Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let the Perfectionism Go... (Read Time: 3 min.)

What does being perfect mean to you?

If perfection is something you can't possibly achieve, what's the reward your perfectionism attains in trying?

When your best is never good enough, how do you love ALL of who you are?

At some point, we perfectionists have to come to grips with one truth:

Being perfect never made anybody happy.

I was writing a lesson today called "Getting it Wrong is Key to Getting it Right" and I was thinking about how my perfectionistic tendencies have been operating in my life lately. I consider myself one of those "driven" people. I know I can achieve anything I set my mind to which means when I don't achieve a certain thing or land in a certain spot by a certain amount of time, I have nobody to blame but myself. That then leads me to work harder, heavier, go for more, accept less, and, before you know it, I'm back on the team of my inner critic going "You've got to do better!"

How's that working for me? Outside of the tightness in my chest, the clenched jaw that's become a habit, and the tendency I have to dive in deep on an area and not come out until I come out on top, it's not... So I wrote the lesson below for me and you because, truth be told:

Getting it wrong is key to getting it right...

Lesson 44- Getting it Wrong is Key to Getting it Right

Perfectionism is not a medal of honor. Most people call themselves "perfectionists" (including me) and think that it's a good thing. Perfectionism is one job title that the inner critic loves to hide behind. Since perfection isn't a viable option for a human being, when your life quest is to be perfect, you meet, time and time again, with failure. Trying to be what you weren't born to be is a hard place to live. Glorifying the act of "getting it right" is what causes people so much pain. A big part of getting it "right" is getting it wrong.

Failure is a step forward when you can see the lesson of the result and renegotiate your approach to the plan. People who are too afraid to fail are too weak to truly succeed. At some point, you have to be willing to take a risk, willing to fall on your face, willing to get back up again, and willing to do something different... without taking it personally. There are at least a thousand ways to get any one thing done. If you believe this, failure isn't a big deal. You understand that when a less than desirable result occurs, it's a prime opportunity for learning. You get to learn what not to do the next time. You also get to file away the plan that didn't get you to where you wanted to go so you know not to use that plan the next time. All in all, failure adds to your success if you're willing to learn the lessons of it.

Stop insisting that you can't move forward with a particular task unless you know it's 100% perfect. Stop taking a poor result personally and thinking that someone's turn down equates to you not being good enough. The only person singing that "not good enough" tune is you. Stop beating the drum of "It has to be perfect to be acceptable." Most of life's most valued treasures are so valued because they are imperfect. At the end of the day, you will crucify or resurrect your success based on your perception of what "getting it wrong" really means.

Let go of perfectionism. Getting it wrong is key to getting it right.

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