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Finish line freak out

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

I work best first thing in the morning. Which is why I typically wake up & go to a coffee shop and start work right away. Not yesterday. Yesterday, I did everything I possibly could do NOT open my laptop. Just thinking about reaching to grab my laptop to begin work made my whole body vibrate in a very VERY unpleasant way. I couldn't work. It was the last full work day before I needed to send out my first set of newsletters, have chapter one of my manuscript ready to send to patrons as well as a few other time sensitive things I needed to take care of.

You also have to understand. I've been REALLY looking forward to this deadline for weeks. This launch has been the most exciting and fulfilling thing I've done in a while. Yet when the day came to put the finishing touches on everything, I freaked the "F" out a little. I normally LOVE pressure. I thrive under pressure and often wilt without it after a time. So this was a strange reaction for me. Strange as it was, I did the best thing I know to do when my body and mind start to freak out like this, which is just observe what's happening without judgment; or as little judgment as I can manage in the moment.

As I did I noticed a few things. I obviously noticed that my body was VERY uncomfortable right away. But I couldn't describe the discomfort well. I also eventually noticed, like 4 hours later, that all the things I was doing to distract myself instead of "working" were cleaning, running errands, and generally knocking things off my list that I had been procrastinating on for a while. Which is pretty cool side effect of the horror I was feeling all day... not bad. Then I remembered to think about the cause of the emotion and not the emotion itself I remembered how much work I had already done to get ready for the launch.

Odd for me, I had prepped and prepped in excitement for my deadline. I had edited everything from beginning to end multiple times and had reached a place where I was just changing silly stuff back and forth, not really adding to the quality of anything. When I thought about what made this day so different, I realized I didn't procrastinate! I hadn't realized that that is a completely new experience for me! lol! For the first time in a very long time I had a deadline that I didnt procrastinate like at ALL on. In fact I was so excited about it all; I did as much as I possibly could ahead of time. Which is totally novel for me. I didn't procrastinate so all the work was done and that's exactly why I had all those crazy feelings! All kinds of neurochemical motivation pushing me to do things I had already done!

My body was doing its completely usual thing... deadline = freak out. The biological expectation of my body during any deadline (apparently) is to freak the "F" out. Because, in the past I have typically used that deadline stress dump to do weeks of work in a few short hours. The Chemistry my body produced was exactly the chemistry it had been trained to expect. It gave me all the stress hormones I normally use as motivation. But since i already had my own motivation it just left me with the stress! HA!

I talked with a friend who said to me its kind of like there is two of you a boss and employee. the Boss is telling the employee "Tomorrow is the deadline you better make sure everything is perfect." Meanwhile the employee is actually a great worker and has already done all of the work. So to satisfy the Bosses ego My inner employee basically wanted pretend to do something so the boss will be satisfied. Like the literal definition of "just look busy." Which is something I absolutely despise, probably left over from my military career. That explains the huge feelings I had early in the day about the situation.

That's basically the story of how I FREAKED out at the finish line. This was a MONTHLY recurring finish line too. Not even a big one. But it was big enough. Big enough for my body to freak out, confuse me and make me wonder if I was giving up or if I didn't care anymore or wonder what else in the world could be wrong with me. All because I didn't procrastinate! All because I did something RIGHT!

It can be hard to change habits. Sometimes like yesterday, They're tricky little buggers. Sometimes the ways we used to do things rub up against our newer healthier more fragile habits. Its not fair. Its totally stupid. I know. But Don't give up. Don't lose hope. Some days are better than others. Sometimes you'll have to trust your own process whether or not you understand it. I hope that when you do you remember it. You may be crazy sometimes but you're still smarter than you think

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Tammy Bergstrom
Tammy Bergstrom
Sep 21, 2021

First off, mad props for being able to identify what that feeling was and where it was coming from. Sitting with your own energy offers so many clues... its like our brains and bodies are just waiting to tell us something... to give us the reason for why it is in the state it is in. If only we can listen. And how well you listened!

Its amazing how our mental/emotional/physical body has such a somatic memory of the past. "Ok, before when this happened, we reacted like this, so now that you are having this same thing happen (deadline) we are going to do what we know how to do and react as we have always done." It's like…

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