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Wise Future Self


I kept staring at my calendar, trying to convince myself I could do it…and everything else I had committed to.  Finally, after 3 days of feeling guilty for not being able to cross everything off the list everyday, I just told myself the truth: There was no way on earth the PowerPoint was going to be ready on time.

I kind of felt like a jerk. It was due — teetering on past due — and I was just sitting there staring at my laptop. S#it.  The more guilty and overwhelmed I felt, the more I seemed to be paralyzed to just get it done.  I found myself engaging in random acts of procrastination (like in the pic above), just to distract myself from the overwhelm.

I had a surprisingly surprising revelation: What if I just told the truth?

I decided to email the woman I owed the PowerPoint to and just say what’s so. It went something like this:

Hey Lady,
I’m realizing that I’ve overextended myself this week, and got behind on everything.  I’m learning the lesson to give myself much more space for projects from now on! May I submit a PowerPoint to you one day late?  I’d like to have one, but it’s still in the works.  Please let me know.  I understand you’re working with your own deadlines, and I appreciate you considering this.
Thank you!

:: exhale ::
It worked. She was totally fine with it, and I was able to get on with doing what needed to get done. I guess the truth really does set you free.

Struggling with a deadline? Don’t actually want to go on that coffee date? Just say what’s so.

How to have it feel good for everyone:
* Don’t blame anything outside of yourself. Your desires and your choices are leading here.
* Be gracious, and apologize for the potential impact on them. Don’t make it all about you.
* Don’t ramble. Just get to the point.
* Share what you’re learning and will implement going forward.
* Thank them for hearing you, and for their willingness to consider.
* State your clear intentions. Do you really plan to call them next month? Don’t create a new mess you’ll have to clean up later.
* Don’t be a robot. Being overly professional or polished in your language to a friend is just weird.
* Be professional when it’s called for. Business contacts don’t want to be spoken to like your BFF.
* Contact them before the meeting or deadline, because contacting them after sucks.

To do our work well, sometimes we need to move mountains and get the job done on time. To do our work well, sometimes we just need to say what’s so. Know the difference, and make it happen. Your freedom awaits.