Do you have moments wondering “What on earth am I doing?” or observing a serious lack of trust in yourself? If there’s one term I’ve heard in abundance lately it’s “I have self-doubt”. Whether I’m networking, working with clients or chatting with friends it seems we all have moments of self-doubt running parallel with a case of the speed wobbles. Many of us become paralysed by it, leaving us running round in circles.
Self-doubt is defined as a lack of confidence in one’s self and ones abilities. So why is it self-doubt is making such an appearance at a time when we have content galore to help grow our confidence, positive mentoring a phone call away and app’s at our fingertips to solve every problem?
And oh the irony. I have been sitting on completing this blog for a good few weeks. Then it hit me. I had doubt around my abilities and experience to write about this topic. I finally had the realisation that much of this inner chit chat had no substance. So I did some research, delved into what I know from hours of coaching and here’s what I learned.
Self-doubt comes in all shapes and sizes. I’m not sure I’m smart enough to get ahead at work. I’m not good at maintaining friendships. I’ll never be able to reach my goal weight. But what it all boils down to the old chestnut, belief and fear of I’m not good enough. You are good enough of course but right at this minute you are very much not buying that story and instead choosing to not back yourself.
Imposter syndrome is a classic phrase closely linked with self-doubt. I feel like I’m completely winging it and one day everyone will find out I’m a fake. Wow, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that cracker! The ultimate in doubting ourselves at work, not trusting or believing in our abilities. Sure, there are folks out there who are totally winging it but for most of us we have the knowledge, experience and practical know how to be in a role. So why put energy into believing we’ll be caught out? Well, my friends it’s been noted that this doubting business also appears to function exceptionally well as a phenomenal excuse card for not stepping up, pushing harder or going further.
Is there a quick fix for self-doubt? Not exactly as it often stems from stories from our past that we’re holding onto. Whether they be real or imagined, if we’re holding onto resentment, guilt, shame for mistakes of the past they will all lead to self-doubt. Often many people fear they will repeat their own past mistakes or from something a parent has done. And as we know the more we focus on this fears the more likely it is to come to fruition.
In order to overcome self-doubt we need to consistently practice self-forgiveness and self-compassion. As well as doing ourselves a big favour – drop the judgement. How harshly we judge others is a direct reflection of how harshly we are judging ourselves. The same goes for those of us with perfectionist tendencies.
According to a special report Loving You in the spring edition of Wellbeing Australia , if you doubt yourself you are settling for less. To move away from this they suggest we put our attention towards self-empowerment. Acknowledge you create your world and own your choices – no need for external approval or apologies required. We would also want to focus on self-expression – how open are you with your communication style? Do you let have a creative outlet? How authentic is it?
The way our minds are wired for survival we will always find a bit of self-doubt popping up but how much power will you give it?
Whether we are cruising along nicely or feel like we’ve been foot-tripped and skidding sideways precariously towards 31st of December, there’s no denying 2016’s days are numbered.
I’ve always been curious as to why the 31st of December feels like a virtual finish line and 1st of January an invisible start line. But if like most of us you adhere to this, the end of the year break does make for an excellent time to review, reset, regroup and renew.
Speaking at a recent event in New Zealand last week, many people fed back they simply wanted more time to catch their breath, relax and not feel guilty about it in 2017. Other clients have said they want to reprioritise their health specifically around better eating habits, find new interests outside of work, less time on social media and make a conscious effort to extend their social circles. What’s on your agenda?
This kick off with a bang and a plan for ’17 will take fifteen minutes max but an hour is ideal. It’s very painless – in actual fact quite pleasant. And rocks a lot harder than any New Years resolutions you will make for one night and keep for about 10 days. Grab your paper and pen and answer the qs below.
# 1: Yes, I did that. CELEBRATE 2016.
What was absolutely awesome?
What did you learn? There is no failure only feedback.
Who are you grateful for? (Let them know!)
What will you take with you into 2017? A learning or success perhaps.
#2: Time to move on. LETTING GO.
