I can remember telling my sons, and later on, individuals who reported directly to me that I found perfection to be boring and frustrating. I urged them to pursue excellence, or, in other words, to do the very best they could with whatever they had at the time. You know, “play the hand you’re dealt” in the best way possible.
Individuals who pursue perfection – and many of us have met them (and some of you may be one of them) – are never satisfied. They are always looking for one more piece of information or data to help them make a decision or take action. Oddly, they never make that decision and end up frustrated and, in many cases, demoralized. They are, in fact, very unhappy people. I sometimes describe those seeking perfection as individuals who are “studying all of the sides of a circle.”
Unlike individuals who set stretch goals and who are resilient in order to effectively deal with setbacks, perfectionists aim high goals (and in some cases unrealistically) in order to demonstrate their value to others. Then, when they fall short they become brutally critical of themselves. This, in turn, leads them feeling that whatever they do is never enough. Perfectionism, left unchecked, can lead to serious mental health issues. I read recently that research suggests that being too hard on yourself can actually limit one’s ability to achieve success. Being perfect makes it harder to think clearly because of the stress that it causes.
Here are 5 simple actions you can take to offset any desires you might have to be perfect:
Focus on the best outcome you can deliver versus harshly judging yourself.
Focus on taking action to keep moving forward and learning as you go.
See mistakes as normal and as learning opportunities, and not as a “failing grade” on the imaginary report card in your mind.
Set realistic and achievable goals and celebrate small victories. Learn to give yourself a “high-5” at every opportunity that you can.
When being threatened by overwhelm and frustration, stop where you are and identify one positive action you can take – big or small (small is preferred) – that will change the momentum in your favor.
Give it your best effort. It’s really OK not to be perfect.
Productive people get more done, achieve better results and earn far more than everyone else by devoting maximum time on being “focused” on their top priority.
Focus is a matter of deciding on what things you’re not going to do. Great results are achieved by how narrow you can make your focus. You need to be doing fewer things for a greater effect or impact, instead of doing more things that only results in side effects.
We all have a hard time finding that one thing because we’re committed to too many other things. We tell ourselves several lies: Continue reading →
Do you think you need better “time management” skills? Or do you need better “YOU management” skills? Without clarity of goals, there’s no way you can ever manage your time. Learn what you need to do to better manage “you” in this video.
Everyone wants to be a success. Yet very few realize the full measure of what it means to be a success. They end up settling for something less than what they originally set out to achieve. While success is personal to each of us, from my own observations there are common qualities and habits that the most successful people possess.
Look at this list of “10” ways successful people act and see how you measure up: Continue reading →
Right now, as you read this you are capable of significantly improving your performance if you have the courage to take that very first step to get started. And after that first step, the courage to take another and another until you have achieved your goal.
Your current habits define you. Do you have the courage to change those habits to help you re-define yourself to be the person you need to be to succeed?
Change is hard, and nobody really likes it because it makes you feel uncomfortable. To achieve your goals, you need to have the courage and stamina to push through that feeling of being uncomfortable so that you are comfortable with it and be the master of that change. Continue reading →
At times, I’ve used a simple exercise with clients to help them understand that they need to get out of their own way.
I ask them to look at a mirror and tell me what they see. The initial usual responses are “me;” the next James Bond; some famous personality; etc. The list could fill this page.
I then explain that they are looking at the main culprit, problem or obstacle standing in the way of their success.
After 5 or so minutes, I ask them to look in the mirror and again tell me what they see. There are no more cute responses or so-called witty responses. They are now skeptical and have that deer in the headlights look, wondering if I’ve asked a trick question. Continue reading →
You approach your role with an organized and focused “get it done now” sense of urgency.
You focus on results, not just “to do’s”.
You know how to evaluate risks that need to be taken and act only on the correct ones.
You practice positive self-talk that encourages you to believe in your abilities and properly challenge yourself.
You talk with others in a respectful but confident manner.
You are organized and in control; you can’t even spell “overwhelm” let alone talk about it.
You have no interest in blaming others or being overly critical of yourself (no self-guilt); you know that these activities (blame and guilt) wastes time and creates unnecessary emotional distractions.
You ignore negative feedback based solely upon negative opinions lacking any constructive alternatives.
You don’t worry about things you cannot control; you focus on what you can influence or direct.
You work on executing the fundamentals as best as you can, keeping everything as simple as possible.
There is a tale out there of a young and inexperienced seeker of knowledge who one day climbed to the top of the mountain to question and learn from the wisest and most revered man in the village.
The young man asked – “Where does wisdom come from?” The old man replied – “Good judgement” Then he asked – “Where does good judgement come from?” The old man stared intently at him and said – “Experience” Not satisfied, the young man asked – “Where does experience come from?” With a smile on his face the old man responded – “Bad judgement”
I’m sure that many of you have heard this story or one very similar to it. But what can we take from it? If it is wisdom and the best experience you seek, try starting with these 5 points:
You can’t always be right; accept it, but learn to keep your mind open to the possibilities that are out there.
9999% of the mistakes you make won’t kill you or anyone else. Never fear making a mistake because they offer excellent learning opportunities. What you learn from them will enhance your life. When you make a mistake, make a glorious recovery. And, try not to make the same mistake twice.
Learn to take smart risks – the road to success has “risk stops” along the way. Evaluate them and decide the right action. Don’t let the fear of risks derail you. As the story goes, the only way a turtle can move forward is to stick his neck out – be the turtle when appropriate.
Stop focusing on the tasks; don’t let a sheet on a yellow pad with lines drawn through “make work” tasks define you. Focus on the right ones and look to create value, not activity.
Trying to be perfect is not only impossible but boring and a waste of valuable time and energy. Strive to give 100% of your best effort 100% of the time.
Many of you go through life constantly worrying or obsessing over what others might think about you. You go out of your way to be liked; so much so you even compromise on your own values. You try way too hard to be part of who you perceive to be the “in” crowd. Most of these “crowds” really don’t care about you, so you end up being “alone” in a group. Why not be your own “in” crowd and attract the right people to be with? Stop looking for permission to act even though no one’s permission is needed. You are driven to want to be liked versus being respected. Stop sacrificing your own self-esteem and self-worth for others. Be the person who you respect first—the rest becomes easy after that.
Successfully running any type of business – whether small, medium or big – is hard work and requires the leader to possess a great deal of consistent clarity, focus, self-discipline, perseverance and resilience. These are some of the key skills needed for what I refer to as “Driving Business Growth.”
While the work associated with “Driving Business Growth” is hard, it is very doable. One of the keys to success is to break down the components of success into smaller and more concise – easily understood – elements to make them easier to act upon. To stress their importance, I refer to them as “Laws” in today’s Wake Up Call. The four laws shown here provide you the opportunity to build the footing and foundation for your success journey. Continue reading →