Ep009: Procrastination vs Energy

Join Dean & Dan as they talk about the impact of energy on procrastination and continue to describe the Procrastination Priority Scorecard.




Transcript: The Joy of Procrastination Ep009

Dean: Mr. Sullivan.

Dan: Good morning!

Dean: Good morning, and Happy New Year.

Dan: Happy New Year to you, and I hope you were procrastinating to your full extent during the holiday season.

Dean: My goal was to take it to new heights.

Dan: I've been taking it to new heights. We just completed our second quarter, so roughly 550 to 600 really top-notch entrepreneurs and put them through the Procrastination Priority process, thinking process, for a second time and introduced the whole notion of approval and results, which came out of our conversation. I'm fighting a cold here, so I'm just going to-

Dean: I am, too.

Dan: Yeah. It's double-duty when your thinking abilities really don't operate as well when you have a head cold.

Dean: That's the truth.

Dan: Your body uses up a lot of energy and takes it away from cogent thinking.

Dean: I agree with you. I've been fighting it since the week right after the new year. It came right into the new year, and now I've been battling off and on this cold here, but you're absolutely right. It's so much of your ability to actually turn procrastination into productivity depends on having energy because I think that energy is what fuels that ability to bump up into that awareness level, that we're able to be aware of it. Procrastination in all its trickiness loves to operate below the surface, at that low energy level where it just fuels inertia.

Dan: Yeah. That brings in all sorts of other issues, like physical health and nutrition. One of my big things is to always have a future that's bigger than your past. In other words, what you're imagining coming up is quite a bit more exciting and quite a bit more rewarding than everything that you've been through up until now. That's been my number one rule, probably for 25 or 30 years. As long as what you're looking forward to is significantly bigger and better than everything you've achieved up until now, then you always have a lot of internal energy, internally generated energy to get on with things.

Dean: Any breakthrough observations for you? It's been probably a month since we spoke.

Dan: Yeah, probably it would be around just past the middle of December when we talked last. Certainly, my own awareness of it, which is almost constant now and just kind of observing when I procrastinate and why I procrastinate but taking the negative judgement off of it. I'm watching myself like a lab animal.

Dean: That's exactly right. It's so funny that you said, "taking the judgement off of it," because I want to be completely transparent and be like, we're talking about this. I do find it absolutely fascinating to observe myself. It's so funny, and there has been some pretty cool breakthroughs that come from that. I think getting together and sharing it and talking about it really even amplifies the benefit of it.

Dan: Certainly, the consciousness and the awareness. A number of times, probably not so much near the end before we closed down for Christmas but coming back from New Year's. We close the whole company down for two complete weeks because not much action happening anyway. We encourage all the entrepreneurs in Strategic Coach to do likewise, just to turn it off and spend time with their families, do what they want to do, and then treat the middle of the first week back ... I think it's the 3rd was our first day back because the second was actually the day off because the holiday was on a Sunday so Monday is the day off, so we came back on the 3rd.

Dean: I was wondering. You close down the week before Christmas and then the week between Christmas and New Year's, right?

Dan: Yeah. It varies a little bit, according to how it falls in the year.

Dean: Right, I got you.

Dan: You get different kinds of breaks because it's always moving to a different day every year, both Christmas and New Year's. The thing that I noticed is that I really did relax. I spent half of it in Toronto and half of it in London, England and went to London for New Year's and indulged in London excess: late hours, lots of booze, and more food than I usually eat.

Coming back and probably having to work some things off when I got back, but there were projects that were interrupted by the shut-down, not that they had an immediate deadline but I had gotten them started, had good momentum, came back and ... When you've got a real head of steam for something and a clear purpose but then you take a couple weeks off, what happens is that you've lost the original context. In other words, there was a real clear purpose and a real clear motivation before you started, but that's got an expiry date on it. If you interrupt it or stop doing it, then when you come back, you don't have the same pickup on it as you did before. The momentum is kind of gone. Have you ever noticed that?

Dean: I have, absolutely. I even find that any time that you get side ... Like I got derailed by this cold, flu situation. Even that takes your momentum away.

