In his book The Now Habit, Neil Fiore outlines the six-step process below for facing fears and creating safety. His book also contains a very good explanation of the link between perfectionism and procrastination. For these two sections alone, I highly recommend his book.
Meanwhile, when you find yourself worrying about failing on a project or losing a job, ask yourself:
1. What is the worst that could happen?
Choose the most dreaded scenario and how likely it is to happen. What would you do if it did?
2. What would I do if the worst really happened?
Where would you get help? What would you do to cope with getting upset and losing control? Then what? After that? And then what? Question yourself until you know there is no event so bad that it can stop you.
3. How would I lessen the pain and get on with as much happiness as possible if the worse did occur?
If the worst happens, focus on shortening the depression and self-criticism by forgiving yourself for being human, vulnerable and imperfect? How would you get back on track with improving your life regardless of how bad things get? What strengths have got you through in the past? What can you learn from your past achievements about coping with adversity?
4. What alternatives would I have?
Consider if you have limited your options by being too rigid. How can you increase your alternatives? There are many ways to be happy and successful.
5. What can I do now to lessen the probability of this dreaded event occurring?
What have you been putting off that once you face, will lessen the worry, make you feel safe and get you into action? Once you have considered the worst that could happen and prepared yourself to cope with that, you are ready to tackle the tasks that are likely to increase your chance of success.
6. Is there anything I can do now to increase my chances of achieving my goal?
Now you have considered the worst-case scenario, made plans for how to deal with it if it happens, and discovered you have alternatives, you can ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do now to increase my chances of achieving my goal?”
According to Neil Fiore, true confidence comes from knowing that, having prepared for the worst you can focus on the work that will lead to the best.
How do you overcome blocks to action?