in the presence of authentic inspiration.

I’m going to go against the grain here and take a stand for inspiration.  Especially since Seth Godin came out with his excellent book, Linchpin, I’ve seen an awful lot written about battling resistance.  His marketing advice is topnotch and it always stretches my noodle.  But I think he’s missed the mark on resistance.

But Seth isn’t the only one.  Many authors and self-help gurus recommend taking a stand against resistance.  They say that you don’t have to feel good in order to create, follow-through and complete.  Seth goes so far as to recommend ignoring your feelings.

You’re familiar with this Nike-like philosophy of just sucking it up and doing it.   Use willpower and discipline they say.  Face the fear and do it anyway.  I used to spout this same rubbish until I stumbled on a better way.

More on that soon but first a confession; I’m a big tough guy and a talented, experienced coach but I’ve lost more battles with resistance than I’ve won.

Resistance is by definition self-sabotage. Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize.  Steven Pressfield

Resistance can also show up as distraction, obsession and avoidance.  Really any made up excuse or rationalization that keeps you from doing what you want to do, is resistance.

“Just Do It!” makes sense but why is it so damn hard to just do it? I understood that I get more done by diving right in but I more often run than dive.  Resistance is a sneaky bastard.  Sometimes you can trick it and sometimes not.

Sometimes accountability works and sometimes not.  Sometimes a sacred and honorable pledge will work and sometimes not. Sometimes looking at your deepest motivation  (why) for creating what you’re creating will work and sometimes not.

Have you had similar struggles with Resistance? Have you tried but found the “just do it” advice lacking?

I think that Seth and the boys assume that since willpower works for them it will work for everyone just as well.  Apparently not.

Self-control is an exhaustible resource.  Chip & Dan Heath from their book, Switch: How To Change When Change Is Hard.

Self-control is willpower, discipline, sucking it up and just doing it.  And we can run out of self-control.  I think traditional productivity experts have forgotten all about this oldie but goodie.

What we resist persists.  Perhaps resistance is so powerful because we keep fighting it. Ignoring feelings is resistance.  Sucking it up is resistance.  Standing up to resistance is resistance.

How about we try something that we can’t run out of?

Inspiration is inexhaustible as long as it’s authentic.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to work around resistance.  You don’t have to stand up to resistance.  You don’t have to suck it up and just do it.

Instead how about tapping into your naturally occurring flow of authentic aliveness?

How about working on something that naturally inspires you to feel really good?

I wonder what that might be?  Here’s a hint.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  Howard Thurman

So my friend, what brings you alive with natural enthusiasm?  What brings joy to your heart and puts a spring in your step?  What work calls you?

One of my biggest challenges as a true calling coach is helping clients to see how they can transition into a true calling inspired business without putting everything at risk.

One of my biggest personal challenges used to be completing what I started.

So I’ve been experimenting with ways to serve my calling while at the same time finding a solution to my completion struggles.  I’m very excited to tell you that I’ve found the solution to both.

Today I’ve launched that solution in the form of a creation/completion product that you can use to Create Your Inspired Info Product In 5 Days. Purchase on or before Friday March 19, and save 50% off.

The easiest way to start a true calling inspired business is to create and sell an authentic product.   This guide inspires you every step of the way, as you complete not by sucking it up but by riding a wave of authentic aliveness.

Life doesn’t have to be one big struggle after another.  We were first built for joy.
I’ll close with a powerful video where Pamela Bruner takes us through a delightful EFT tapping session that uses fun instead of willpower to make challenging tasks easier.   This video is wonderful for creating a state of inspiration.

Get your copy of Create Your Inspired Info Product In 5 Days.


  1. Tom,
    Zapping procrastination by following an authentic heart-felt inspiration does work! I think I may have experienced that a time or two. Now, I want more! Kinda reminds me of Michael Neill’s observation, “if you’re doing things in order to be happy, you’re doing them in the wrong order”.
    Engaging in an inspiring activity (true calling) likely will yield bigger, better and faster results. I’m feeling it as I write this. The Pamela Bruner tapping experience made me chuckle and it worked!
    I also want to congratulate you for the launch of your 5-day program. The sales page looks awesome. Nice job!

  2. Tom, the resistance portion is so wow, exactly what I needed to read again even after hearing this today on the teleconference 😉 so thank you!

    this paragraph is being noted to read again and again.. until I really stop falling for it.. I want to be able to call it out

    calling it out:
    Resistance can also show up as distraction, obsession
    and avoidance. Really any made up excuse or rationalization that keeps you from doing what you want to do, is resistance.
    What we resist persists.