Dan: Yeah. It takes your confidence away, too, because so much of our confidence is based that we'll have sufficient energy to take on something that's new, something that's different. That requires a lot of energy. I came back. I've always got a lot of projects going that have deadlines on them because they're front-stage presentations of one kind or another, including my quarterly book. I was just observing myself, how I was approaching things when I got back. I think the first afternoon on the 3rd, I'm back, and I know what I'm supposed to do. I know where I left off, but I'm sitting there, and I'm not doing anything. I said, "Dan, you're procrastinating on this."

It's just interesting not to have the judgement. "You're failing. What you're doing is disappointing. There you go again. You've lost your discipline." I mean a whole series of little judgements which I've had since childhood. I said, "No, I'm just procrastinating. I haven't gotten back in touch with the "why" of the project. I have to create a new "why" for the project because the pre-Christmas one won't do anymore. I've got to come up with a new one."

Dean: That's interesting. I find that, too. I know it when I'm procrastinating, with a renewed awareness because now we've been talking about it so much, so I often think about it. I have particularly over the last few weeks, as I've been in and out of the right energy ... because of being sick I would latch onto that as an excuse to continue the procrastination. I did find that it never fails that the reason I am procrastinating is almost always because of a lack of clarity on what that next step is, that it's too broad. I went through that procrastination, and then the moment that I sat down and brainstormed the thing, within 15 minutes I had absolute clarity. It was completely lucid and organized.

It's really interesting when we look at things in the totality of it. We're procrastinating the whole thing, not the component parts of it. It was really funny. I started to see how I've just been playing around with this idea of what I actually do. I've mentioned before the power positions thing that I have with you, looking at working. I'm either at my computer, and you can either be ... That's a position from which I can endlessly procrastinate as well, but you're in that position. You're in the same position and could just as easily be working on the thing that you're procrastinating. It was an interesting observation of me to say, "Well, I don't have the energy to do this," but meanwhile I'm at the computer doing something that on the surface actually physically takes just as much energy as what it would take to do the thing that I was procrastinating.

Dan: Yeah. I think that you're hitting on a big total point. It's probably a freakout factor, just generally for humans, is that we're given big images in the media. We're given big images in the movies. We have also examples of super achievers continually packaged and delivered to us. What I think is that they seem kind of overwhelming, all these pictures. There's a lot of messages like, "Go big or go home." That's very, very common in the entrepreneurial movements, especially in the venture capital. "Go big. You're thinking too small." My feeling is that almost all progress that's meaningful progress is actually small progress. You've used the term before, chunking down into just the specific action within a specific time. "I can't take on this big project, but in the next two hours, I can get this done, and it's doable. It's measurable, and it's doable."

I think there's a lot of big forces, just messages, for whatever reason. I don't know what the motivation is of people creating these messages, but the other thing is, "to save the world." You know, everybody is responsible for saving the world. That's just paralyzing. That's just debilitating. You haven't made your bed that morning, and you're supposed to save the world.

Dean: Right. Exactly, and the people who are posting those memes are laying in their bed, with their laptop posting and eating Cheetos.

Dan: Yeah. I think there's a lot of just easy use of big images today that are really unachievable. They're very, very unachievable things. You're pointed out the performance of great entertainers or great sports stars or something. You're just seeing the final result of maybe 25 years of very, very small jumps in progress on the part of that individual. You're supposed to emulate their final performance. You can't emulate their final performance. All you could emulate was the first steps that they took.

Dean: I think that's under-reported or under-observed that the reality is, world-class performance over any extended period of time is really about mustering up the two or three or four hours at the max everyday over an extended period of time. It's never about this Herculean effort all at once over a sprint. I don't think that is that sustainable, and it's really vast, creating an emotional sense of being able to self-punish yourself for the procrastination by sentencing yourself to this working harder, to feel penance or something for it. I don't know.

