Over the past several weekends, I’ve had the opportunity to share parts of JMA’s MindMastery™ workshop program with The Few Initiative for Children ambassadors, a hand-selected group of Chicago-area teens. These bright, young leaders consistently impress me with their enthusiasm to learn, their openness to share and their commitment to become better versions of themselves.

Our habits begin at a young age, powerfully, impacting the stories we tell ourselves and the way we show up in the world. Because habits are based on thoughts that manifest in behavior, individuals have the power to change them. MindMastery™ trains individuals to develop a deep awareness around these habits, which are driven by the thoughts that create moods, impact behavior and influence results.

This cultivated awareness is the key that unlocks change. One of the reasons I love working with young adults is that the earlier you develop this awareness, the greater your ability to reap the rewards of change.

The perils of Hitting the “snooze” button

Of course, some habits are easier to alter than others! One of the specific behaviors I targeted in working with the ambassadors was procrastination, a habit they could all relate to, albeit for different reasons. We explored each of these reasons — and ways to turn procrastination into pre-crastination™, a term I coined to mean “do it now, not later.”

hit snooze button procrastinate

Your day begins the minute you hear the ring of the alarm clock; as soon as you open your eyes, the day is underfoot. Hitting the snooze button may appear to be an innocuous habit — after all, you’re only getting up five or ten minutes (for some people, multiples of five or ten minutes) later, right? The problem is that you’re actually starting your day by reinforcing the habit of procrastination. The internal dialogue where you tell yourself “I’ll do it later” is already taking place — before you even get out of bed!

The magic of Pre-crastination™

When you get up right away, with (or even before) the alarm clock, that internal dialogue takes on an entirely different tone. You feel more in control of your day. Instead of reinforcing the story that you’re a procrastinator, you experience a shift. You’re becoming a pre-crastinator™ instead!

Pre-crastination™ is empowering. You eliminate that nagging cloud hanging overhead, reminding you of all the still-undone things on your to-do list. With a clearer mind, you can focus on what really matters, paving the way to improved performance.

I challenged the ambassadors to try not hitting the snooze button for one week. Not only did each of the ambassadors accept the challenge; they took it a step further into their lives. Some dug into their homework as soon as they got home from school or work, while others took breaks from social media to minimize their distractions. The experience was eye-opening, across the board, and many of the ambassadors excitedly relayed stories about their newly adopted practice of pre-crastination™.

Few Initiative for Children

I surprised the Few ambassadors with personalized t-shirts to celebrate their new “do-it-NOW” attitudes.

Are you hitting the leadership snooze button?

Leadership requires decisive action. Confidence. Embracing a “yes, let’s-figure-it-out-now” attitude in the face of challenge. Yet so many leaders, even seasoned executives, hit the snooze button without even realizing it. Perhaps you recognize this tendency in yourself, thinking about all the times you’ve put off difficult conversations or delayed making critical decisions.

Forcing yourself to act, particularly in these situations, requires executive courage — a quality that you can cultivate with intention and practice. By taking charge of their habits, their mindsets and their personal growth, the Few ambassadors are developing executive courage at a young age.  What an honor it’s been for me to work with these young leaders. Our future is in good hands!

Honing your inner game will drive your performance to new levels. Step one involves developing an awareness around your thoughts, moods and perspectives. Our Accountability Mirror™ and MindMastery™ workshops will help you explore the ways you might be standing in your own way, train you to break nonproductive patterns and facilitate success. The transformation is real, and the results can be game-changing. 

Other Posts You Should Read:
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Costs Avoiding Crucial Conversations
Executive Courage: Do You Really Have It?