Coach’s Corner: The Satisfaction Equation

Photo Credit: lechenie-narkomanii

I am having a wonderfully frustrating day of procrastination. I am aware and fully acknowledge I am doing everything possible not to sit down and write, so this is the perfect time for me to tell you about the Satisfaction Equation. It will be a great reminder for me too!

Procrastination is all about avoiding our fears. For me, I wonder why bother? My biggest fear is that no one will want to read what I write, so why put in all this time and effort?

My fear is never going to go away. When I catch myself procrastinating, like today, I tell myself that it isn’t my job to decide what other people want to read. My job is to write what I want to write. It is up to the editors and the reading public to decide if they want to read it or not. When I acknowledge my avoidance, it is easier for me to sit down and write. It helps that over the years of practice, I know what I am avoiding and how to deal with it.

But there are many days I truly debate if writing is worth it. Maybe I should just quit. I could be out with family or friends. I could go see the latest movie. I could binge-watch the latest show on Netflix without guilt.

At times like these, I am reminded of Richard Beckhard’s Satisfaction Equation, or the Formula for Change. It is an equation that is helpful in all kinds of situations. Essentially, it is when we decide that we are unhappy enough to make a change. For example, your job helps you pay the bills, but you’re being bullied, or you simply hate it enough that you can’t take it any more, so you come up with a plan to change jobs.

The same can be applied to procrastination and writing.

The formula is this:

D x V x FS > RC

D is the experienced dissatisfaction with the current state/situation;

V is a vision of a desired future state, of what is possible;

FS is the clarity and feasibility of the first steps toward that vision.

The product of all three must be greater than the current resistance to change (RC) for us to take that chance.

In my situation, I know that a lot of people don’t expect me to be sociable because I’m writing, and that works for me. If I were to stop writing, there would be expectations placed on me. I would have to go out with friends and family. I am far too introverted to be comfortable with that. My dissatisfaction then, is with having to go out and be sociable.

My vision then is where I see myself and my writing career in the future, impacting someone’s life in a positive way, but that can only happen if I stick with it.

Therefore, I must come up with a plan: the clarity and feasibility. Writing makes me happy. It is where I am most comfortable. I am very clear about that. I can set goals to complete my writing project.

Since my dissatisfaction, vision, and feasibility are greater than my fears I can push past them. I am ready to set my fears aside and write.

If mentally reminding myself to move past my fear and just write doesn’t work, I often use what is called a clearing journal.

Take no more than two minutes at the beginning of your writing session to write down all your concerns, all the things you have yet to do that day, whatever is bothering you that might keep you from focusing and enjoying writing. After the two minutes, you set it all aside. It will be there for you to pick up after your writing time is done. What this does is it psychologically relieves you of your worries, if only for a few minutes or a few hours.

Now that I have reminded you to move past your fears, I am going to do the same.

What is your Satisfaction Equation?

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