Dan: Yeah. You can see that we live in an environment where we're continually being asked to compare ourselves with achievements and performance and results that are way beyond us and then to make some sort of judgement about ourselves. Maybe the reason is, you can't perform like this person, but you can actually buy their sportswear. You can buy their shoes. You can buy their sports outfit and everything else. Maybe that's the closest that you're ever going to come with it. It's probably got a commercial intent. Just to go back, and the last time we were going down the mindsets on the-

Dean: I was just going to say that, yeah.

Dan: We had completed #3, and #4 is Challenge to Grow, that when we procrastinate one of my contentions is that we have visualized a bigger and better result in the future. What's coming back to us about that bigger and better result is that our existing confidence and our existing capabilities are not equal to that future result, so we're sensing a deficiency in our present situation. That sense of deficiency of ability is actually paralyzing us a little bit.

The other thing that you pointed out is the difference in time zones. The bigger and better result is being visualized in what you called the timeless zone, but the moment that you come back to the present, then you're on a ticking clock. There's going to be a time probably in 25 years, where if you say that to a young person, the ticking clock, they aren't going to know what you're talking about. People don't have clocks the way we used to, and they don't typically. You're back there, and the moment that you're back in the present with this future vision of something you would really like, you're already kind of emotionally committed to it, you're immediately experiencing a deficiency of time because almost all your time ahead is already accounted for in one way or another. There's going to have to be shifts of time.

Dean: Yes. I agree. That's exactly what happens. I often find that when I mentioned looking at something. Especially if it's a larger project, we look at it, and we feel especially in the depth of procrastination that there's this sense of heaviness around it, that there's this big thing that we're carrying around, but when we really look at it ... I do love to play around with the granularity of time. When you bring it right down to this moment, that you really get the sense that, "Okay. What's really going to happen here in the next something less than 16 hours because that's really the waking day that I have here, so if I'm having this conversation at noon, what we're really talking about is what's really going to happen in the next 10 or 11 hours here."

There's never a time where spending 15 or 20 minutes in brainstorming about it or just journaling about it is going to give you that absolute clarity around it. That alone eases the burden. I think that raises the energy. It turns it away from being so heavily negative, turns it into being sort of anticipating a brighter action-oriented future. The realization from mentally time-shifting like that, is that you don't have to take on the whole burden today.

Dan: Yeah. I've got two questions. You used the word granularity. What does that mean in terms of how you're looking at time? Grains of it, you're looking at something very small. I think the word granularity and grain, like grains of sand come together. Is that what you're referring to, taking it from looking at things in-

Dean: Yeah, absolutely. I look at it-

Dan: Looking at things in a macro sense and bringing it down to a micro sense, is that what you're doing there?

Dean: Yeah. I think you can change your perspective on something just by zooming in or zooming out on the way that you look at it. You've really introduced me to some of the concepts of the bigger picture time things. We've had conversations about going back to Euclid and the founding fathers and Shakespeare and all these things that have had hundreds of years impact. Then you look at the 25 year time frame that you have introduced to me, too. That gives you a sense where, if you look at it just at scale, when you put in perspective that over 25 years, this quarter, the next quarter is one percent of the next 25 years, that puts that in some sense of scale there.

Then coming down to the next ... really what's going to happen this week sort of thing, coming down to I have that real realization of the next ... It's 1:00 right now as we're talking that I realize that today really is only ... There's maybe nine or ten more hours of today that we can look at. When I really start that brainstorm, whenever I start a 50 minute Focus Finder session, I sit and the first thing that I do is I just presence myself, and I watch the second hand on my watch sweep for one minute, just to get myself into a real time synchronized thing, get me into the present. You would be absolutely amazed at how long one minute of silence and watching a second hand sweep around your watch. It slows the tick down.

Dan: Yeah, time is very variable in our minds. I think a lot of people have heard about Einstein. It's above them when you ask what's relativity. "Well, I know he's famous for relativity and everything else." Einstein was a genius at giving little practical examples to explain his big universal concepts. He said, "Well, I'll prove to you that time is variable. I want you to picture two situations. The first situation is you're with the person you love most. You're going to go away for two years, and you won't see this person. This is the last 10 minutes before you leave. How long do those 10 minutes actually last? It's by in a flash." The 10 minutes go by in a flash because it's really precious, and you're just feeling the seconds and the minutes flash by before you have to leave.