What are you willing to let go of? If you only answer one question answer this. So many of us avoid it but it’s fundamental if you want to grow. Is there a project that’s been on the to do list for years that isn’t happening? An event which you’re cursing yourself about? An emotion which is holding you back? A person who isn’t positively influencing your life and bringing you down? Have the conversations you need to and MOVE ON.
“Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop” Rumi.
#3: Here’s what I want to happen and why. ACTION STATIONS.
Name 5 things you want to commence, change or complete. And if not now, when? They can be habits, goals, a review of your personal brand ‘story’ or even a sabotage clean out.
Zones to consider: career, relationships, adventure, personal development, health, education.
For each game changing action list at least three reasons WHY you want it to happen. Without VERY good reasons you’ll find it ends up on your ‘did not complete’ list.
#4: I must I must I must keep going. MAINTENANCE & MOTIVATION
What will you read/ learn more about to propel you forward?
When does your plan start? We all know what “Next Monday” means. Commit to a date.
How often will you review your plan?
Who is on your team for 2017 to help make everything happen ?
When you lack motivation what/ who/ how will you get your momentum back? Have a reset strategy.
Share your plans with at least one close buddy who is good at holding you accountable. AKA your accountabilibuddy.
Visualize it. One of the strongest ways to make it all happen is to visualize yourself enjoying your success this time next year. Email me if you need some visualization resources.
That’s it. Easy as. Enjoy your holidays and here’s to a fantastic 2017. Now to go make it happen.
No one really writes about this. And this is why. The best coaching session is dynamic and malleable because every client has a different perspective, challenge or opportunity to discuss each time. It doesn’t follow a step by step formula like in other professional services. However if you’ve never had a coaching session here’s a basic synopsis for perhaps a first time client.
You meet with your coach in a location where you feel comfortable to speak openly and after a brief intro you’ll discuss the specific area of your life where you are challenged at the moment. It’s here you’ll decide with your coach the desired outcome for the session and quite often it’s not the original challenge you thought. Coaching can be done in person but nowadays it’s just as common to speak with your coach on the phone or over Skype. My coach is in New York!
You then begin a coaching conversation where the coach listens as you explain the situation. A good coach won’t get involved in the story. Rather they are listening for beliefs, comments, patterns, body language and may stop you mid-story if they feel they already understand enough.
A trained performance coach will ask smart insight-giving questions. As mentioned in my previous blog on What is coaching, it is not about advice. It’s about asking the questions to get you to think outside of what you are currently able to ‘see’. While a coach will provide a safe, trusting environment they are not your friend so they are able to challenge you in a way in which perhaps family or friends would not.
These questions will bring about realisations in terms of your current situation and where you might be holding yourself back. As you are in a trusted space without judgement you are free to express where you are having difficulties.
It’s at this time your coach may prompt you to start thinking of opportunities or solutions you hadn’t imagined before. Once you’ve tabled these you can decide on which option is most viable given where you want to get to.
Next up is setting a plan. This is not just about setting some SMART goals and setting sail for Tahiti with a mojito in hand. Your coach will hold you accountable to what you’ve committed to. And yes, we all get busy and have reasons for not completing our tasks but it’s amazing when you know you have someone to report back to (who you’ve invested to keep you on track) how much more likely you are to complete what you committed to.
Finally you’ll finish up with a brief summary of your session and a check in on how you now feel about your situation at hand. Together you will set some targets and there may be some extra reading or work to complete before you met again.
This is a super basic format however every coaching session is different. Coaches have many models and techniques to use so you should never feel like it’s the same old routine every time.
Sometimes it might be quite goal oriented while other times you may explore a behaviour or belief for example a lack of self-confidence or your procrastination habits, then find ways of shifting your mindset to change your outcomes.
Of course to really know what a coaching session is like you need to experience it for yourself. Reach out if you’re interested in finding out more.
Controversially, I’m not starting off this year discussing the craft of goal setting or how to be super focused for 2016. Rather I wanted to share some thinking around stories and the important role they play in shaping our reality. If you find yourself asking a rugby sized team for their opinion on a challenge you have or wonder why you keep receiving the same results over and over this may present some enlightening insights into how you can change your story to positively impact your internal and external world.
