Episode 418: [PLANNING SERIES] The 3 Month Commitment + Why It Matters

Power Planning will get you out of your own way in your business and have you doing the deep perfectionism work you need to do – all while you’re doing more of what matters than ever before (in less time and with less overthinking). But it won’t work for you if you give up on it prematurely.

The habit of giving up too soon is one of the main reasons you’re not where you want to be in your business. Most perfectionists want overnight, struggle-free, push-of-a-button success and we quit when we don’t get it. We feel disheartened, discouraged and inadequate – when really, we just hadn’t tried for long enough. 

Making the Three Month Commitment to Power Planning matters. You won’t feel like it’s working after a week or two – and that’s the whole point…

The closer we are to being in the growth mindset, the easier it is to get out of our own way in your business – no hustling, willpower or ‘pushing through’ required. The very act of Power Planning will coax you out of your perfectionism. And the fact that Power Planning won’t ‘work’ instantly is what allows this to happen. 

The Three Month Commitment might just be the missing ingredient in your business. And I share how it works (and what not to do) in today’s episode…

Find the full episode transcript and show notes at samlaurabrown.com/episode418.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • How I discovered the power of the Three Month Commitment 
  • Why the Three Month Commitment makes it easier to get out of your own way
  • What making the Three Month Commitment does NOT mean
  • How not to be all-or-nothing about your Three Month Commitment
  • Signs you’re making progress with Power Planning during the first three months
  • What to expect after three months of Power Planning

Featured In The Episode:

Announcement: PGSD will open for enrollment on 10 September 2023 (for one week only)

My 12-month group coaching program Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (aka PGSD) will teach you how to plan properly as a perfectionist and get out of your own way. The doors to PGSD will open on 10 September 2023 for one week only. To find out more about the program and be the first to know when the doors open, join the waitlist today: samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.

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Hi and welcome to another episode of The Perfectionism Project. A podcast full of perfectionism advice for entrepreneurs. My name is Sam Laura Brown, I help entrepreneurs release their perfectionism handbrake, so they can get out of their own way and build a fulfilling and profitable business. I’m the founder of the Perfectionist Getting Shit Done group coaching program, which is otherwise known as PGSD. And for even more perfectionism advice to help you with your business. You can follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject.

Sam Laura Brown

Okay, so this is part four of my five part Planning series on how to plan properly as a perfectionist. We have discussed planning properly versus procrasti-planning. That was the first part. In the second part, we talked about the three steps of power planning so that you can start planning properly. Then we had an episode part three, on how to plan amidst uncertainty. If you have an uncertain week, for whatever reason, maybe like me, you have little ones, I have three under three, maybe you have a health issue, maybe you have a job. If you have factors in your week that make it feel hard to know what’s coming and how long things will take, then that episode is going to be so helpful for you.

In this episode, we’re talking about something that is absolutely essential. When it comes to planning properly, which is making the three month commitment. I’ll share more about what that is. And then in part five, I’m going to be sharing with you all about perfectionist getting shit done, aka PGSD, which is my 12 month group coaching program for perfectionist entrepreneurs, if you want to master power planning, if you want to be a perfectionist who is getting shit done consistently and sustainably. If you want to get out of your own way, then I invite you to join us inside PGSD. So I’ll be sharing all the details in part five.

So today, let’s talk about what the three month commitment to power planning is. And why this matters. We perfectionist we love things to feel effortless. And we love feeling smart. So we don’t want to feel like there is a learning curve. When we are learning something new. We love feeling like we’re naturally good at things. And even though we love learning, my guess is you would say you’re someone who absolutely loves learning. Maybe you are someone even who tends to do some procrasti-learning in your week, but you love learning. And yet you want to be good things right away. And you tend to have trouble sticking to things that aren’t looking like they’re working, and where you feel like you aren’t doing a good job.