He said, "That's one sense of 10 minutes. I'll give you another sense of 10 minutes. Your hand is on a hot plate, and you can't take it off for 10 minutes. How long does the 10 minutes actually last?" He said, "It lasts for hours. That's what I'm talking about, the relativity, not the quantitative relativity of time, the qualitative relativity of time. It's how we're experiencing time." I think what you're doing is that just left to our wandering minds, we get sped up very, very quickly.

Dean: I think that's exactly it.

Dan: It seems like we don't have enough time, but then when you go through ... which I think are really terrific. Just first of all, getting back in touch with how long a minute actually is and actually experiencing a minute on the moving hand around a clock face and doing that. Then allowing your mind to just brainstorm. Your second activity is brainstorm and just allow the engagement of your mind with a particularly topic. You may be brainstorming on what can be achieved in the next hour, what can be achieved by the end of the day. It's not everything, but there's going to be certain things which suggest themselves as more meaningful than anything else you could do. That other thing can be put off into future time, but in present time, only these one or two things are really possible. Then your mind is not conflicted about what you should be working on right now.

Dean: I find the second hand exercise calibrates my mind to the time frame that I'm in. Otherwise, you're right. Our minds can race into the there's so much. Looking at the totality of it, we exaggerate the intensity of it.

Dan: You know what I'm going to do as a result of this? I've been wearing a digital watch for the last couple of years, but I have self-winding clock face watches with hands. After this call, I'm going to go switch. I'm going to do what you're doing. I'm going to start the day with that, just to remind myself at the beginning of every day how long a minute actually is.

Dean: Yeah, I'd love to hear your experience of it. I just find it so centering.

Dan: Yeah. I really noticed it because I've noticed it in another way because I've had this cold. Babs gets me to steam. There's a device. It's a tabletop device where you put Vicks in hot water. You inhale, but you have to put your face down and breathe it in and breathe it out. You're supposed to do it for five minutes, so I've got my watch on. I put the timer, and boy, that's a long five minutes. I sit there, and I said, "How long have I been doing this?" A minute five, a minute six, a minute seven. You know?

Dean: Yeah, yeah.

Dan: It's going like that, and I said, "Oh, my golly. What else could I be doing right now besides this?" Your mind just ... "I'm not getting anything done here."

Dean: Relativity in action.

Dan: Yeah. It's very true. What I like about this whole conversation is your playfulness with time.

Dean: That's one of my favorite things about our minds is that we can really do anything in your mind. That's really how we experience. Time is ticking along at that same pace. We just get in touch with it. Every single one of those time frames is absolutely valid. Some are more empowering than others. I do find it empowering to think in the context of 25 years. You just think about that. You have a sense of peace. You always have more of a sense of peace about when you're broadening your time frame. I like to try to bring back that, come to that granularity and have that same level of peace about the next nine hours here and be able to be in the moment of what I'm doing. That's funny as an aside.

Dan: Yeah. I'm sorry. Go ahead.

Dean: I was just going to say, as an aside, there's a TV show on CNBC called "The Profit," with Marcus Lemonis. He goes out and he helps small businesses. He invests in them and turns them around on the show. He had productivity tips, and he says his day starts out. He doesn't plan ahead what his days are going to be. He wakes us, and he goes downstairs. He's actually got a time card that he keeps, and he writes down five things that he's going to do that day and puts it in his pocket and keeps that, and that's it. That's the focus for the day. The same way that you think about the three things, he's got five. He said, "No matter what, those five are going to get done. If I get other things done, that's a bonus." That's the way he starts his day is similar. I always say, that's my thing. I like to wake up and say, "What would I like to do today?"

Dan: Yeah. I've just gotten into the habit over the years of previewing and rehearsing my day the night before. I sleep better. I go to sleep better at night knowing that my mind ... I have a feeling that our brains engage.

Dean: Your subconscious, yeah.

Dan: While we're sleeping, and I don't mean that it shows up in our dreams, but I think there's parts of our brains-

Dean: Sometimes.

