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Condoleezza Rice - What a Procrastinator!

11/04/2010 07:22 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reveals in her new book, "A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me" that she has battled with procrastination for most of her life. She says in her book, "Procrastination remains a problem for me to this day." The obvious question is: How can someone so successful be a procrastinator? 2010-11-04-condoleezza_rice.jpg

Successful people aren't perfect; they almost always have some part of their makeup that needs work. Some people are charismatic in front of a live audience, yet struggle with speech writing. Others are amazingly productive despite their lack of organization.

What many of these people do is find ways to compensate for the areas where they are weakest. For example, CEO's who are habitually late and who counteract this by setting their watches ahead.

Procrastination is another area that plagues a lot of accomplished people, yet they are able to pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat and complete the project every time. They do this by building in an adequate buffer to meet the deadline. Similar to "cramming" the night before a big exam, except they don't cut it that close. There's the "should due-date" and the "gotta due-date" and they don't go beyond the latter. Their crunch time doesn't ever put them in jeopardy of missing the deadline.

Charles Schwab, John Chambers and Richard Branson all have dyslexia. None of them have let this hold them back evidenced by the fact that each has been a CEO of a Fortune 500 Company. Prominent attorney, David Boies, known for being a star litigator (represented the Government in Microsoft anti-trust case) also has dyslexia. Because of this, he has to commit more to memory than most lawyers because his dyslexia hinders him for glancing at note cards in the courtroom.

The comedian and star of "Deal or No Deal," Howie Mandel, has obsessive compulsive disorder and avoids at all costs shaking hands for fear of picking up germs. On his TV show he compensates for this by doing a fist bump with the contestants.

David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways, has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Unfortunately, ADHD prevents him from being detail-oriented and completing daily tasks, "I have an easier time planning a 20-aircraft fleet than I do paying the light bill." Neeleman looks at the glass as "half-full", saying that with his disorder comes greater creativity and he credits the success of his airline with his ability to think outside the box.

Whatever you are personally struggling with in your life and career, there are ways to overcome it by working around it. Some people make the mistake of using these issues as a crutch, "I've never been a good writer" or "My organizational skills are bad," or "I have don't have the ability to focus," and give themselves permission to be held back.

Successful people have a mindset geared towards getting the results they want despite the obstacles. We look up to them and appreciate what they have achieved without realizing what they have to overcome on a daily basis. These people can give us the motivation to deal with whatever is currently holding us back and unleash our full potential.