I found myself having a game changing conversation with a friend last week who wanted to do some coaching work with me and I want to share it with you because if you have the ‘need’ to be perfect all the time this conversation will be a real game changer for you too.
We were discussing the ‘need’ to be perfect aka The Fear Of Failure over making progress.
This is a very real thing for many people especially because one of the driving needs of the Ego is to always ‘Look Good.’
There was a time it was very real for me too. Not understanding this need to be perfect and avoid failure kept me in a place of limbo for 5 years after I decided to end my professional water skiing career because to me failing meant I wasn’t good enough and that was soul shattering.
For this particular friend she had been ‘trying’ to create a brochure for her business and because of her need to be perfect it has taken her 4 years to finally finish it.
That’s 4 years of procrastination to finish a simple brochure! Imagine how much business growth she lost….? That’s crazy talk right….? However it’s often the reality of being a perfectionist and fearing so called failure.
We had a bit of a laugh about it and then I said to my friend I have a very serious question for you because if we are going to work together how do I know you won’t use the excuse of ‘it’s not perfect’ to procrastinate or resist making the change you are asking to make?
Naturally she went very quiet and replied with ‘I was confused about what I had to do and now I’m not, I’m ready to do this.’
‘Ok’ I said… ‘I’ve noticed you’ve used the excuse ‘I was confused’ a lot in the past when we’ve had conversations about inaction and if you really want to make this change you desire I need to know if you’re confused you will get in contact with me immediately and not just take no action like what happened with the brochures because I’m here to support you and I have to know you’ll reach out if you need support.
I then asked another question to explore this further. ‘I’m just curious… What are you gaining with I’m confused’?’
Again she paused and then said ‘by being confused I don’t have to be perfect.’
‘How very interesting’ I said. I then asked her another question… ‘I’m just curious, what happens if you’re not perfect?’
She very quickly said ‘If I’m not perfect then I’ll die.’
As you could imagine by this point I was super intrigued. I had to ask another question… I said… ‘Again I’m just curious… Has there been any time recently where you haven’t been perfect’
‘Yes, plenty’ my friend said.
To which I giggled and I said very cheekily… ‘Ok, now I’m super confused… Would you mind explaining how this works… You just said if you’re not perfect then you die and then you told me that there have been plenty of times recently where you haven’t been perfect…
Something must be wrong, either the belief ‘you will die’ is not true or you’re doing it really wrong because you’re not dead… Please explain?’
My friend started laughing hysterically at how ridiculous the notion of ‘you have to be perfect or you’ll die’ was. She then said ‘so you mean I don’t have to be perfect and nothing bad happens if I’m not…?’
‘That’s correct’ I said.
After that her whole voice changed, she had this child like playfulness about her she said she hasn’t had for years. It was like this huge weight she had been carrying for years disappeared. I’m so excited to see what she does next now she’s had the realisation that she doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m sure it will change all sorts of things in her life.
In fact I spoke with her a week later and she said since we had this conversation she has done more work on her business then she had in the previous 12 months. All she wants to do now is get things done, it was such a powerful shift for her.
The morel to this little story is too often we put way too much pressure on ourselves to get things right we never actually do anything or if we do decide to give something a go we quit way too soon because we’re not doing it ‘perfectly’.
I see people do this all the time when it comes to making health and lifestyle changes. They get this crazy mind-set that they have to do it all right all the time and it’s so far from the truth.
From my experience I’ve noticed that the ones who make permanent changes to their health are not the ones who do it perfectly, they are the ones who make small changes over time and when they so called ‘fall of the wagon’ they get back on like it’s no big deal and keep moving forward.
Imperfect action is always 1000 times better than no action and trying to be perfect.
If you are a perfectionist at heart I want you to ask yourself these questions…
- What happens if you’re not perfect?
- Has there been a time recently where you haven’t been perfect?
- Did the thing in Q1 really happen?
- What is being perfect really costing you?
- Now that you’ve had the realisation not being perfect doesn’t equal doom and gloom, are you ready to start making progress by taking imperfect action like my friend?
If you liked this please share it with your friends and if you want to know more info about how you can move from perfectionist to super awesome progress maker please get in contact with me via the Contact tab on this site http://alphafitnesswellbeing.com.au/contact-us/