And so when it comes to power planning, this is a skill. And it’s really important that we think about it in a way that puts you in a growth mindset and helps you release your perfectionism handbrake about power planning itself. So that you can do it so that you can practice it so that you can eventually master it, you really need to have the right mindset about power planning to be able to be successful with it. And the beautiful thing is that by learning to have this kind of mindset about power planning, you will also learn how to have this kind of mindset about whatever it is you’re doing in your business, for example, you have a launch like there are so many things that we do in our business that we aren’t going to see instant results with.

Of course, oftentimes, we will and with power planning, for example, you can expect that in a couple of weeks, you will be able to find yourself being more productive and consistently following through in about four to six weeks, you’re going to really start feeling the result of power planning, you’re going to have so much less overwhelm, you’re going to be procrastinating less, you’re gonna be overthinking less, you’re gonna be getting more done in less time and working smarter and not harder. But there is a learning curve. And I’m not going to pretend that isn’t I want you to be successful. So me saying well, as soon as you start doing it, this is the magic bullet, this is the thing that’s going to instantly walk right away. Like that’s not me helping you and I really want to help you be successful.

And so really giving yourself a framework and a timeframe and expectations to work within is going to help you be okay with sucking at it a little bit in the beginning. So let’s talk about what the three month commitment really isn’t why I created this and where it originated. So I used to have a big issue with sticking to things and I know there are so many examples that we could talk about with this like there are so many things but one I do want to share with you is fitness because I think for most perfectionist, fitness and health it really brings up that all or nothing mindset and we can really find ourselves in that perfectionist mindset about it.

And again, wanting instant results right away and then struggling to follow through with something where we don’t feel like that hard work is paying off. So for me, I would attempt a 12 week fitness challenge and this was particularly I want to say 2015 2016 that I would commit to doing a 12 week fitness challenge. So for me personally, it was Kayla Itsines, Bikini Body guide, it was called at the time. And I really, really wanted to do this 12 week fitness challenge. And maybe you’re someone who loves challenges, and you love the idea of that, but you struggle like me to follow through.

So here’s what would happen for me, I would get really, really motivated, like, I would feel so excited, I’d probably buy a new workout outfit, like I was just ready to go. And I would do that perfectly. For a few weeks, I would be doing the workouts on the day that I meant to be doing the workouts, even when I didn’t feel like it like I was able to get myself to do that. But what would happen is that like, every time, at the end of week four, beginning of week five, I would just drop off, and it wasn’t like it was this big dramatic thing. But I just suddenly skip a workout or forget to do one or something else would come up.

And I just found that once I got to week five, I would just slowly but surely give up on the 12 week fitness challenge. And then I want to go back to the beginning again, and start over, of course, from week one. And that happened five times that I was getting through week one to fall perfectly. And then at week five, I would just fall off. It was about me not being willing to continuously do something that didn’t feel like it was working because of course, four weeks in that motivation is pretty long gone. And at the same time, I’m not really feeling the benefits of those workouts.

Yes, I feel good immediately after. But I can’t see really the changes in my body yet. And I’m not able to really see massive progress with my fitness either. So of course, I’m there feeling as a perfectionist, like I’m not good enough. It’s not working. Other people have results by this time. And so I just subtly quit. And so what happened for me, after years of taking that kind of approach with fitness was when it came to my yoga practice. So I also practiced Bikram yoga. And I really, again wanted to be consistent, but I was the kind of person at the time who just really struggled to stick to things like a 12 week challenge or create a new habit, even though the desire was there, even though I really, really, really wanted to be so on with that consistent habit.

So when it came to yoga, what I wanted to do was go three times per week. And I really wanted to feel as well, like I had a good class. And it was a good use of my time ideally with an instructor that I liked. And I also like, even though intellectually understood, it takes a minute to feel the benefits and to see progress. Like honestly, I did want to see progress right away. And so what would happen is that again, the first week, perfect attendance, like I was killing it. Second week, okay, yep, I was probably going. And I remember there’s so many times I attempted this. But second week, you should still be going and then third week, I might Oh, you know, Monday, I’m not gonna go today. Something has come up. I’ll go tomorrow. I’ll go the next day. I’ll go the next day. I’ll go the next Oh, it’s the weekend. Okay, well, sorry, I’m fresh on Monday.

