Dealing With The Shame Of Missing Deadlines

I have been really struggling with the shame of not meeting my book deadline. It feels like I have been working on this book all my life. I am bringing together all that I know about motivated action, into a system that is not only easy to understand but also easy to remember. This deep dive into how I do what I do, has resulted in me discovering things about myself that I didn’t know before. It is all great learning, but it has resulted in some soul searching and having to rewrite big sections of the book.

It got me thinking about the importance of time and deadlines. I love a deadline to work towards and eve more so if that deadline means that it will have a positive impact on others.

But there are times when I can see and hear the deadline crippling my confidence and sending me into a tail spin. I can become so focused on what other people think of me and letting people down that I lose momentum. I can’t think clearly or make decisions well. That impacts productivity and the result is that the deadline becomes even harder to achieve. 

Since failing to meet the deadline of the 19th June 2020, I have been reluctant to commit to a new deadline. What is working is writing to those that have already purchased my book and giving them the choice of a refund and letting them know that their purchase and belief in me is really helping. What is also working is a commitment to daily activity. I have commitment 8 hours every week to the book and I am trusting it will happen when it happens. As I listen carefully I hear a little voice that is saying it needs to be ready by September. So I take a moment to listen and clarify what kind of ‘it’ is that ‘it’, that needs to be ready by Sept? I had assumed the whole book but turns out that I need to get the ‘7 Principles of Motivated Action’ written up by then.

I know my own process so I am busy talking about the principles with friends, family and clients. When I talk to people and I get feedback and interaction that is when I can recall the stories, examples and evidence that are so often locked in my mind. They just don’t come that easily, to me when I am sat at my laptop alone.

It is why group learning spaces are so valuable to me. I have really appreciated the care and compassion of the group learning space created by Carol Anne Cooper Writing retreat .Missing this deadline had hit be quite hard. I had tried to follow other people’s structure but the words were not coming. Through the use of Brain Gym ™ activities and Carol Anne’s skilful facilitation, I was able to reconnect with me my inner writer who was a much younger and much wiser version of me that loved to write. A writer that wrote to express and share. A writer that was there before exams, red marker pens and feedback.

What I have noticed is that the words for the blogs and newsletters are coming much easier and when I get stuck I have some physical activities I can do, to shift the ‘stuckness’ and reconnect with my inner writer. When I say physical activities, I mean moving my body in a particular way. Switching from left hand to right hand and many more.

Since doing this process, I have noticed that the quality of my writing as changed and that when I edit my critic is no longer there. Instead of berating myself for not getting it right first time, I am being playful and seeing the changes as an artist may sculpt clay or perhaps add colour to a previously black and white image. There is a lightness and joy to writing again which is a good, as I have to do quite a bit of it for my job.

I have really enjoyed writing for fun and not for deadlines. If you have a writer within that needs unlocking do check out Carol Anne’s events. 

The more I work with clients to explore their process, the more resourced they become to listen to and manage themselves and others through change. When you get stuck remember that accessing our inner wisdom is rarely a one person job. With the right support it can not only be easier, but more fun. If you are stuck and want to chat I am happy to help you work out what kind of support you need. Sometimes we just need someone to listen in a way that transforms the overwhelm into clarity of what we want and the confidence we can make it happen.

I want to thank those that have continued to order your copies of my book, your belief in me keeps me going and it is you that I picture at the end of the finish line when I  get overwhelmed and wonder if it will ever happen.  motivation. I can see you all with your hands held out waiting to receive your signed copy. I will be sending out the introduction and the chapters as they emerge to those that have purchased up front. If you would like to be one of the first to read it then please do purchase your copy today. Do, Delegate or Ditch – Making Sense of you say one thing and do another click here:


Sheryl Andrews (aka The Listening Detective)

Founder of Step by Step Listening, Sheryl Andrews has always been keen to create space where other people felt safe to speak their truth no matter what that was. She is well known for her ability to motivate, manage and mentor others through change and loves nothing more than helping others feel heard and understood. She soon discovered there were 8 different kinds of listening and often people started talking without knowing which they needed. At Step by Step Listening they create space to explore what kind of listening works to ensure individuals are resourced to work, learn and live at their best with others and on their own. .

For regular updates and examples of how listening skills can resource you to manage yourself, time and others through change check out Free Success without stress newsletter


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Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening is well known for her fast speaking and highly motivational passion. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl use to find it difficult when criticised even when she knew they meant well and found it difficult to respond rather than react. A series of 3 events in her personal life exaggerated her emotional overwhelm and forced her to address this problem and conquer her sensitivity to criticism. Today she shares every day stories of every day people and inspires you to discover ways to gain clarity and confidence to change the way feedback and criticism impacts your performance.

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