Personal branding is the latest in a slew of buzz phrases in personal development land. And it’s certainly worth a thought. In marketing we talk about positioning, leverage, engagement and targeting however a large chunk of a product or service’s success is the consistent story which is being told internally and externally. Our personal brand or story is no different.
As we are all very aware our thoughts and actions create our reality. If we’re not happy with the results we’re getting in one area of life, the answer is simple. Change the thoughts and the consequential actions. And as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog the story you are telling your audience is also the story you are telling yourself – only you are the person hearing multiple times over.
When we are ‘high on life’ from the potential of a new relationship, exciting career opportunity or weight loss achievement for example our flurry of positive energy is infectious. The majority of folk are drawn to our stories like bees to a honey pot and as Jon Gordon writes in The Energy Bus, those who are not are quickly dismissed as we float or fly between groups spreading gently or loudly our tales of success feeling confident, enthused and full of momentum.
However as we know life isn’t always like that. There are times when we might miss out on a promotion at work, a family member hurts us with unkind words or despite efforts our health goals are just not happening. We tell one colleague, we share it at home, next we tell a concerned family member and with some friends over brunch. Before we know it, we have a team of experts giving their opinion on our situation and we’ve given this story so much energy it’s has its own TV show. This wasn’t our intention of course. We were simply after some insights. But now the aftermath results in multiple phone calls to see if we’ve taken the advice, our instinct is clouded with judgement of others and we are becoming the starring role in our increasingly dramatic story. It feels heavy, confusing and weighs negatively on our minds.
When our stories are having a negative impact we have a choice. We can choose a different script. Rather than buying into the story, we can choose not to give it as much energy. We can decide to confide in the person who knows us best. Ourselves! Check in and query what is this actually about? If a person displays an attribute we don’t like, is this something we don’t like about ourselves? Are we sabotaging results by playing the lead role and what are we getting out of it? If we want to air our thoughts and bounce ideas, choose only a couple of key people who aren’t going to turn it into an episode of Home & Away whether that’s a trusted friend, mentor or coach. And a final note own your story. Be wary of becoming a dumper, someone who offloads dramas onto others leaving them in the wake of our problems.
Let me be clear. This isn’t about being inauthentic and fabricating picture perfect stories of our worlds. Nor is it about suffering silently when we feel hurt by a situation and need help dealing with it. It is simply suggesting we become conscious of the daily scripts we are running, own them and be prepared to change course when they are no longer useful.
Some questions for you:
What is the main story you are running with right now?
How much negativity vs positivity is there?
Is it going to move you towards the life you want and make 2016 your best year yet?
Do you need to understand your story further and consider how it might need to be tweaked in order to move you forward?
As Rebecca Campbell wrote in Light is The New Black “She left the old story behind her and stepped into a new once upon a time”.
My Nan did yoga until well into her 80s and mum has been doing it for over 40 years. My dad claims to have been an avid yogi in the 70s but none of us have seen one pigeon pose. He claims it’s all in his mind. I have an on/off affair with yoga. I did it every day in July but only 3 times since then. Oops. So while I’m super excited to be joining the Wanderlust tribe I have been a little apprehensive as to experiencing yogues full time for 4 days.
Day one. I’m a newbie. My buddy isn’t turning up till Day 3 so I’m lurging looking for new yoga friends – anyone? I used to feel really uncomfortable meeting new people (networking guide blog coming in November) but Ive found the more you do it the easier it gets and luckily for me yoga folk are super friendly especially the Wanderlust team.
I kick off with some meditation under a tee-pi. Clear head. Tick. Done. 5 year old Bec is drawn to the hula-hoop dancing session. And after about half an hour of awkward thrusting, wiggling & whacking my comrades with my hoop – I got it! Look, it’s not something I’ll be doing back on Bondi beach but it was fun.