    I do all of these 3 .. distraction in tasks, obsession in thoughts and avoidance in both. lol.. 😉 I never thought that I simply need to fall in love more with what I naturally adore and let it flow .. I need to let myself have more fun and lighten up and that is what I am learning to do.

    I also love this quote and focal point for where I am at. To look within myself is to love myself and value myself. I am here right now,.. learning what this means.. In valuing one, we value all. I am learning to see the world completely, clearing and only “through the eyes of love”… and my whole world is changing.

    I do “know joy” and am learning what that means for me now in the areas that want to flourish.

    thank you again for all of your help on these topics.
    I appreciate it very much!
    .-= Jenn´s last blog ..Seated Next to My Joy: A New Position =-.

  3. Hi Tom,

    What I like about what you did is you took something others are saying is “true” (as they see it) and questioning if indeed, it is. Many times, it’s isn’t.

    I also love the quote:

    Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. Howard Thurman

    Oh how different the world would be if more people “came alive” with that which inspires them.

    Kind of like you and your new project. I wish you all with best and much success with it. 🙂
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..My New Baby – The Unveiling – Enter The Drawing And Win =-.

  4. Tom, I loved this post, thank you, and that’s exactly what I was thinking reading some recent posts on Seth Godin’s blog (I also think he is brilliant), but fighting resistance often doesn’t work. And it’s so much easier and more enjoyable to tap into our natural source of inspiration and creativity. Happiness is a process after all, not a destination.

    P.S. True Calling business coaching – so awesome! Glad I found your blog:)

  5. John – It’s always a pleasure to read your comments. Yes when we are in the midst of true calling we have already reached a beautifully inspiring state of living. Joy is really not that big a stretch. It’s really curious that more folks don’t just try it.

    Jen – Coming at life form the joy side of things will definitely work so much better for a heart centered person like you. I love your realizations. Indeed you are in the midst of awakening to more beautiful joy-filled living. That’s because you take the time to think, feel and really process new concepts. I find it very inspiring – never change that about yourself.

    Barbara – Thanks, may both of our new babies sell well and help many. Yes the aliveness quote always fires me up. 🙂

    Lana – Welcome. Yes it just goes to show you that necessity is the mother of invention. If willpower had worked for me all the time, I’d be using it. But obviously you and I are cut of a different cloth. We aren’t afraid to open our hearts and feel the good.

  6. Tom – this exact point is – to me – THE reason to be self-employed. If I were still working a job somewhere, I’d be told what to do (and when, and likely how) and about the only method to get it done I’d have at my disposal would be the Nike method (a.k.a. just suck it up and do it). So, for that circumstance, I agree with Seth, et al. I got an awful lot of stuff done in my corporate career that I didn’t feel particularly inspired about.

    However, more than once, I was given the opportunity to create systems and programs that solved the problems I saw with “the way they always did it” – and that rocked! But, I was wound up and turned loose on it – not tethered to someone else’s schedule, specs or expectations.

    Maybe I was in Corporate America too long – I don’t know – but the suck it up method is still how I get things done that I don’t want to do in the first place. And, unfortunately, until I’m rich and famous, there are still some items on my to-do list that qualify.

    However, I’ve also experienced product creation using inspiration, authentic expression and clarity of purpose – and it’s a LOT more fun that way! (And the products have turned out better, too. Surprised? No, probably not.)
    .-= Suzanne Bird-Harris´s last blog ..8 New Background Colors! =-.

  7. Suzanne – Yes there is a whole lot of sucking it up, kissing ass and buckling down going on in corporate America. Just doing it almost becomes a necessity in that environment. But you are free now and I know that more and more you are freeing yourself form work that you’d rather not do.

    As you’ll soon find out when you engage Create Your Own Inspired Info Product In Five Days, inspiration can be ordered up and applied to our tasks., it’s a cleaner burning fuel and we don’t run out of it like we do when using willpower.

    Of course ‘m not surprised. Fun is synonymous with creativity.

  8. Hi Tom, I love this approach to ‘resistance’.

    Normally I say things like: I agree that what you resist persists with one proviso – that it is ourselves we are resisting. Resisting others’ demands and injustice can be commendable.

    I love your much more positive way of putting it.
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Our forebears and heroes and what we owe them =-.

  9. Hi Tom.

    Wow! Powerful and AMEN, brother! I don’t know if temperaments (you know — the basic four?) have anything to do with it or not. Perhaps. Or perhaps that’s just an excuse.