And then what do you know, I don’t have a yoga habit. And then of course, I just feel so guilty and ashamed that I have been through that cycle again. So what I would do is I would typically wait a few weeks, I get interested and inspired by something else and go do that for a few weeks follow up with that. And then I come back to you’re gonna be like, Okay, maybe there was a deal on at the yoga studio or whatever. And I would start again and go through this. And there was one time and this has changed my life.

There was one time that I decided to think about it differently, that I decided that instead of trying to go three times per week, and to get myself into a consistent habit, what I was going to do was think about it and set it up in a different way to what I’ve ever done before. This was really when I started to consider okay, maybe it’s not me, maybe it’s just the way that I’m approaching it. And maybe the way I’m thinking about it isn’t working for me, it’s not that I can’t do it, it’s that I just need to be doing it differently. I really need to again, this is all about planning properly as a perfectionist, I need to plan it in a way that actually helps me get out of my own way that helps me get my perfectionist mindset on my side.

So here’s what I did when it came to yoga. And then I’m going to talk about how this comes back to your power planning. So what I did, and this is really counterintuitive, and honestly, I don’t know why I decided this maybe I heard this on a podcast. Like I listened to so many podcasts episodes and things. So maybe I heard on a podcast episode, I don’t know. But I just remember having this sort of, okay, instead of trying to go three times per week, I’m actually going to try to go or commit to big difference there, commit to going six times per week for three months.

And that to me felt crazy to say because I was struggling to go three times per week. So six times per week just sounded ridiculous. But I was going to do it for three months. And only after that three month period of me doing it was I going to decide whether or not I wanted to continue doing it. Because what was happening as well, when I was doing this yoga was I was constantly evaluating. Do I like this kind of yoga? Is this something I want to be committed to? There are so many other kinds of workouts? Do I want to spend my time doing that also Bikram yoga, it’s a 90 minute class, the studio was 20 minutes away from my house.

So really, all things said it was about two and a half hours to do a yoga class. And at the time, I was a full time student. And I was also working. And I also had my blog started to like, I had other things to be doing. And so I constantly had this question of should I continue. And so what happened when I changed this, from should I continue and doing three times a week to six times a week, I’m doing it for three months, before I decide is that it really helped me to release the expectations I had, and calm my perfectionist brain down.

It helped me also just be in this mindset of this doesn’t have to be forever. It’s just something that I’m trialing, but I’m going to trial it fully, instead of this idea of like, well, I’ll really get into it. Once I decide it’s for me, we often have this approach with things, maybe you can relate that we’re like, Okay, well, once I see it’s working, then I’ll go all in, whether it’s with business, whether it’s with fitness, there are so many things that we approach with this mindset.

Because when we are in that perfectionist mindset, we’re scared of wasting effort, we’re scared of finding out that we’re not good enough. So we just kind of like you know, it feels like we’re really going all in as I said, I would go like perfect attendance for the first week, two weeks, three weeks, sometimes even four weeks. And so it really from the outside would look like I’m going all in. But mentally, my brain wasn’t fully committed. I was in this question of, should I continue? Am I good at this? Do I like this? Is this the best option? And that really stopped me just being present and actually fully trialing it.

So I decided that I wasn’t going to be in that question of Is This for me? Is this working? Do I like this, I was just going to do it for three months. And really fully do it. Just by parking that question to the side, I was going to be showing up. And then at the end of that three month period, I would decide whether or not I wanted to continue. But for now I was going to put that question on the table and just let myself do the damn thing.

And I want to say to with me changing from doing three times a week to six times per week. It just changed the question for me from should I go today to when will I go today because I found myself in this pattern of okay, it’s Monday, but I only want to go three times a week. So it’s okay if I don’t go on Monday, I can go on Tuesday, okay, it’s okay. If I don’t go on Tuesday, I can go on Wednesday. And I just push it back and back and back. Again another sign that I wasn’t approaching it in a way that work for my perfectionist brain.

