Perfection and Procrastination
Over the last few years I’ve noticed a recurring theme among clients. That being the myth of ‘perfection’. Believing that, when it comes to how we live our lives, we must reach for some flawless, idealised destination or outcome.
The problem with this belief lies in it serving the dual and conflicting functions of fuelling our ambition and drive - and then just as powerfully stopping us in our tracks. This is often manifested as a sense of feeling under pressure to perform to a certain unrealistic standard – resulting in lack of action (or procrastination) – to avoid the inevitable failure to achieve something that is impossible to achieve. Ultimately creating an underlying sense of discontent…
So if you’re interested in overcoming a perfectionist streak in yourself – here are two exercises I invite you to have a play with…
This is a great way of creating some space for yourself – to download any thoughts from your head to paper that will help you to start the day in the best way for you. It sets the tone for the rest of your day – before all those demands start flying in.
Spending even just 10 minutes on this can make a huge difference. All you need is a dedicated notebook and pen/pencil and a space for yourself to think/create/write/design - setting a clear and compelling intention for the day ahead. Rather than trying to force it to be something it ‘should’ be – let go of ‘perfect’ and just have a go and see what works for you… Here are some ideas to get started with:
How do I want today to be?
How will I be honouring my core values today? (e.g. how will I be kind, generous, loving?)
How will I make today incredible?
By the end of the day what will I be feeling most pleased with?
What are the skills, strengths and attitudes I will bring to my day to make this happen?
What do I need to accept or let go of that is not for me to change or control?
For this just find a quiet place to sit and reflect. You can have a notebook and pen/pencil handy to capture what emerges for you. Close your eyes and imagine you are much older, sitting quietly on your rocking chair, feeling relaxed and contented, casting your mind back over your life. Ask yourself:
What are my fondest memories as I think about the life I have lived?
What gives me the biggest sense of pride and satisfaction?
What are my greatest achievements?
What difference have I made?
What will I be missed for when I am gone?
What regrets do I have – if any?
Then back in the present day:
Who do I choose to start ‘being’ and what do I choose to start ‘doing’ today to enjoy these memories in years to come?
These two exercises are about drawing yourself forwards with genuine desire and energy and aim to reduce any fear of having to be perfect or reach a perfect outcome.
So keep making space for exploring and experimenting with these thoughts and ideas so they can emerge and expand. Write it all down, draw it, speak it, imagine it. Whatever way - get it out there and start living it... I can’t wait to hear how you get on!
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