I have a project. An exciting, new project. A project that I have been talking about for months. A project that partners me with another person (someone who is extremely intelligent, organized, and a deep thinker). We met on the project a few times, took notes, and had a game plan with various assignments.
This project has been on my plate for a few months. I started some research, then stopped. I opened the file to start writing, then stopped. I took the folder out of my briefcase, only to put it back in. For whatever reason, I could not “Ship It” or make progress.
Something was triggering this procrastination. I tried to pin down the reason, but could not find the words.
I took a risk and called this partner. We decided to meet.
“I have to confess. Despite the excitement around this project and our discussions, I have not made any progress on my part.”
“Well, to be honest, I have had the same struggle.”
Another risk. The real risk.
“Ok, here is the thing. I am a little intimidated working with you on this project because you know this material and have studied it in more depth, and are so smart, and so…”
“What? You are intimidated by me?”
The reason for the mutual procrastination was revealed. We both viewed the other person as more competent, intelligent, and suited for this project. I am sure some it stems from the “Less Than Default Switch” and this setting skews our perspective of others.
Our conversation continued.
“It is almost as if I am among giants, when I compare myself to others.”
“Exactly, but I am still surprised you feel that way. I understand why I feel that way, but not you.”
Among giants. Our perceptions of others, their abilities, their accomplishments, their status can warp our own self-perception. This distortion can create the fear and insecurity that holds us back from trying, shipping, or stretching ourselves.
They are not actually giants. They are fellow travelers on this journey. But this problem seems older that just me and this project. Older than you and your project, idea, or journey as well.
“Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about” Cassius
(Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2)