Hungry, all I could find in a hurry was Mexican which was NOT a good idea before SUP (stand up paddleboard) yoga. I’d been hanging out to try this for a while. And it was HARD. Good hard but I was the first to schimmy sideways (gracefully) into the water after a very tricky warrior pose gone wrong and let me tell you the Mexican swirling about in my tummy did not help. But I loved it & will definitely do it again. I joined the press conference at the end of the evening with a delightful sunset backdrop over Twin Waters, Novotel. It dawned on me what a massive feat it must be to curate, design and engineer this festival. I can’t wait for tomorrow.
First a confession. I am one of those annoying early bird types. I kicked off today at 5am hiking up a steep path to Mt Coolum to discover serene pano views. I slip slid my way back down the hill to join a Surf 101 class. The sea had more motion in it than my washing machine on a heavy cycle but the crew created an awesome yoga / mindfulness blend with a surf lesson – my brain even recalled how to stand up on the board and I fell in love with surfing all over again. Full of ‘must get back into this when I get home’ type feelings.
Next up I chose to listen to Lola Berry (a well-known nutrition personality in Australia) talk about keeping an eye out for nasties in your food. The worst one – for those of you who drink ‘diet’ anything was the chemical 951 – it’s absolute poison. Ugh what are we doing putting this stuff in our bodies! Another super interesting point and I know many of you might relate – is getting a little too obsessed with one type of super food, O-ding on it and sometimes even forming an allergy. Guilty! I did this by having kale every day for a year in my green smoothies. It sounds so simple but variety is the spice of life right? Just because bone broth is awesome doesn’t mean we need to have it everyday.
The afternoon was spent in three 90 minute yoga classes back to back. Yes three. No time for any leisurely Mexican today. If I’m honest, today all I ate was protein bars – hmm not sure what Lola would say about those nourishment options. I’ve done enough hip opening and ‘attempted’ crows to last me till Christmas. The yogatainment was in full force with how to workshops, bends and mantras giving me the realisation that there is a lot more to yoga than a simple downward dog.
There’s heaps of cool music tonight but I’m exhausted and this early bird needs to be ready for tomorrow’s 630am meditation on the beach. Tweet tweet. Time to press the activewear!
Another perfectly stunning day on the Sunshine Coast. Kicking off the day at 630am with a standout visualisation meditation from Swami G. I know this isn’t everyone’s cuppa tea but if you can handle sitting on a picture perfect beach and taking a few deep breaths in and out you would cope.
Next up was Acroyoga for beginners. Let’s just say I won’t be signing up for Cirque de Soleil anytime soon. It’s really interesting to observe the ego during challenging new experiences like this where it’s easy to compare yourself to others or ‘wish’ you could be better. I managed a half flying something and while it wasn’t pretty it did feel pretty cool and the best bit is playing like a kid again and not taking everything so seriously!
Sampled a ‘living pizza’ today. Yes all raw, organic, GF, DF etc etc. It tasted delicious. Pity my stomach didn’t really agree so much.
Some cool chats about self-love, managing positive and negative core beliefs and a sneaky nana nap on the beach before a final 90 minute class on setting intentions and rocking a few vinyasa moves to Fat Freddy’s drop (all the classes have DJs most of which are kiwis – only the best!).
I’m so tight from all the downward dogging and planking I could hardly pop my left hip while listening to the legendary sounds of Donovan Frankenreiter – a free massage tent is probably a good idea for a sponsor next year.
Wow. That was an awesome experience. Here’s what I learnt after 4 days of Wanderlusting on the Sunshine Coast.
I really enjoy yoga and the zen zone it gives me (could’ve been tricky otherwise)
Ayurveda translates to the science of life. I loved the thought that everything in life is food – all you take in you absorb. Consider what you are digesting and surrounding yourself with.
Totally agreed with the concept taught to students from Duncan Peak of Power Living Confrontation with expectation is manipulation. Confrontation without compassion is abuse.
Keep your eye out for Teff – it’s going to be the new super food.
There are three parts to your shoulders – thanks Amy Ippoliti from yogaglo.com. It’s change how I look at posture. Stand proud like a toddler.