But doing it six times a week just helped me think about it in a much more helpful way. And something I’ve found as well over my years of entrepreneurship. And as well coaching hundreds of perfectionist entrepreneurs inside PGSD is that for most perfectionist, a higher volume of output can help relieve pressure of perfection. So we tend to think that we should do a smaller number of things and do them really well. Like there’s that whole mantra of like, you know, if you’re going to do it, do it well.

And we tend to then invite in overthinking procrastination, we’re putting so much pressure on things that I find, especially when it’s a new skill. I’m learning higher volume does wonders. That’s why when I started this podcast, I did two episodes per week, I just wanted to get good twice as fast and have twice as many reps. And I just also knew that when I was doing it more often say with the podcast, for example, that if I did have doubts about whether that episode was good, and all of that kind of mental chatter that goes on, I knew an episode and the next one was coming out in three days.

So it was probably you know, it would be okay if it wasn’t good. And it just calm my brain down and helped me press Publish. Were as if I was focusing on less but better it is with my perfectionist brain, I really put the pressure on it being better. And it wasn’t until I had done a few more years work on my perfectionism that I really felt comfortable having less volume, but being able to do that not in a perfectionist way. So again, just having that higher volume, it really can be so helpful. And this is what really helped me as well with that yoga habit.

So by the time I was three months into my yoga practice, I was in such a good groove like I was really able to show up fully to get myself to class like I created that consistent habit. And of course from practicing six times per week for three months and just being committed to making work for that short period of time, I was able to just find myself with an incredible yoga practice, I was so much more flexible, like I knew all the postures, I just felt like I was just in this really great place.

So of course, I decided to continue wasn’t even a question then once I had fully committed. So when it comes to power planning, we want you to have this three month commitment. And when you sign up for PGSD, you will be making the three month commitment to power planning. And that doesn’t mean that you are going to be doing it perfectly or like if you’re going on vacation, or you have things come up that you have to wait until you have a perfect three months ahead.

That perfect three months is never coming. But also, the best thing about power planning is really learning how to power plan with whatever’s going on in your life, that’s the best time to learn, not when you don’t have any distractions, and you’re just in these perfect circumstances, like, okay, I’m gonna go to a cabin in the woods for three months. And that’s where I’m going to learn power planning. That’s not going to help you learn how to deal with distractions, how to keep your plans workable, when unexpected things come up, like you want to be learning power planning, at a time that power planning would be really helpful for you.

And the more challenging your situation is, the better you’re going to be at power planning, because you’re going to have learned it in this really practical way. And not just in this intellectual knowledge about, okay, here’s what to do, if my plans changed, like, let’s actually have you in a situation where your plans might change where you might be going on vacation, but you might be unwell, where you might be feeling really unmotivated about your business and unsure about your next step like learning how to power plan, then like that’s the best time to increase your productivity.

And you don’t have to be power planning perfectly, to be able to see incredible results with it. So when it comes to the three month commitment to power planning, that just means that for those three months, you’re not going to be in this mindset of do I like this is this working? Should I just go back to doing it to do lists, you’re going to put those questions on the table, and you’re going to give it your best for those 12 weeks. And it doesn’t mean you need to do it perfectly. It’s okay if your Power Hour takes longer than an hour, it’s okay, if you forget about your little tweaks for a couple of days, for a week, whatever.

It’s okay, if you skip your weekly review, it’s really just about that repetition and showing up and knowing that like with fitness, every time you do a workout, it’s gonna be different. It depends on how you feel that day what else is going on. But it’s still worth continuing. And the same is true with power planning, we don’t want you to be a few weeks in and then you reset back to week one. That’s not how it works. That’s not an option, you just have your 12 weeks, you know that for yourself. And for no one else, those 12 weeks will be perfect.