Dan: That if you give it an objective for what you're going to do when you wake up in the morning, that there's some processing that goes on. There is actually some problem solving and simplifying that I notice goes on overnight. Sometimes, and I'm open to this, is that I will very clearly the night before feel very, very confident about what the three things are during the next day, but when I get up in the morning, it will occur to me that there are three other things that are more important than the ones I gave myself. I'm quite prepared to just shift to those other three things because the objective is not those three particularly things but to have three things.

I find that I just have continually good results with this, but not only that, because I'm having real achievements and results, my confidence and capability level is going up. Over time, what I'm doing this January as compared to last January is of a bigger nature. It has more scope to it. There's 365 days in between, when I achieve three things, so there's a real buildup of achievement there. That's one year out of 25, so there's lots of time.

Dean: Yeah, exactly. Let's talk about the Mindset column of Challenge to Grow.

Dan: Yeah. The first one, in our Scorecard for those of you who haven't downloaded it, we can give a little instruction on how to download it, as we go along here.

Dean: We can do it right now here, while they're listening. If they want to get it, they could just go to joyofprocrastination.com. We'll post it in this current episode right now, that it will be right there. We've started talking about the mindset in our Episode 7, the Procrastination Priority Scorecard. If you're coming in late, you can start there. We've gone all the way through, but that's where they can get the Scorecard.

Dan: Yeah, and I think this is #9, is it not?

Dean: This must be Episode #9, yeah.

Dan: The first mindset and the first column is people who are more or less failures, so their constant experience is one of failing. Part of the aspects of that is that they feel sorry for themselves. The other thing is that they blame other people and other things for what's happening to them, on a continual basis, but there's a real beaten quality about this mindset. You just want to keep doing what you know, and you resent being forced to change any of it at this point, which means that if anything was introduced to these people that was new or different or better, they would reject it. If they were compelled to do it, they would certainly procrastinate. They would resist it, and they would protest against having to do something new and different and better.

There's a lot of people who feel things forced on them from the outside. They didn't want to go to school, but they had to go to school. They didn't want to clean their room, but they had to clean their room. They didn't want to do chores around the house, but their whole life is about things that they have to do because it's being forced on them from the outside. This is a major ... This is almost like chronic procrastination because they'll never take any initiative to actually grow as a person, to actually develop greater capability and greater confidence because they're not owning any of their experience. They're not taking ownership for being challenged. They're treating the challenge like oppression. We live in a world which keeps demanding that we first of all produce, but the other thing, actually get better at producing. We've got to produce value to earn our keep, so that's an aspect. That's a very negative procrastination situation that I'm describing right there.

Dean: You know what's really interesting is that you just want to keep doing what you know. There's a level of ... I've been fascinated recently by probably the least talked about of our primary drives. Everybody talks about our primary drives of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Those are really genetic things that are wired into us, to reproduce, to stay alive, to avoid pain, but one of the drivers that is hardwired in is to conserve energy. That's really what this feels like, isn't it?

Dan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dean: There's this sense of ... It takes energy to change, to grow. Maybe that's inherently why we are resistant to it.

Dan: Yeah, and there's a calculation that goes along with conserving energy, and it is, "I think I have this much energy." We do operate within time frames. "For today, I've got this much energy to get this done." If you're low energy, there's just minimal acceptable things that you probably have to meet in your lifetime to be still included in humanity. There's certain things that everybody has to do, but generally it's a low energy existence. Part of the reason what keeps it a low energy existence is those people are only eventually able to do activities which are basically not activities that actually give you energy. In other words, there's no sense of progress. There's no sense of achievement. There's no sense of really distinguishing yourself in these type of activities, so it's a vicious cycle. You feel very low energy.

Dean: That's an interesting thing because as you're saying that, I'm almost sensing a 4Cs in a kind of way. It's like the Commitment and the Courage and the Confidence and Capability. You were just saying, the energy, the doing things that actually create the energy are perceived to consume energy, and that's a paradox in a lot of ways.