Noticing my ego during a yoga dance class telling myself I looked like a fruit loop then getting over myself & enjoying the experience so much more.
Sharing Wanderlust with a wonderful friend was a real bonus as was having time on my own to process ‘stuff’ and met some really lovely folk.
The heart has it’s own version ‘brain’ according to research done by HeartMath is the U.S. They’ve also found our heart communicates via electromagnetic field interactions with our brain that can be detected 5 or 6 feet away. Fascinating. More.
There are some really strong, flexible, talented young women out there providing awesome role models for women of all ages.
While my pigeon may’ve improved, my crow and headstands are very much still a work in progress and I’m happy to leave acroyogues to the experts.
It’d be awesome to see more guys at these events. There are just as many classes which would appeal to blokes who like keeping in shape.
Blogging everyday is intense but satisfying.
I love the Sunshine Coast. The temperature, the beaches, the vibes. Hello #happyplace.
Don’t leave dropping off your hire car till the last minute. My zen momentarily disappeared as I realised I had 5 minutes to drop the rental car off at a closed office, with no where to leave the key a bit down the road from the airport. Sprinting to the departure gate was er… exhilarating.
After one of these events you always make big claims about all that yoga, surfing, meditation and Qi Dong you’re going to squeeze in. I’m being realistic as I plan these into the week and having a yoga buddy to hold me accountable will also help when I get a case of excusesology.
The team at Wanderlust produced an incredible festival. If you like yoga, wellness, meditation, cool tunes and want to get out of your routine then definitely consider checking out one of their upcoming festivals. You don’t have to do 4 days – there are day passes but I think at least two day is ideal to fully soak up the vibe and stretch out your body and mind in a fun, supportive, open, friendly community vibe. I’ll definitely be back.
Last week I asked a client who was pondering their next move What is it you actually want? They were stumped. I think often we can all be guilty of being on auto-pilot, drifting into careers (and other areas of life for that matter) which we feel like we didn’t choose but know deep down we simply weren’t in tune with what is really meaningful to us. It’s time to turn off the auto-pilot button people!
Next week I’m fortunate enough to be joining the media crew at the Wanderlust Festival on the Sunshine Coast. Wanderlust.com is a mindful living community created in the U.S. based on yoga, meditation and fun times where their brand ethos is ‘Find your true north’. I love this!
So what’s your true north and are you living and breathing it?
In the book “I could do anything, if I only I knew what it was” author Barbara Sher points out how many of us end up in careers which have been heavily influenced by our parents without us even realising (sneaky!). Just list all the careers your closest elders wanted you to do when you were 12 and you’ll understand why you were so confused at high school and sought advice from the guidance counsellors dodgy ‘career-picking computer system’.
All too often we end up in roles where the work/ life balance is unsustainable, we like the job but not the people/ leadership, we just drifted in there, the actual work is disappointing or we ‘make it’ & then feel unfulfilled . But then it’s ok for a bit. And then it isn’t. And it continues until you crack & go walkabouts or straight into another role which looks different from the outset but is just the same with a different wrapper. And while I’m not suggesting their is a perfect job out there which will be 120% ace everyday I can assure you there are people who’ve found their true north and are thriving.
One of the most simple, yet useful guides to finding a career you love is this:
What are your intrinsic drivers ? List everything you LOVE to do but then ask what is it about them you love. Go back to childhood & right up to now.
What do people close to you give feedback that you’re good at (I even did a survey of friends to find this out about 10 years ago & still missed the clues so pay attention!)
What are people going to pay you to do. If this is a new career you want to make sure it’s not just a hobby.
If you’re more a ‘realist’ try describing the worst job you could ever imagine and then flip it on it’s head for the opposites. Or work with a buddy who asks you What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A key to finding your true north doesn’t have to start with how you make a living – it might be volunteering, joining a new club, contributing to your community or trialing out new activities which excite you. Just start something!
