I’ve been blessed to do an interview with Havi of Fluent Self and her sidekick (Selma, her duck). Don’t tell Selma that I called her a sidekick.
Havi is an expert in patterns, procrastination, and calming techniques – all qualities that many of us are looking to improve. Selma is an expert in floating in the tub. Both of them make a great team. Let’s welcome Havi and Selma.
Thanks for joining me in this interview. Let’s get right into it.
Work Happy Now: After reading Procrastination Dissolve-o-matic (Havi's procrastination program for people who want to work on their internal blockage so they can get their projects done) I learned some fantastic techniques, but I'm curious - can you describe the technique that works best for you when you are putting something off?
Havi: Lately I've mostly been using the focusing yoga mudra that I teach in the book to turn my attention inward, and then I actively let myself NOT WANT to do the thing I think I have to be doing.
Once I've softened some of that internal resistance, I check in and find out if there's something I can do differently. I also give myself five minutes to NOT do the thing and to not want to do it at all.
WHN: The perfectionism syndrome that you described in your book really resonated with me. I too want my projects to be perfect and it keeps me from actually doing the work. How did you overcome this?
Havi: Oh boy. Lots of practice. Lots of reminding myself that everything you do is in flux. Things can always be improved upon, so it's a matter of finding out: when are you going to just let things be the way they are right now?
Also, one of the things I've learned from teaching is that I actually teach much better when it's spontaneous than when I'm fabulously over-prepared. So that's helped me get better at releasing the need for ridiculously intense hard-core preparation
WHN: The idea of actually enjoying the work is a difficult concept. Many of us were raised to push ourselves to get the work done, not actually enjoy it. It's the "work for the weekend" attitude. How do we overcome such deeply ingrained resistance?
Havi: Well, you want to make sure you're also not guilting yourself here with the whole "how come I can't enjoy it" thing ... it's important to figure out which parts or aspect of the work trigger your resistance so you can shift your focus.
The work is really just a reflection of your own relationship with yourself ... and as you work on that relationship, it gets easier to be a bit more playful with the work. But the truth is that sometimes work does suck. It's not always going to be fun. The question is, how can you meet yourself where you are when you're not getting what you need from the work, and give yourself comfort and caring and better options.
WHN: Learning to be a detective with your patterns is a fantastic idea. I think it will help me avoid getting too caught up in my emotions. Can you explain why it's helpful to become a detective with your patterns?
Havi: If you're "fighting" your patterns, you get too involved in mastering them and kicking them. But when you're noticing them, studying and learning from them, picking up clues like a detective -- you have some emotional distance from your pain.
This (paradoxically) allows you to get closer to what's really going on with your patterns -- so you can start giving yourself what you need.
WHN: Many of us are hard on ourselves. I'm my own worst critic. I'm learning to become more of a inspiring coach to myself, but it's tough. How does someone cultivate as you put it "the lover" within themselves?
Havi: Well, as I think the point I tried to get across in the book is that this is really the advanced practice. You don't start there. No one does.
Instead you start with noticing where you're hard on yourself and asking yourself whether it's possible to maybe eventually be able to stand being around yourself some day, despite the fact that you think you're a mess and it's all so miserable. That is absolutely step one.
I don't think we need to rush into pushing towards inspiration, since that often just triggers more resistance. I think it's all about figuring out where you are and then meeting yourself there.
WHN: I thought your blog post about Planting Clues was a great tool to stay on top of our stuff. You talk about this in your book. How does someone plant clues that will encourage them to do their project or task?
Havi: I have one client who has been putting off working on her new website. She decided that she needed reminders of how meaningful her actual work is for her and how much it grounds her. So we had her take a pebble from her garden and keep it in her pocket. It's her "meaning and grounding" pebble. It may be a bit cheesy, but it totally makes her feel better. It's a steady reminder of why she's doing this work to put what she does out there into the world.
WHN: I grew up looking at a mountain and only seeing more mountains. It creates resistance due to futility. When you are consulting with a person with this attitude, what do you recommend that they do to reduce their avoidance and get their stuff done?
Havi: Yeah, that's really hard and frustrating. Sometimes it seems like there's nothing but more horrible ahead, so you just do what you can to meet yourself where you are with that.
Notice the avoidance. Notice what triggers resistance. Allow yourself to NOT WANT to do the thing, whatever it is. You're entitled to not want to do it. Allowing yourself to feel like it's all a big waste of time is part of the process of getting back to the point where you can get excited about where you're going.
That's what's going to help you find some of the playfulness and ... who knows, maybe even a little adventure.
Thank to Havi for such a great interview. I know that this will help many of my readers overcome their procrastination. If my readers want to take their career to the next level I recommend Havi and Selma’s program. It’s worth every penny. Havi also does consultations if anyone ever needs to work through any roadblocks to optimal potential.
Click here to check out my review or Procrastination Dissolve-o-matic.
Articles Related to Getting Stuff Done:
- Procrastination Dissolve-o-Matic Program Review
- How Transitions Can Dramatically Improve Your Productivity
- Failures You Should Either Release or Keep Pursuing