The energy behind perfectionism is the desire to avoid failure.
You can avoid perfectionism by lowering the bar, by lowering your expectations to a reasonable level.
But I am going to propose something different.
What if we took this one step further? Instead of lowering the bar, let’s get rid of it all together.
Change Your Mindset
What if we let go of expectations all together and focused on the process of living what we value? What kind of results could we achieve if we are no longer focused on the results, at all?
I will go back to our long jump example one more time. Instead of demanding that you make it to the 30 ft mark on your first jump, what if I just asked you to go practice doing the long jump ten times. There is no expectation of reaching a certain mark. I just want you to run and jump 10 times. If you do that…if you take that action, you Weill be considered a success today.
What does that do to your mindset? Are you more likely to try?
Are you more likely to feel good about yourself after you have lived the process of jumping 10x rather that focused on the result?
How good could you become at the long jump if you allowed yourself to focus on that process every day for a year?
What stress and heartache could you save yourself if you approached the long jump in this way?
What satisfaction and self-esteem could you have if you just simply focussed on the process?
If all you expected of yourself was to show up and complete the action of jumping 10 x, you could do that right?
There is no need to keep yourself from trying because whatever the result is, you are going to be happy with yourself. Confident in your ability to try.
Treat life like the experiment it is
This is one of the shifts I have made in my own life. I now treat life like an experiment. Instead of expecting some incredible result the first time I do something—-which used to paralyze me, keep me from acting. I now just do something. Then I collect the data——-what went well from my attempt? What could go better next time? What shift do I need to make for things to go better next time?
Then I try again and collect the data again. It is so gratifying to try and to learn from the outcome. I allow myself to learn and feel good about learning when I dot not expect certain outcome.
Treat life like an experiment. I am teaching my children this- If you were setting a goal for yourself in the long jump, what is a good goal to set? What is too easy? What is too hard? What is debilitatingly hard?
You could use a lot of time and energy just thinking about a goal. Or you can pour all of that energy into going out every day and running and jumping 10x a day to he best of your ability. I propose if you do that, you will exceed any goal you will have set and enjoyed the entire process, instead of just the result.
Process focussed, treating life like an experiment teaches us perseverance, flexibility, and diligence
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Meet Kathryn Ely
I’m Kathryn Ely and at age 50, I’m enjoying my very best life. I spent years as a lawyer and then stay-at-home mom helping others go out into the world and live their best lives. While this was very important to me, I did not realize that I was losing myself in the process. I followed all of the “shoulds” like “women should always care for others” and “taking time for yourself is just selfish”.
As two of my children were getting ready to go out into the world I realized I was lost, without my next purpose, and it was scary. So I went back to school and over the course of several years, I not only found myself, but I designed the formula for women in midlife to achieve their most fulfilling lives. It is my mission to equip as many women as possible with this design and the tools to make this chapter of their lives the best chapter.
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Imperfect Thriving is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.