You are just learning how to plan properly, not perfectly properly, how to really set yourself up in a way that works for you a perfectionist mindset, so that you can get out of your own way and do the things that you know you need to do. So when it comes to power planning in this three month period, you will suck at it in the beginning. And that’s okay, like you will actually be doing pretty well. But because we were perfectionist brain you will be experiencing being bad at it and not doing it all right and not following all the steps. And that’s totally okay.

We really just want to be in this mindset of this is something I’m experimenting with. This is something that I’m trialing this is something that I’m willing to be bad at for a little while, so that I can get good at it. And then after that period of just showing up consistently, even imperfectly like, again, with the all consistent I mean not again, with your definition of consistency. It’s so powerful to actually define consistency as showing up more often than not. Inside PGSD, we talked about following through 80% of the time with your plans. You don’t have to get to zero procrastination and zero overthinking, it’s really just about showing up more often than not developing that self trust doing the things you know you need to do doing those needle movers.

Even if you don’t do that many needle movers is still better than that situation we talked about in part one, where you write the overwhelming to do list, you pick a few priorities, and then they’re too overwhelming. So you don’t do them. You do busy work, you feel guilty, then you attempt a needle mover, you don’t have enough time so you feel behind, then you add an even longer to do list like you’re in that burnout cycle. We don’t want that and even power planning out like if you’re doing it 20% of the way there, you’re still going to be so much more productive than if you aren’t using a method that actually works for your perfectionist brain.

So I do want to mention that in episode 333. I interviewed three PGSDers on what to expect when you first start power planning. So that episode is going to share a few different kinds of experiences with power planning what to expect what it looks like when you’re first getting started. But it’s so important to just know that you’re going to be giving it a go trusting the process, getting coaching, asking questions like knowing that, again, this is a skill, it’s not something you’re meant to instantly be good at.

So getting that support that’s available inside PGSD, and being able to have us at help you see your perfectionist blind spots and to be able to share with you what to do when okay, you overthought that task, and it took you two hours to write your email newsletter instead of 30 minutes. And so then you had this whole knock on effect, like, okay, let’s unpack that. Let’s have a look at that, and really create a compassionate plan for next time that happens, so that you don’t just then abandon your power planning altogether and say, Okay, well, I’m just gonna go back to the to do list, no power planning works. It has worked for myself, it has worked for hundreds of perfectionist entrepreneurs, I am so committed to helping you master power planning.

That’s why we have PGSD. That’s why it exists. And it has the coaching and support available, so that you were able to really have it be a practice that supports you and the season of life you’re in, and what else is going on for you in your business. It’s so important to have that support there to really hold you through that three month commitment and beyond. And also, when you are in that first three months of planning, you want to be noticing the little things that are working, rather than being on a thing about it.

Your weekly review will help with this, but our perfectionist brains does really want to focus on what isn’t working, what we’re struggling with. And we really want to be paying attention to okay, it really was to me when I gave myself a couple of hours to do this thing first thing in the morning. Rather than doing that in the afternoon. Like there are so many things you’re going to learn about yourself. If you are someone who already has a relatively high level of self awareness, but you love personal development, you love understanding yourself, then power planning is for sure for you.

Because you are really going to be able to get to know yourself in a way that is never going to be possible. If you are using to do lists and paper planners like you are really having with happen your own self coaching tool, you’re going to be able to change the way that you show up. Because of the self awareness and the insight you’re going to have to then be able to do self coaching which we teach you inside PGSD and to also be able to get coached by others which is so beneficial.

So I’m going to be wrapping this episode up here all about the three month commitment. I hope you found it incredibly helpful and that you really understand how to make a simple shift so that you can be committed to something for long enough to get good at it and see the result and I will talk to you in the next episode.

Before you go I want to make sure you know that the doors to my group coaching program for perfectionist entrepreneurs called perfectionist getting shit done aka PGSD are going to be opening at 6am New York time on the 10th of September 2023 But only for one week only. So if you want to be the first to know when the doors open or to find out more about the program, you can go to samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.

Author: Sam Brown