When the All Blacks win the next rugby world cup the Kiwis will have no problem celebrating. When your friend, colleague, child or even pet has a success you have no issue applauding. But giving ourselves a high five when we make it to a milestone & shouting “Good on me” from the rooftops? It seems to feel a little squeamish.
As The You Project turns one this week and LinkedIn’s constant alerts signal more excitement about the anniversary than me I questioned why is it that I felt so uncomfortable celebrating. Particularly outwardly. Down-under we like to think we have a ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ criticising any sign of a self-promoter however Tony Robbins who has worked with millions of people worldwide assures us we are not that special, this is a worldwide phenomenon – we just have a good name for it.
Most of us were brought up not to brag about achievements and those kids that did were certainly frowned on. But why do we accept someone being proud of their achievement as bad? Is it possible to re-frame our beliefs around this in order for us to display pride more freely?
One of the most common barriers to acknowledging success is worrying about what people will think. But as Marie Forleo reminded clients in a recent vlog there are always going to be people who judge you. Key question: Who are you living your life for? Are you trying to live your whole life not judged by anyone? Because we know that is actually not possible and attempting it is going to be very unfulfilling. Draw a line in the sand & leave the naysayers who judge where they are – they’re not likely to be crucial to your success anyway.
Setting very high standards and the ‘I’m not enough’ syndrome also hold us back from celebrating success. “Once I have reached 1,000 clients or when I get the promotion then I’ll celebrate”. But this is a moving goal post. If you work like this, there will always be another goal to achieve and you’ll also miss out on the awesome dopamine which comes from acknowledging an awesome outcome.
How to say “good on ya” and reap the rewards:
Enjoying your success builds confidence, self-worth and creates a positive energy around you which people find infectious and want to get on board with.
Acknowledging your achievement inwardly by meditating, journalling or pondering as you exercise recalling HOW you got to where you are today. The lessons, the wins and the challenges you overcame along the way.
It’s not ALL about you. Celebrate your achievements with those key players who helped you get there & spread the good vibes by asking them what they have done lately they are proud of?
Celebrating doesn’t have to be a big night on the ‘turps’ or a $500 day spa package. Come up with a list of small treats, activities or moments.
YOU are the key pillar to the success in your life. If you can’t say good job to yourself why should anyone else?
The YOU Project is still very much in its infancy. No bids for takeovers just yet. It’s been an exhilarating roller coaster ride of self-discovery, intensive networking and dealing with an HR manager, marketing and finance departments with different agendas has had it’s moments. However while there is so much still to accomplish I have made it to a year. Every day I still feel so excited to work with my awesome clients and help move them to more fulfilling places. I get to learn and develop new inspiring content, create workshops and have some awesome projects in the pipeline. A massive part of my year has also been reaffirming what incredible support I have from my network of mentors, clients, family & friends which has given me so many rewarding opportunities.
So I’m going to toot my horn this week. Toot toot. I’m proud The YOU Project has turned one. I’m not worried if people judge me for feeling a bit of goodness. That is their choice. I’m walking the walk of what I spend my days encouraging my clients to do – take a moment to go “Yes, actually Bec, good work, keep it up”.
So what latest achievement are you proud of? Your task for this week is ASK 3 people what they are most proud of at the moment then share yours – a little self promo never hurt anyone. I want to hear about it!
Finally, a massivethank you to all the awesome clients, mentors, family and friends who have been so incredibly supportive to me these past twelve months. I look forward to celebrating with you all soon.
I’m a straight shooter. And I’m not afraid to point out the glaringly obvious. It’s 1 July today. We’re half way through 2015. Around about now you start procrastinating about tax or filling in your automated yet clunky KPI Internal Comms system ‘demonstrating’ what a terrific year you’ve had so far for your manager to rush through to meet internal deadlines. But here’s something outrageous. How about putting some time aside to actually reflect on your year so far?
Here’s some key questions to kick start your own personal mid-year review.
Source your goals, be they in your head or on paper. How are you tracking? What have been your wins? Where do you need to focus your efforts to keep winning? What has slowed you down & how will you look to solve these challenges?
