Tired of sabotaging yourself through the perfectionistic practice of setting the bar too high? You’ll treasure the insightful relief to be found in this post.
Perfectionism is not a lofty goal or enviable trait, it’s a fear-based illusion riddled with lies and characterized by force. Excellence is a love-based reality characterized by flow and grounded in the truth of who I am and Whose I am: a unique, cocreative expression of the Divine. Read on if you’d like to learn to thrive in the joyful freedom of excellence by liberating yourself from the painful self-imposed prison of perfectionism!
If you keep thinking you “need more”—more education, more money, more appreciation, more time—your motivation may be fear or one of its ugly cousins. Instead of looking to get more or be more before you start, look at what you have now. Everything you need is already within you. You just need to appreciate what you’ve got and start using it. There is no better time than now to take the first step. Now IS the right time and the right place.
If you wait for everything to be perfect, you may never start (which, by the way, is far from perfect). There will always be more you can do to prepare. Don’t let that stop you! You don’t need perfection to get results, you just need to start right where you are.
My experience publishing my first book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! (Hay House/Balboa Press 2013) provides a great illustration of this powerful technique in action.
Though writing a book made complete sense intellectually (head response), every time I thought about the scope, complexity, and importance of the project, not to mention the greater vulnerability that such increased visibility could bring, I would begin hyperventilating at the sheer magnitude of what was before me (heart response).
I followed my own advice; I didn’t force myself to do anything before I felt ready. I respected my intuition in the form of my energy for the project and set my intention to open myself wide to knowing what the best approach would be—content, design, flow, and timing.
One of my favorite tools to employ when I begin to block myself with the perceived enormity of a new project is to ask, “What if this is going to be much easier than I think?” Having opened the door to that delightful possibility, I immediately anchor it more deeply as an affirmation: “Writing this book is going to be easy, fast, and fun. Effortless, joyful, creative, rewarding. Just the ticket to help my practice and myself grow in new directions and touch more lives in support of the highest good for all.”
Remembering that early success fosters flow, I started with the parts I knew would be relatively simple. The constructive fuel from that fast sense of accomplishment helped me continue to flow right on into the more complex elements, one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page, one section at a time.
Then I let the project simmer on the back burner while I kept moving forward in other areas of my life. I checked back in occasionally, took the lid off the stockpot, gave it a stir and a taste. I added some new ingredients (rendered some new diagrams, wrote a few paragraphs or another chapter, incorporated and adapted some writing I’d just done for another purpose) and adjusted the seasonings (flipped the order of sections, changed the formatting for greater clarity, tweaked some language for greater impact). Then I put the lid back on and let it keep simmering. I started and completed many other projects, including pitching and launching my brand new radio show, during the ensuing months while the book “stew” kept becoming richer and more flavorful by the moment. Bubbling away, preparing for its perfect time.
I had originally set my intention to finish the manuscript by the end of October 2012. It was a somewhat arbitrary though logical date at the time I chose it. But as that date approached, I could feel in my heart that it wasn’t time because the new revelations I was continuing to receive would expand the value and impact of the principles for the reader. Had I forced a late October birth, much of the detail, nuance, and richness of chapter 6, “Your Personal Board of Directors,” would have been absent because it didn’t even exist in my consciousness yet. It would have been an okay book, but it would have fallen far short of what was possible. Relaxing into the Universe’s wiser plan led to delivering the final manuscript to my publisher on February 14, 2013 instead (an auspicious date for a book that’s all about the power of loving yourself unconditionally). The resulting depth of the personal board aspect of my Discovery Framework, and the coaching experience that spawned it, earned me my moniker as “The Gremlin Coach.” What a great example of the difference between fear-based procrastination and love-based percolation: the art of the productive pause. As always, it’s the energy underneath our thoughts and actions—love vs. fear—that makes the difference.
I encourage you to apply these same guidelines in your own life. Easy does it. Letting any shifts be as organic as possible is key to more substantive, longer lasting results. Begin with one tiny baby step toward one small desired change. No amount of progress is too inconsequential to celebrate. Each step forward is an important opportunity to stop, consider what you’ve learned, examine your new tools, realize your new strengths, and embrace with gratitude the joy that will take you to the next step. Celebrating each success is key to fostering the constructive core energy that will keep moving you forward. Noticing and demonstrating love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude for any resistance to change is as important to moving forward as celebrating your successes.
Remember, whatever you have before you, if you can believe it and begin it, you can achieve it. In the words of singer/songwriter, Kathy Mattea, “Spread your wings, close your eyes, and always trust your cape!”