Dan: Yeah, because the things that I find hardest but which result in a jump in growth and a jump in impact actually give me massively more energy back than they actually consume.

Dean: I think you're right.

Dan: No, just think. I remember the very first conversation we had, which eventually really ... I'm not sure it was where the idea started but it was where the real commitment on your part actually happened was when I simply asked you the question, "What would fascinate and motivate you for the rest of your life?"

Dean: Right, yes.

Dan: What happened very quickly, in my recollection, is you really zeroed in on your Breakthrough Blueprint as a major activity. That gives you enormous energy, the two to three day session that you spend really allowing people to get in touch with their profit activators, their 8-Profit Activators. My sense is that ... but the initial effort to get that started in that was quite a bit of effort but the payoff has been so big.

Dean: It really has. It absolutely has.

Dan: Everything I've done in Coach would be that, too. We're both very fortunate to be in entrepreneurial activities which continually give us more energy back than they actually consume.

Dean: Yeah, it's amazing. It's a funny story.

Dan: I just want to stop here, Dean. Can you mark your story because I just want to catch on because I think you're really on to something here. One of the big reasons of procrastination is, "It's going to waste energy. It's going to use up energy, and I just don't have the energy to waste." It had never dawned on me so clearly that it was an energy calculation.

Dean: Yeah, that really, I think is happening in background, whether we're acknowledging it. I think that awareness of it, you're absolutely right. When you realize that's what's happening, part of the brainstorming or thinking about it is actually bringing the reality to what the energy actually is going to take because when it's all overwhelming, we're overestimating. We're feeling the weight of the cumulative energy that we perceive something might take, as if it's all happening right now. When you get down to that granularity of realizing, "Well, what's going to happen, first of all in the next eight or nine hours, or whatever the rest of the day is, and in the context of the next 50 minutes or 10 minutes or whatever?" It's almost like pushing the pause button.

Dan: It's really interesting because if we go on to our second mindset here, you want to change, and you're willing to improve, but you don't know what to focus on that gives you a daily sense of progress. You can see a huge jump in thinking between the first mindset and the second mindset. The first mindset is literally almost cut themselves off from any help. The very mindset prevents any kind of assistance coming from the outside. The next one, they're opening themselves up, which would mean that someone who's got really good information or really good methodology will be of real use to this person because they've actually opened themselves up to the possibility. This would really then change fundamentally how a person would be open to challenges which actually require more energy than they presently have.

Dean: Yeah. I think that's the comfort that I would offer there, is realizing that you're not going to have to spend all the energy at once. I think all that clarity, knowing that you just really need to focus on this today.

Dan: It's really interesting, that I've just observed over 43 years because I've been coaching entrepreneurs for 43 years, if I see a sudden change in the way that people are dressing, in the way that they're grooming themselves, and they just look more physically fit, I always interpret this. It's virtually always true that they're getting ready for some big change in their life that is going to require a higher level of capability and confidence in their lives. I just have always seen this. Strangely enough, if a man goes along, and he's not well-dressed, and all of a sudden, I'm noticing he's dressing much better, and he's leaner, and he seems to have much energy, it's either that he's shifting to a new phase in his business, or he's having an affair.

Dean: Oh, wow. Yeah, yeah, something energizing.

Dan: I'm sure it works the other way, too. I'm sure it works with females, but the moment I see it, I go, "Oh, something is going on here." It could be for other reasons, too. Maybe it's just to get their act together, period. We do this, but it's very, very interesting. It makes sense what you're saying, still fundamental sense that our willingness or unwillingness to do everything is a result of our energy calculation about the immediate future. Do we actually have the energy to take on something new?

Dean: Yeah, and there's so much. That really fits in with your idea of when you're getting ready to do something is taking three days first to get the energy to get renewed, and then come into it with the preparation. I think that's what the proactive buffer days are about is getting this brainstorming and outlining and getting that put together is really a great buffer day activity. Then at the very least, I think with that clarity, especially if you have to start something tomorrow, then it completely makes sense to start with, let's go to bed a little earlier and get some really good rest and relax. Get yourself in the right state here. Those are things you can do certainly in the next 24 hours.