Your approach. Rather than being attached to a set outcome as you begin each action, consider your strategic approach for each goal especially around who you are being. Do you need to adjust your openness to improve a relationship? Can you find more joy in the everyday, seemingly mundane things?
Your support crew. Who are you going to recruit/ keep on board to assist you to make the rest of 2015 a stellar year? Equally who will you offer support and advice to you – remembering contribution is a key attribute to achieving greater happiness in your life.
Imagine it’s the Christmas party season of 2015. You’re making the rounds. When people ask you how your year was what do you tell them? Make a list with all the areas important to you e.g happiness, health, fitness, love, career, finance, relationships, travel, family, hobbies, home, etc
What are three actions you will commit to completing this week to get you on your way to achieving your big ticket items and small every day wins? Email them to a trusted friend who will hold you accountable or feel free to send them my way.
Ideally set aside 1-2 hours to reflect, refocus and refresh your outlook for 2015 but if you can only find 15 minutes just do it! You’re well ahead of the game already by even reading this.
I have a few places left at my women’s workshop The Direction Momentum in Bondi on 12th of July. A great opportunity if you or anyone you know is drifting along or needs some motivation!
I noted recently how many metaphors and language there is around focus and goal setting with roads and travelling. Journeys, direction, path, momentum, wheels in mud, road map, stuck at a fork in the road, the road less travelled, crossroads, life intersections the list goes on. So I thought the image I took en route to Mt Hutt , Canterbury, N.Z. on Saturday was apt for today’s blog.
Have you ever noticed how much time you spend in your head, analysing a decision, procrastinating on a potential direction, dithering over a different choice ? You may have a good old chin wag with yourself or share it forever and a day with anyone who will listen but it still goes on and on with no resolution in sight.
Last night I discovered my Nana’s great grandparents from Donegal, Ireland aged 18/19 made the incredibly brave voyage as so many did, to the Antipodes in 1863. They settled & married in Maitland, NSW (Hunter Valley) – I like to think this was a voluntary move as opposed to them being of the convict persuasion! After five years, in 1868 they moved to Greymouth, New Zealand. First question – did they hook up on the boat & THEN get married?? Secondly I acknowledge if it wasn’t for their decision I wouldn’t be here today but initially I questioned their choice to move to Greymouth – WHAT were they thinking? I could be an heiress to a vineyard by now though admittedly supporting the Wallabies would be a travesty. I sat & pondered how long it would have taken them to make the decision to leave Australia. Would they have struggled internally for months after already having moved so far to uproot again with their 3 kids (9 more were to be born in NZ!) to an unknown land, with unknown prospects and for that matter had anyone ever ‘penned’ to them about West Coast weather? Then I researched Maitland in the 1860s. Good lord! Robberies, gang warfare, shootings galore – my call is Bernie said to Mary at dinner one night, “Look, we’ve given this a good swing love, but I don’t fancy becoming a bush ranger, or being shot in the back by one so let’s get out of here.” And in those days I’m guessing Mary went “Good decision Bernie, I’ll start packing”. Decision made.
As we know it’s not just decision making that traps us in our thoughts. We get lost in the stories we’ve made up about ourselves. “That’s just how I am” and “That’s just how it’s always been done”. We use our fears to keep us safe and constantly rationalise doing or not doing something based on evidence from the past. Some of us get so caught up in our mind, ‘busy’ living a life we’ve just ‘fallen into’ haphazardly or one that was expected of us and don’t notice how unhappy we are. While others endlessly wait to have everything ‘just right’ before we try something (god forbid if we ‘get it wrong’) some wait for the universe to deliver an opportunity to them while seated comfortably on their couch.
Humans have had internal chatter scientists believe for over 75,000 years. You’d think by now we’d all be well practiced at keeping the negative banter at bay & our levels of life satisfaction should be off the charts! But it seems with the overwhelming amount of choice and complexity of our lives today we can be struck with a paralysis of analysis or many a downward spiral when things don’t pan out quite as we’d hoped. It leaves many drifting along almost unconsciously, sitting at the back of the bus with someone else driving (sometimes a 7 year old version of us – not ideal!). Months and even years slip by as we practice some excellent avoidance techniques to not dig a little deeper on where we are at for fear of what challenging actions might need to be faced in order for us to take our life in a direction we actually want.