    But I related to every word on this post! As I read, I sat up taller and taller. The pinnacle for me was the Therman quote:

    Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. Howard Thurman

    Yes! So often though, just what that is that enlivens us, is fuzzy. Or we think because we love doing something, that it’s play. Or maybe we were raised to think that our particular passion would not be a valid career choice, but a hobby, something to fill our time with once the kids are gone kind of thing.

    We all have such baggage to empty. Even if the baggage itself was handed to us with good intentions. It’s still heavy and unnecessary and detrimental. (Hence the need for good coaches.) 🙂

    Now I’ll go have a look at what you’ve come up with… and I’ll watch the EFT video. (My husband is a proponent of EFT.)

    .-= Barb Hartsook´s last blog ..We Live Where Our Focus Is =-.

  10. Tom,

    I’m an artist so the whole concept of being authentically inspired is something I am very in tune with. However, in art school and now on the job I don’t always have the luxury of finding inspiration. I quite literally just have to do it and the big surprise to me is how often what I do is better than I would expect given the fact that I don’t really feel inspired.

    I don’t know enough about neuroscience or psychology to know, but there is an ability to shut everything off and just act in accordance with what’s needed. The concept is not instructive though in so far as I feel it is more a state of mind or consciousness that preferences action over thought. Just do it might as well be a corollary of the Taoist to be without being.

    What resists DOES persist, but it is not about resisting or thinking just being and doing. I know the advice is more meditative than concretely helpful so it’s a double edged sword.

    I’m really glad you got into all of this!

    .-= Jay Zuckerman´s last blog ..Ralph the Homesick Martian =-.

  11. Evan – Thanks man. I like this way better to. Understanding all the factors that resistance runs from is a very empowering approach. Creating this way rocks!

    Barb – Glad we got your rocking. 🙂 I have experienced a complete vanishing of resistance and it’s the combination of the three factors that does it. We can bypass the baggage when we reconnect to our original authentic aliveness. Baggage is based on erroneous assumptions and illusions. It feels real but it isn’t.

    Jay – Welcome! You’ve proven my adage that any movement works. Sure it’s still you doing it so no matter how we get started if we follow-through we are going to create some great art. Trouble is an awful lot of self-employed folks who don’t have to buckle down to create, won’t unless they feel good. But I’d be willing to bet that you could re-frame your work to feel good about it before you start, choice or not. Let me know how applying these concepts works for you.

  12. Chris Edgar says:

    I like that way of putting it, Tom — that “Just Do It” is really a form of resistance to the sensation you’re feeling right now, whether that’s sluggishness, tension, or something else. It’s possible, I think, to keep breathing and relax and allow the tension to pass away on its own, instead of fighting it by scolding ourselves for being so lazy.

  13. Chris – Breathing, feeling the feeling and allowing it to pass through is an excellent practice. I like to envision tough emotions as nothing more than storm clouds, rapidly approaching and then moving on. You’re correct, it’s always the fight that gets us in trouble and feeds the resistance.

  14. A delightful website and very appropriately named – interesting article and well put, thank you
    .-= Russell Bowyer´s last blog ..How to turn your prospects into paying customers =-.

  15. Well put.

    The secret I learned is that motivation can come from our thoughts, feelings, or body. When my body trained, it wants to run. Sometimes I feel like running. Sometimes my mind thinks running is a good idea, but gets no support from my emotions or body 🙂

    Take a look at my figure in chapter 13 at I think you will like the juxtaposition/blend of perspectives that are usually treated as piecemeal.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..Cheat Sheet – Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection Pattern =-.

  16. Russell – Welcome and thanks. I’m glad you like it.

    J.D. – Yes you are right. Motivation can come from all of those. And it can be generated on demand. I did check out that chapter of your book. It’s quite thorough and enlightening. Good stuff, I agree that we should not wait for motivation. What works is to inspire it.

  17. Tom…SO good to be back I have been out of the blogging world for a couple of weeks so happy to “see” you again.

    I kept thinking as I read your article that it IS all about that authentic aliveness. I feel like I am living proof. Once I hit my stride with who I am and how my work is an expression of who I am….I have not procrastinated a single day.

    More the issue is that there are SO MANY amazing things I get to do. I feel grateful that this is my calling and that I was able to listen to it and take the big risk for my family and go for it.

    So for me gratitude and celebration is what motivates me to focus.

    Also, I do tapping with my clients…except as you would guess….I have my clients laugh and tap and they LOVE it…huge results…bypassing the language and getting right into that RIGHT brain and playing.

    Best to you rockin’ Tom

  18. Katie – Yes authentic aliveness is the source of inspiration and you keep it alive quite well by using celebration and gratitude. You are spot on. It’s an honor to know you as one who is willing to stand up and speak up for what you know is true for you.

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