Dan: One of the things, and I'm real committed to this, but about a year and a half, I got a piece of exercise machinery called the Vasper. Of course, I've told you about it. I had a very interesting experience with it because I've been doing it for about 15, 16 months. On November 1st, I had to go in for an operation, quite a lengthy operation. It was repairing something in the inner plumbing. It was a three and a half hour operation. It was quite complex and complicated but because of this machine called Vasper, V-A-S-P-E-R, which combines three things ... It combines cold, compression, and interval exercises, which allows you in about a 20 minute period to get the exercise impact and the hormonal affect of about two hours, so it's 20 minutes for two hours, but you get this energy. Then eight hours after you do this 20 minutes, you get an eight hour high.

My calculation of being able to do all my work in the Strategic Coach, right up until operation time, go in, and as early as four weeks later go back into full action, was very, very high, simply because of about 15 months of the use of this machine, which I had actually done close to 300 sessions in about a year and a third or so. Actually, I've resumed using the machine since I came back. I went to see the doctor at the 30 day mark after the operation. I was talking to him about how I was operating. I was fully back at work, and I was fully active, doing all the things I had done before. He said, "You know, I've done 2,000 of these operations. You are right now where I would expect someone your age to be at the 12 month mark, so you're about 11 months ahead of where I would expect you to be."

Dean: Wow! That's amazing, isn't it?

Dan: Yes, and it was like an energy thing. It was kind of interesting, because I had no dread of the operation. I think that if I hadn't been in good shape I would have had dread, which would have added to the energy loss. The other thing was that I had such confidence that after the operation I would be right back in full operation within a short period of time. This is a huge topic that we've uncovered today. I'm really struck by just the results of our conversation. We're approaching the hour mark so we're approaching the end of this, but this whole aspect of energy calculation and how much it brings on procrastination when you're challenged with something that's going to require some sort of growth of capability and confidence, whether you think you have the energy to actually pull that off, that could be a very ... I think this is a whole line of thought that just revealed itself in this conversation.

Dean: I agree. Yeah, I'm glad we were able to express it here. Let's finish up this mindset.

Dan: Yeah. The third one is you know that you're at the top of your game, so this is Column #3. "You know that you're at the top of your game and reject any suggestion that there's something new that you have to learn." You can see actually here the similarity between Column 1 and Column 3.

Dean: Right. It's funny that there's a difference between Column 1 and Column 3, in that you know this, you just don't want to change, but in Column 3, you're-

Dan: Yeah, if somebody is at the bottom, and they don't want to change. Somebody else is at the top, and they don't want to change. It's almost the same mentality. They don't want to change.

Dean: That is funny. Just sticking with something, that is good.

Dan: Yeah, and then the fourth one, again you'll see a connection here between Column 2 and Column 4, which has been increasingly true of all the Scorecards that we've seen, Mindset Scorecards. You accept that continually challenging yourself to grow in new ways will always trigger some new upfront fear and that this is good. In other words, you're going to be a little bit fearful. "Do I have the energy?" Again, I'd have to stress the clarity that something that's coming through here, Dean, is how much fear is very, very much associated with a sense of do you have sufficient energy or not to take something on.

Dean: Yeah. I agree. Now that we've really amplified it a little bit, because I've been thinking, even in our discussion today about it, I'm realizing that that is true. Often, it's a false limiter that we put on ourselves. That we do have that fear that we're not going to have enough energy. That's interesting.

Dan: Yeah. I think what we're seeing is a difference here. If we look at the four mindsets in this Challenge to Grow Mindset line, that the 1, where you're stuck at the bottom of something, and you resent being challenged because you don't want to change, and then #3 where you've actually gotten to the top of something, and the suggestion that you even need to change is resented. It's almost like seeing energy and seeing time almost in quantitative terms. Whereas, 2 and 4, they're seeing time, and they're seeing energy more in qualitative terms. It's an energy thing, that time is an energetically qualitative thing. Depending on how you've got your mind arranged and how you're focusing yourself in the activity you're doing, but you have the possibility, even though it's going to use up quantitative time, that you're going to actually generate more energy by doing this.