One way to stop the thought drift is to get clear on your values. I’m betting one of Bernie ‘s was physical safety. One of yours might be connection. Everyone has different values, dependent on upbringing, life experiences and life stage . I’m sure what you wanted to experience every day on a consistent basis was quite different ten years ago compared to what it is today.
Where it really begins is with you. How do you treat yourself – are you kind and compassionate? Who are you being everyday? What is the story you are telling yourself? Are you owning the results you are getting in your life? Do you accept yourself completely – the good and not so good parts? What really lights you up or drives you crazy? How do you cope when you hit a road block? Bernie and Mary moved to the West Coast, but you might just need to revisit what gives you a little bit of happiness every day.
I’m running a super fun and informative half day workshop in Bondi Junction called The Direction Momentum on Sunday, July 12 at 10am. If any of the above rings some bells and you are ready to move forward but need inspiration we’d love you to join us. Numbers strictly limited.
I remember a time when I thought it was cool to ‘confess’ I had a perfectionist streak. Like I was some perfect ballerina princess in her pink twinkly castle who would only be satisfied when something was 100% as I wanted it and everyone would approve and clap and go YAAAY.
Now with clients I can often hear myself saying things like perfectionism is the height of insanity, being perfect is just another form of procrastination and perfectionists have no standards. Ouch.
My ‘tendency’ tends to rear its head towards things I value. There is no perfectionism issues when it comes to cleaning my car (quick drive when it’s raining does the trick doesn’t it?) or ironing my clothes (love cheap dry cleaners) however recently when it came to finding the perfect couch it took me two years! I am not kidding. And guess what, it’s not perfect! Obviously this goes much further than material things – relationships, careers and health are all affected by perfectionism.
So. Newsflash. At the end of the day aiming to get something completely 100% perfect is just not possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love creating a stretch target or two but when the goal has an ever increasing ‘perfect-o-meter’ you’re setting yourself up for failure. And quite often on purpose. Scary.
Falling victim to perfectionism can also mean you wait for exactly the right time, for all the ducks to be lined up in a row before you make your move. But the damn ducks will never line up quite right and time will pass and you have missed an opportunity that may never come around again.
Reality check. Sorry it’s brutal. When acting in a perfectionist mode you are demonstrating your need to be in control of everything. This usually comes from a fear of not being good enough, not belonging and not being loved.
So here’s some questions to ask yourself – some based on work by Dr Phil (yes another fave).
Who are you trying to control? Often people who are trying to control external chaos are in actual fact attempting to control their own chaos.
What is driving your need for perfectionism? What are you afraid of if you don’t control everything? Are you worried about what people will think about you if you don’t keep up this perfect façade?
Consider how it feels to be around you when you are in perfect pants mode. If you have children they may feel like they will never be good enough and consequently you are passing on your perfectionist tendencies to them. Ever had a perfectionist boss? No matter what you do, it is never quite enough.
What are you getting from being a perfectionist? Do you get to excuse yourself from committing to something you’re passionate about for fear of not getting it ‘right’?
How much energy are you using in attempting to control your world? It’s exhausting right. At some point you need to trust your universe enough to say I am comfortable to let this go and let it be as it will be.
Be rational. What happens if you let go of controlling others? Nothing. Because deep down you know it’s not possible to control the world. You are not Dr. Evil from Austin Powers people!
The best way to give up your perfectionist streak is through acknowledging what fear you are feeding and then you make a choice. You can either try to control everything and everyone (good luck!) or focus on what YOU really want. Rather than consuming energy with controlling, focus on all the good qualities within you. Your desire to live life to the full, to learn and grow, focusing on appreciation, your courage, love, tenacity or determination to succeed. Give yourself the permission to let go of your perfectionism – as cool as it sounded when you were 14 and I’ll think you’ll find it a lot more rewarding.