In an earlier article, Procrastination – Good or Bad? we explored the advantages and disadvantages of procrastinating.
The following TRUE story is an illustration of how a major life opportunity was missed due to procrastinating a week, a month, and finally six months. By the time the following year rolled around my dreams and hard work up to that point disappeared as quickly as a feather lost in the wind.
In the early nineties coming out of the worst recession in the Midwest (until now), I published a book entitled Drive North in Your Career!
Shortly after the book’s release, I went to Book Expo America (formerly American Booksellers Association) and presented it to larger publishers to drum up distribution interest. The editor at Pocket Books (division of Simon & Schuster) expressed interest in picking up the mass market rights a year after the trade edition had been out. ”Brenda, please send us a copy of the book with a marketing letter,” she said.
Upon my return, I shared this experience with my family, friends, and colleagues.
What an opportunity!
A week later, having shared the news with everyone, I realized I’d better follow-up with the editor.
What exactly does this big New York publisher want in the marketing letter?
I don’t want to mess up this opportunity.
Another week passed as I mulled over how to handle the situation. After all my enthusiasm, I felt funny asking my colleagues how to handle this. Like a caregiver suffering alone, I kept to myself.
Two weeks later, my newest justification provided questionable comfort.
Ooooh, she’ll have recently returned to NY and have a pile of stuff to get through. I won’t burden her with my work, right now.
I let another week pass
… almost a month passed.
Another month went by and then several more ….
Six months later…
Boy, am I embarrassed. There is no way I can write to her now. How awful!
By the time a year had passed and another trade show was taking place, I reflected on squandering an opportunity to collaborate with one of the world’s largest publishing firms.
The Price of Procrastination
Losing one’s dream and the fruits of many years of effort.
Meanwhile, after shopping their book around to a hundred publishers, Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield had their book picked up by a little known publisher. They must have followed up right away. Because as we can see, Chicken Soup for the Soul made history!
Have you heard of Drive North in Your Career?
How about North Star Books?
My point exactly!
Lessons for Caregivers
Realize that the opportunity to spend time with your loved one will not go on forever.
If you want to spend time with him or her, do it NOW.
If you are caring for your loved one at home, know that the time will come when s/he will no longer be here; so take time to create memories that will sustain you after s/he is gone.
If you have placed your loved one in a care home, the time you spend with him/her will include some of the memories you reflect upon after s/he is gone.
If you are a long-distance caregiver, take time to visit as you are able. Depending on the health of your loved one, the distance, and your ability to arrange travel, this could mean once or twice a year.
There will come a day when blood will no longer course through your loved one’s veins and you will be unable to hold his/her warm hand. When this time comes, s/he will live on in your heart and in your memory.
Don’t procrastinate. Spend the time you need to spend now, so you won’t have regrets.
Last year, a national television talk show producer sent a query seeking examples of procrastination and results. This is an edited version of the response sent.