May Do-Over: Procrastination Interferes with Fulfilling Our Potential
Happy May 7th and a shout out to my fellow educators during this National Teacher Appreciation Week! I never anticipated WAY back in the mid 1980s-1990s when I homeschooled my four kids for 11 years, that I would now be pursuing a Doctor of Education degree !
So to all past and present educators (and those currently in college or training to become teachers) – whether home school, public school, private school – K-12, college, wherever – or working behind the scenes, which is now my career focus (curriculum development, course writing, etc.), thank you for all you have done and are doing to prepare children and older students to succeed in life!
OK, I am continuing to review my series on procrastination, priorities, and purpose by repeating and commenting on the original posts from last August. For today, the focus is on this concept:
Procrastination can actually interfere with our ability to fulfill our potential!
So what does procrastination have to do with fulfilling potential–or not? Well, let’s first define the word potential (thanks, online dictionary); it means “capable of being, but not yet in existence” or “capable of development into actuality.” So the gifts, strengths, and plans we have are capable of existing, but we need to actively develop them into actuality.
A few examples come to mind to make this concept easier to understand:
*We can assemble all the ingredients for a cake next to an empty bowl. They represent the potential for a cake – but until we actively combine all the ingredients according to the directions and bake the mixture in the right pan at the right temperature for the right amount of time – we have unfulfilled potential and no cake!
*Fellow writers should be able to relate to this: We can sit with paper and pens in front of us – or blank Word documents on our computers or laptops – or empty data fields for blogs or content writing – and have all kinds of creative ideas. The potential exists for great articles, blog posts, and even books – but until we develop those thoughts by writing or typing them, they remain unfulfilled potential.
*Here’s an example for fellow quilters: We can choose or create a quilt design, gather up fabric, and even cut out the pieces to make a quilt. We can stand there admiring the design and the lovely fabrics. The potential exists for a beautiful quilt–but until we actually sew the pieces together following the pattern or design, assemble the layers, and complete it with machine quilting or tying, it remains unfulfilled potential and is not a quilt!
When we procrastinate or put off taking the steps necessary to exercise a gift, develop a strength, or implement a plan, we are unable to fulfill the potential inherent in any of those things.
Remember, the word potential means “capable of being but not yet in existence” or “capable of development into actuality.” Here’s another explanation or example to help grasp the concept of potential:
“Potential cannot manifest without form. Like concrete, it must have something to be poured in to, something to give it shape and make it useful.
To develop potential properly, you must have a plan and pray over that plan; you must have a purpose, and you must be doing something.
If you want to see your potential developed to its fullness, don’t wait until everything is perfect. Do something now.
Start laying your hand to whatever is in front of you.”
This line in particular addresses how procrastination can interfere with potential: “If you want to see your potential developed to its fullness, don’t wait until everything is perfect. Do something now.” To me, this speaks of taking those “baby steps” toward accomplishing a goal and fulfilling potential.
Just as a baby doesn’t immediately walk after birth, but instead goes through a series of steps and growth stages, we can’t expect to reach our full potential without taking the necessary steps in the right order. If we procrastinate and delay taking a first step, or any step along the way, we likewise impede our forward progress toward reaching and fulfilling our potential.
[REMINDER: This series is a work in progress; it is also a bit of a personal journey, combining a confession of a recognized character flaw and ongoing struggle, with a strategy to overcome this weakness. It is my hope that by sharing these sometimes painful revelations, others who stop by to read will find some inspiration of their own to overcome their own areas of procrastination or other character flaws].
A year from now you may wish you had started today.
So what do you think? Do you recognize areas in your life where procrastination trips you up from striving to reach your potential?