Dean: That is something that even as I think about it now, I really have under-generated or under-realized that, but that is absolutely true.

Dan: Your brainstorming for 15 minutes is actually a good example of that. In other words, if you give yourself a result thing that you have to do in 50 minutes, it takes your energy away, but if you give yourself that I'm going to be doing something like brainstorming, I'm going to be doing brainstorming for the next 15 minutes, that it's very energy. In 15 minutes, you can actually shift your energy to a higher level simply because of the quality, the kind of activity that you commit yourself to doing, but also it's what the quality-

Dean: You know what's so funny is that-

Dan: It's what the quality of that activity is.

Dean: It's almost like using the language to get yourself into, even though you're in the same position of doing the things. I had the funniest thing happen, Dan. You know I always talk about the concept of more cheese, less whiskers, when we do all the marketing things. Brainstorming is like the cheese for your mind, to get you to do something.

I had a friend post on my Facebook wall an exchange that she had with a three-year-old, applying more cheese, less whiskers to the three-year-old. She put it out as a dialogue, where she had like a script for the scene. She says to the three-year-old, "Okay, James. It's bath time." He goes into, "No," and starts full resistant mode. Then she says, "Oh. Okay. You want to go splash in the tub?" James goes, "Yay," and starts running to the bathroom taking his clothes off. That is exactly what's happening with brainstorming. Our minds are saying, "We've got to get to work on the project." Then you're going, "No!" You go, "Okay. You want to brainstorm?" "Yay!"

Dan: Ding, ding. You get to splash in the bath for the next 15 minutes.

Dean: You get to splash in the tub.

Dan: Yeah, that's such a beautiful ... That's like another interpretation. That's just a phenomenal story.

Dean: It frequently is. It sums it up.

Dan: Robert Cialdini has this book, "Persuasion." You know, "It's bath time," is not persuading a three-year-old of anything.

Dean: No, no.

Dan: It's not-suading them. They're being anti-suaded with, "Bath time." It's such a great, great story. I love that story.

Dean: It perfectly sums it up. We're the entrepreneurs. Yeah, "Get working on the project," is "bath time."

Dan: Yeah.

Dean: It's very funny.

Dan: Anyway, just a quick minute on what you got out of this, and I'll sum up for myself what I got.

Dean: For me, I think this is the first conversation that I've had about energy and just my observation of that, that we are built in to conserve energy. The clarity that I had from the conversation that we had about the calculation of how much energy and why if we're trying to conserve that energy means that we're taking it from a reserve that we have or a calculatable amount of energy that we perceive that we have, without taking into account our ability to actually create energy. I think that's exciting, and brainstorming is certainly one of those energy-creating activities.

Dan: You covered a lot with what you just said, that I also got out of it, but also and you made mention to this in the conversation that the 4Cs process because commitment generates energy. Courage generates energy. New capability generates energy. Higher confidence generates energy, that it's actually an energy generating, the four steps to generating your own energy. That's what allows you then after you've been through one cycle, to take on bigger stuff after you get out because your whole energy calculation has gone up as a result of your own creativity.

Dean: That's awesome.

Dan: It's pretty terrific.

Dean: I can't tell you how much I enjoy these conversations, even if nobody else was ever listening. I just find this so engaging.

Dan: Yeah. In the last quarter, I've really gotten an enormous amount of feedback from Strategic Coach participants, not only my own, but I frequently visit the other workshops conducted by the other coaches. I'm getting more and more comments from people who are not my direct clients but they're telling me that they're getting an enormous amount out of this.

Dean: That's awesome. That's just great. I love it.

Dan: All right.

Dean: Okay, Dan. You have a great day.

Dan: We'll get in touch this week and set up the next one, but I enjoy these so much that I want to do as many as possible, as quickly as possible.

Dean: Me, too. Perfect. Let's do it.

Dan: It's like splashing in the tub.

Dean: Let's go splash in the tub together. There we go.

Dan: Okay, okay, Dean.

Dean: Okay, bye.

Dan: Bye.