Most people I know have a curious relationship with marketing their products or services. One the one hand, they know they need to market. On the other, there’s this inner desire for people to just “discover” them and flock unbidden to their website. I think that this dual mindset is one of the reasons why people get stymied when trying to implement a marketing plan. However, when you break through that resistance, it’s very likely that you’ll wonder why you turned something so simple into something so frightening or difficult.
My wife, who works with people on overcoming these issues, says there are lots of reasons that we unconsciously sabotage ourselves, sometimes having to do with messages that were passed on from our parents. For example, some men receive unconscious messages not to outdo their fathers; some women are given unconscious messages that business success will make them less attractive to men and therefore unlovable.
It doesn’t matter what the message is, only that something is holding you back. The quickest way around them involves what I call “brain geography.” These messages are held in certain parts of your brain, and if you can move your thinking into another part of your brain’s geography, you’ll stop resisting the task at hand.
I’m about to show you several techniques that will help you do that.
Remember What Success Felt Like
This is a technique Marian taught me. It’s very simple, but it works like a charm. When you notice that you are stuck and resisting what you should do, stop whatever it is you’re doing—reading Facebook, playing Words with Friends, answering e-mail, or whatever you do when you’re procrastinating—and close your eyes.
Take a second to remember one of your bigger accomplishments in the past. See that result in your mind’s eye. Then begin to recall how that accomplishment made you feel. Did it make you proud? Did you feel powerful? Was there a sense of joy, or peace or a simple sense that you brought something worthwhile to the world? Did it feel good?
Of course it did. Now imagine doing the task at hand and feeling that good again when you finish it.
When you open your eyes, take that feeling with you and start working on whatever you were avoiding. It will feel much easier.
I’m increasingly becoming a believer in the power that breathing techniques can play during times of stress or conflict. The old adage “Take a deep breath and count to ten before you say anything” really is good advice. (Although I’ll admit I don’t always follow it.)
Breathing can also be a very effective tool for breaking through procrastination and resistance. The most calming portion of focused breathing is the pause between breathing in and breathing out. This next technique emphasizes that:
- Breathe in, preferably through your nose, for four counts.
- Hold your breath in for four counts. (You don’t have to make a dramatic movement or sound to hold your breath. Just don’t breathe out.)
- Breathe out for four counts.
- Hold your breath out, by not breathing in, for four counts.
Repeat this five to ten times.
Whenever I do this I almost immediately feel calmer and more focused. Whenever I find myself procrastinating, this technique gets me back on track.
Create a Plan
The best way to overcome procrastination is to have a system to follow. I don’t know about you, but when I have a plan, when I know what the next steps are, then I’m much more likely to start and stay the course.
Here are five steps to creating an online marketing process:
- Choose a niche market to focus on.
- Create a compelling free online offer that will motivate prospects to request it.
- Develop a simple one-page website that promotes your free offer and grabs names for your email list.
- Write five to seven drip marketing messages that will automatically be delivered to your prospects after they’ve requested your free offer.
- Drive traffic to your website by running ads on Google, Bing, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Ultimately it all comes down to implementation. Unfortunately, we are often our own worse enemy and procrastination is the single biggest culprit. I’m always interested in what others do to help themselves get over these inevitable periods, so if you’ve got something that works I hope you’ll get in touch and share it with me.
Mark Satterfield is the founder and CEO of Gentle Rain Marketing, Inc and author of THE ONE WEEK MARKETING PLAN (BenBella Books; August 2014). He specializes in working with consultants, advisers, and small businesses on how to get consistent streams of new business. Since 1992, he has helped clients in financial services, insurance, health care, consulting, real estate, advertising, training, recruiting, and more than 75 niche industries grow their businesses without cold calling or hard selling. Visit www.gentlerainmarketing.com