As I write this newsletter, I have positioned my laptop in front the window in my office so I can absorb the rays of sunshine and bright reflection off the icy snow. I am staying indoors again today as arctic air and winds blow through the Midwest. I should be accomplishing great things during these days of “homeboundness” but instead I feel restless and anxious. This is the perfect time to dig deep into a conversation about perfectionism…..or is it?
I am currently enrolled in The Gifts of Imperfection eCourse with Brenè Brown and Oprah. We all want to experience a perfect life, perfect health, perfect children, perfect careers and eventually perfect retirement. Here are some of her thoughts:
- Perfectionism is other-focused—What will they think?
- Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life-paralysis.
- Perfection is an unattainable goal.
A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.
I am tired of how-to lists that are everywhere! I want to move into JUST DO’s!
What is holding us back?
Perfectionism. If I can’t do it perfectly, if the desired results are not realized or I might be disappointed when I reach a goal then I experience resistance to even starting. Resistance serves an important function.
I like to call this the balloon effect. It is very difficult to start blowing up a balloon. If you really want to blow it up then you will push through the initial resistance until the air flows easily into the balloon. The resistance serves as a test of will and desire.
Embrace the resistance, it is a sign that we are on to something bigger than ourselves.
The cost of not taking a chance and failing is greater than the cost of not trying something new at all. Practicing a new skill or formulating a new idea into reality takes repetition. One of my biggest downfalls is the inclination to give up early in the game. Without exception, at the time when I am ready to bail, the reward was on its way but had not gotten to me just yet. While I was frustrated about responses or engagement on the part of others, they were already thinking about me and ready to engage except I did not know it yet.
I decided to really catch myself every time I said the word perfect. I had no idea how much perfectionist language permeated every aspect of my life. The effect it is having on the people around me has gone completely unnoticed. As I begin to use alternate words, the people I am working with soften, smile, even glow…………who knew it could be this easy!