When I was writing my book on stress-reduction for teens, Chill, in 2007, I distinctly remember being super stressed, the result of a crazy tight deadline, competing freelance work, and a bunch of parenting challenges all converging in a perfect storm.
At the time, I remember telling myself that I couldn’t be stressed while writing about how to not be stressed. It just felt, well, wrong. In the end, my stress at that time provided me with an opportunity to test out all the strategies I was writing about in real-time. I was literally living it to give it.
So, it only makes perfect sense that last week, as I was cranking away trying to make a tight deadline to deliver a sample chapter for a book proposal under consideration, I’d get another such opportunity. The subject for the chapter? Defending against obstacles that get in your way, with a focus on procrastination. My obstacle? Procrastination.
As I explored in the now-finished chapter the different reasons why people procrastinate — distraction, overwhelm, lack of confidence, crappy thinking — I experienced them all in one form or another. And they manifested in ways that might sound familiar — cleaning, organizing, responding to emails, folding laundry…basically tackling any work that wasn’t the work I really had to (and wanted to) do.
Another chance for me to live it to give it.
So I got to thinking. When a situation we’re facing brings out in us what we might see as “unhelpful” behavior or thinking, rather than be annoyed with ourselves, what if we embraced our reaction? What if we were grateful for our stress or our procrastination? What if we answered the question, “What is perfect about this situation?” honestly?
My hunch is we would realize we are living it to give it. And isn’t that the whole point?