I wonder if you, like many people, are often so focused on the daily tasks on your To Do list that you forget to stick your head above the parapet and take any time at all to celebrate your success?
Maybe you have an endless ‘To Do’ list which doesn’t get any shorter despite how many things you manage to tick off it? Perhaps you start the week with a nicely planned diary and then shit happens, and you end up getting up earlier and earlier and working later and later to get it all done? Possibly you are just so full of brilliant ideas, that you keep starting stuff that you just don’t have time to finish? And potentially you are your own worst critic? All you do at the end of the day or the week is look at all the stuff you didn’t get done?
You see a lot of us entrepreneurs are perfectionists when it comes to ourselves and our own standards. Unless we achieve everything 100% we aren’t happy. And that’s not really realistic, is it? Because no-one is perfect….(apart from me – lol – joking!). But seriously, it is easy to look at the pile of stuff we have to do today or this week and concentrate on what we are NOT achieving while forgetting how far we have come.
Now, there is nothing wrong with striving for improvement and trying to be the best you can be. The issues arise when you are stuck on perfectionism. People who are perfectionists create all sorts of emotional hurdles for themselves. They often set impossibly high goals, and then measure their own self-worth again those goals (wonder how that one’s going to turn out?).
And when they don’t achieve the goals they can become depressed. Or they procrastinate and don’t do anything because they are so worried about failing to achieve these unrealistic standards. And then – when they DO achieve something they dismiss it as having been ‘too easy’ and set even higher goals next time, leaving no time to actually celebrate their success.
Now I can almost hear you saying… ‘But what happens if I let go of my standards, Cheryl? It’s all going to go to pot, I won’t achieve anything!’.
Well, here’s the thing, as I already said there is a big difference between striving for the best you can be, and perfection. When you are striving to the best – then you are coming from a place of passion and happy motivation. When you are demanding perfection of yourself (or others) you are creating a massive amount of unnecessary stress, creating an unbalanced life, criticising yourself at every opportunity and linking your innate self worth against unachievable goals. You are basically setting yourself up to fail and saying it is OK to NOT look after yourself, NOT care about yourself, NOT be kind to yourself.
And that is just wrong.
You are more than your achievements. You are more than your mistakes. You are more than the tasks you complete (perfectly or not).
Finished….is more important than perfect. Imperfect action trumps perfect inaction every time.
And how do I know this? Only by experience. For example, the experience of last Saturday – which was our 1st year anniversary of Find Your Why and our celebratory dinner with our WHYS women and men. Was it perfect? Maybe, maybe not. Did things go wrong while planning the event – of course, they did. Did things go wrong on the night? Yep.
If you were there, you will know, we played a game of bingo with the prize being a free place on our next U.K. Retreat. It was all getting very exciting as we were getting closer to someone winning…… when the bingo numbers ran out ??? Doh! I’d downloaded an app with only 1-75 numbers & the tickets we had were numbered 1- 90!
Anyway, a little explanation to the room and a bit of on the spot planning and the next number called created a big shout of ” house” and the lovely Elizabeth Anne Walker won the £3,799 prize. What was especially wonderful about this is that we were able to donate all the profits from the raffle to Cystic Fibrosis in memory of my cousin Lynsey who died from the disease at the tender age of 27.
So – clearly – things happened that we hadn’t planned and not everything was ‘perfect’. However, if Marion and I had waited till everything was absolutely perfect we would be celebrating our 5th or 10th-year anniversary and would have missed a great night. The point was – it was perfect – in an imperfect sort of way. It was perfect because we had our wonderful tribe around us, and it was perfect because it showed us how far we had come, and it was perfect just because it happened.
Sometimes when you are in the daily mill of creating, fulfilling, selling, marketing, speaking, writing, coaching, invoicing, skyping and the million and one other things you try to cram into a week, you don’t take the time to think of how far you’ve come. Saturday was the crystallisation of how far we have come, and what is exciting is – it is only the first step.
So – take some time when you have read this blog, to have a think about how far you have come in the past 12 months. And if you really find that difficult – then drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s book in a time when we can chat and see if we can’t disengage your sense of self-worth from your To Do list and your perfectionism.