Planning a Perfect Path
Working with my clients has been a gift in more ways than I could ever have imagined. Yes, they are high caliber individuals, but often the topics they bring to the table, as well as those not spoken yet observed are amazing opportunities for growth.
So when I found myself in a conversation that triggered an idea for me it was no surprise… around an idea I’ve been playing with and noticing for quite awhile now. Often when these moments reveal themselves I don’t mention them, instead they spend some time rolling around on the edges of my awareness, sneaking in to other events and conversations that show a bit more, then a bit more, kind of like the proverbial onion being peeled.
Then while integrating some other leadership work I’ve been doing – you know, to stay sharp and up level myself – another piece came into view.
Now I want to introduce this concept, as I know that we are not alone. When one of us has an awareness, we can all benefit.
It first showed up in something Tom (let’s call him that), shared with me. He didn’t use these words but underneath I could feel it. Tom is a CEO of a small ($2.5M) company. He’s doing a great job of growing it in a mindful, conscious manner. As a result they’ve had steady growth and this past year was their best to date.
Tom is also the lead of his family, with kids and a wife who enjoys her work life. He has an additional revenue stream that brings in another 6 figures because as many who are growing a business he still invests lots of the profits back into the business. In case you can’t tell he’s a responsible, guy who wants the best for his family and team. They drive nice cars, own their home, take nice holidays, have some hobbies and the kids are quite busy too. A fairly typical family on the grow. You get the picture.
He’s living his values and is in touch with what’s important to him. Can you relate to that? I ask because many who are high achievers have a similar profile. You may not have kids, or whatever but you do share values.
One of the values that’s really really really important is to do our best. To do our best at all times. Which is great. Except we forget something. That in the pursuit of being our best we’ve become Perfectionists. Doing our best is often not enough. We push and push ourselves, chastising ourselves when we don’t succeed at Everything. From keeping the house perfect to our kids to our work life.
I’m certainly guilty of this… which is one of the reasons why I’ve been inquiring here. My clients are not unlike myself after all, so we share lots of attributes. This is one.
What I’ve noticed is that I’ve spent years going to bed each night noticing what I did ‘wrong’ that day. What wasn’t completed. What I perceived as not enough, not good enough, blah blah blah, and I’ve been relentless with this habit! It’s not only not serving me, but its highly possible that its lead to a myriad of ailments that I’ve had over the years. Decades of noticing where I’m not good enough, rather than where I’ve been Great. It’s great that I got out of bed that morning for a start!
My (and Tom’s and maybe yours too) wanting to be great lead me down a path of perfectionism. Perfect is pretty damn hard to achieve. Remember, Michael Jordan missed the majority of shots he made and YET he was still a champion. He was dong his best every day. He was pursuing something other than Perfection.
The shift is when we reorient around Excellence. This then is another game completely. Excellence is a journey. As we hold ourselves to a interest of this space we are able to give some grace to ourselves. And to others. Do we expect our team members to be perfect? Or our kids? Or how bout your dog? I’d guess not. What we are looking for is to see that they/we are doing all we can from where we are with what we have.
From here we can view our day differently. We can acknowledge our wins, include our losses, be curious about our course corrections, all without personalizing or judging Who we are. Who we are is just fine, who we are is perfect when we do so.
There are So many benefits to moving towards excellence. We let go of perfect. We allow for experimenting, we make room for some things to not work out without the need to berate ourselves or anyone else. (remember Einstein never failed, his experiments simply didn’t work out).
Excellence is a life long endeavor. It’s constantly being redefined as we grow and change. Like a flower its just as beautiful with the bud tightly closed as it is when its fully bloomed. Neither are ‘better’. Both are perfect and appropriate for that stage of growth. But wait… there’s more!
What has happened for me has been a bit of a miracle. Almost the same day that I shifted from shaming, guilting and pressuring my self (I’m such a mean boss!), some pain I’ve had in my body for the last year dissipated. As in: It. went. Away.
Honestly, I was shocked. Could it be that I had been poisoning myself for decades? That I had picked up where my mean family/teachers had left off? Holy cow. Yes that is possible.
Now I’ve been loving on myself as an experiment. Being kind. Cheering myself on as I do for others. Giving myself grace.
It’s been incredible and lifting so much weight off of my shoulders. When I move in this manner I can try new things. I can fail, or make a mistake. I can be wrong. All that and still Love me. Still love the effort, the intelligence the willingness to learn.
So I implore you! Please give yourself this gift. Let go of being a perfectionist. Look elsewhere. Appreciate yourself. The journey. Along the way you may find excellence, you may find some perfection… you may even discover the road to Mastery.
You may also discover more personal success than ever before. And wouldn’t that be excellent?!
p.s…Have you joined the facebook group yet? Free trainings and tips inside there too… at this link
Branding Specialist and Strategic Planner, J. Winslow brings decades of solid experience to each project and leader she interacts with. Clients range from non-profits such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, to Madison Avenue Biggies including: Women’s Day Magazine, Cover Girl and Elizabeth Taylor. She also enjoys working with TEDx speakers and students ready to leverage their own brand stories. Learn more here…