My dad says to me, “you do a lot of talking”, as I forget to send him some important documents for the umpteenth time.
One big lesson I’ve learned in the past couple of years is the power of consistency and with much introspection I have realized that I’m the biggest flake on the planet. Not just with plans that I’ve hesitantly said yes to, but in just about every area of my life. I’m a dreamer and I’ve spent much of my time creating fabulous realities in my head and never putting any of them in fruition. Why? Because I have a very distant relationship with this important thing called following through.
Person I just met and really hit it off with: “Hey here’s my number we should hang out sometime”
Me to myself: I have this great idea! I’m going to put my all into it and I knock it out as soon as possible.
Me: Spends an entire day writing and doesn’t revisit the piece for another 3 months
Friend: Hey can you do (random favor) by next week?
These few examples of how undependable I’ve been in the past aren’t rare occurrences, but rather the manner in which I function in my day to day. It’s become what I’m known for. It’s gotten to the point where conversations of plans are always followed by “Tral, you better not flake on me”. I can hear the reluctance in my friends’ voices as they ask me favors knowing that even if I do say yes, it could be a hit or miss. Sometimes I blame it on anxiety, sometimes I blame my life long habit of procrastination – a direct product of my desire for instant gratification, and other times I’ve blatantly found something else I’d rather do (which is usually napping).
Why Following Through Matters in Relationships
I jokingly have a rule with my friends that if we haven’t communicated the date of the event, it’s most likely that I won’t be showing up… even if I’m the one that’s been the most excited during the days leading up. And that’s the problem. No one wants to constantly coerce a grown woman into following through on something that she has “penciled” into her Google calendar. Who wants to feel like they’re disposable? No one obviously, but that’s exactly the type of energy you give off when you repeatedly cancel plans or don’t keep your word with someone you claim to be an important person in your life. All relationships are built upon trust and it’s hard to trust someone who isn’t consistent with you. And while your friends and family may forgive you for the occasional flake, people you’re collaborating in business with will most most likely not be as accommodating. It’s important to nurture business relationships and not following through on things is an easy way to lose connections in your industry. Even small things like saying “I’ll give you a call in a few days to check on everything” and ACTUALLY doing it could open up doors you never knew were there.
Why Following Through Matters to Your Success
Speaking of business, when it comes to freelancing and entrepreneurship I am definitely learning that self motivation is the only way you’ll find any type of success. It’s one thing to be a flake to others, but being a flake to yourself is the ultimate way to find yourself marinating in a stew of regrets. We are the captains of our own lives and we have the ability to steer them in any direction we choose. Ideas are so easy to come by, but it’s the work you put into them that will give them some sort of value. I can’t tell you how many opportunities I’ve missed out on solely because my laziness crept in and I simply didn’t do the work.
Since realizing this awful habit of mine I’ve been trying to find ways to remind myself that if I make a decision to do something, I MUST find a way to get it done. Post It notes with “Just do it!” written on them posted around my apartment helps a little, but what really does it is picturing how my life will look 20 years from now if I don’t kick this habit and gain some focus. I can see broken friendships and abandoned goals… and I can’t go out like that.