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Gerard Theoret: 3 Turns of the Screw

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Gérard Théorêt I am pleased to be able to share a guest post from Gerard Theoret, one of my friends from the Co-Active Leadership Program. Note that Gerard mentions Shirzad Chamine’s book Positive Intelligence, which I talk about in my post “On Human Potential,” which you might want to take a look at. Here is Gerard:In the story below, I write about “Procrastination”.  I submitted this draft to Miles Kimball for his blog and then wrote back telling him not to bother reading it, that I needed to rewrite it.  I didn’t think it would meet the standards for his blog.  I had previously shared with him that my Positive Intelligence test results showed

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Gerard Theoret: 3 Turns of the Screw

Gérard Théorêt

I am pleased to be able to share a guest post from Gerard Theoret, one of my friends from the Co-Active Leadership Program. Note that Gerard mentions Shirzad Chamine’s book Positive Intelligence, which I talk about in my post “On Human Potential,” which you might want to take a look at. Here is Gerard:

In the story below, I write about “Procrastination”.  I submitted this draft to Miles Kimball for his blog and then wrote back telling him not to bother reading it, that I needed to rewrite it.  I didn’t think it would meet the standards for his blog.  I had previously shared with him that my Positive Intelligence test results showed that my top internal saboteur is “Stickler”.

This is how Miles responded:  You have a challenge of discerning between (a) great ideas and curiosity about upgrading an essay and (b) perfectionism, or what Shirzad (Chamine) calls the "Stickler" saboteur.

I’m not going to let my saboteur have its way with me.  Here’s the essay in its original form:

3 Turns of the Screw!

Procrastination is probably one of my greatest self saboteurs. 

 Why do I procrastinate?  Am I lazy?  No!  

Am I easily distracted?  Yes, but I don't believe that that is the reason I procrastinate. 

What then?  Well, I often procrastinate about making seemingly important decisions because I worry that maybe there's a better decision to be made, and I want to take the time to do my due diligence about weighing the odds.  But, a good friend convinced me, yes convinced me, that means I believe it, that there are no bad decisions; you just have to make a decision and do what it takes to make it the right decision.  And, if for any reason that is proving to not be the optimal choice, make a new decision.  I try to remind myself of that when I get to those crossroads that keep showing up.  There's never just one opportunity or one challenge to leave or take; it seems to always be multiple choice for me.   

Do I get overwhelmed?  Oh yes, definitely, yes.  There is so much I want to do that I don't know where to begin.  So what do I do?  I run away!  I grab the car keys and drive over to my favorite consignment store or thrift shop and pretend I'm at the museum.  I can spend hours imagining the previous life of each item.  Disclaimer:  I'm not doing that right now because these stores are not open during Stay at Home restrictions due to Covid-19.  So now, I don a mask and put on my latex gloves and I escape to the grocery stores and while I'm out, I might as well stop at the Pharmacy and pick up extra vitamins.

Avoidance is only a temporary remedy.  In fact it's not a remedy at all; it's a momentary distraction.  I still have the To Do List sitting in front of me and the tightness in my shoulders and the feeling of guilt barely eased up through those brief excursions. 

And, I'm still not quite ready to face the music—the to do list.  I'll play a few of my on-going games of Word With Friends while I decide what I'm going to make for dinner.  After all, I can’t focus if I’m hungry.  Sometimes the games get interrupted by a ping on my phone.  Someone has sent me a very funny video with a political edge.  Oh, and the follow-up video in that stream is a very interesting take on that political view.  Oh, I think I need to forward that to another friend whom I'm sure will have a very sobering comment to make about that one.  And, I'd better go back and comment or at least react to that funny video.  

Oh, my goodness, look at the time.  I'd better do something about dinner.  Oh, the NEWS is on.  That's okay: I can prepare food during the commercials.

I can't "do" anything while I'm eating; I might as well turn the TV back on.  Oh, this must be a new series.  Oh look, they've melded these two series into a continuous story;  the firemen from this series are dating the doctors from that series. 

Look at the time.

I've got to read at least the next chapter in my book before I go to bed.

Okay, that was two chapters, but that was really quite enlightening.

I must go to bed.

Oh, no, I can't go another day without at least a short entry in my journal. 

Okay, maybe not so short.  Well, I did get a few things done. 

I think that my best accomplishment was the 3 Turns of the Screw.

For a couple of years now the door to the guest bedroom hasn't closed properly.  When I have guests I simply tell them to pull up a bit on the door handle and the door will close just fine.  It makes an obnoxious noise that grates on my nerves and it has pulled some of the paint near the top end of the door jamb, so I'll have to repaint the door jamb at some point after I've gotten that door fixed.  Just one more thing to do.  Add it to the list.

As I was putting away my measuring tape a couple of days ago, I noticed my multi-head screwdriver sitting there in the same box.  I was only a few steps away from that door.  I wonder if it might help to tighten that top hinge.

One, two, three turns of the screw and the door closes perfectly smoothly and quietly.

I wonder if there’s a lesson to be learned there? 3 turns of the screw!  Two years!

What is wrong with me?

Starting today... Whenever I find myself procrastinating or overwhelmed  or facing any other of my self saboteurs, I will say out loud:  3 Turns of the Screw.  I don't care if anyone hears. 


Before becoming a Life Coach and enlisting in the Coactive Training Institute’s Leadership Program Gerard Theoret’s background was in the Performing Arts.  Of note, he  played the role of The Baron in Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbanco; he was Artistic Director of Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo; he was Associate Artistic Director of the Canadian productions Phantom of the Opera; he was an actor at the Stratford Festival in Canada and was a Soloist with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.  He has been a Professor of Dance and Theatre at the University of Alberta and at Cornish College of the Arts. 

If you are interested in life coaching, you can contact Gerard at [email protected]

Gerard Theoret: 3 Turns of the Screw

Some things are easy.

Photo by Miles Kimball

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Miles Kimball
Miles Kimball is Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan. Politically, Miles is an independent who grew up in an apolitical family. He holds many strong opinions—open to revision in response to cogent arguments—that do not line up neatly with either the Republican or Democratic Party.

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