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    Entries in perfectionism (16)

    Wednesday
    Jul172019

    What society expects of you

    In recent posts I’ve mentioned the expectations we can have:

    - of ourselves

    - of others.

    There’s a third. It’s what we perceive society expects of us.  

    - Society ... you know, other people. Them. Those people over there.

    We can worry a lot about what people think of us. What will they say? How will they perceive us? These worries can become huge filters, censors and constraints to our thoughts and behaviour. They can cause us unnecessary doubt and make us procrastinate, second guess ourselves and reject some of the great things we attempt.

    We can also worry that we ‘should’ be doing better ... or more or higher or faster or longer or neater or cleaner, than we are.

    These are the three types of perfectionism and expectations, all on the increase in the world right now:

    - Of ourselves

    - Of others

    - What society expects of us.

    All of this pressure, piling up, making us overthink, overwork, lose sleep and get stuck.

    Next time you feel stuck or find yourself judging your work or ideas, check in on which of these three types of perfectionism could be at play. 'Seeing it' is the first step to finding ways around it. 

    Wednesday
    Jul172019

    Go for excellence not perfection

    Excellence says 'good'. It's the act and output of excelling with good qualities in high degree. Yet some parts may not be excellent and these we hope will be the parts that don't really matter or those that can be improved over time.

    My mother, Shirley, put a little sign in our family home years ago that read: ‘I may not be perfect, but parts of me are excellent.’ This is what it's about! Parts of our project, task or activity could well be admirable, impressive, grand and outstanding. And other parts...may be less than that.

    Industries that have established 'Centres for Excellence' - in my local region - include Science, Child and family health, Disability, Railways, Youth mental health, and Automotive.

    These sectors know that everything isn't perfect but parts of them are excellent; the parts that matter.

    They want to improve and get better with both the parts that are already excellent and the parts that need to be a bit more excellent!  

    Let me know what you think. Could you go for something like ‘iterative improvement’ or ‘progressive excellence’, rather than trying to make things perfect?

    Wednesday
    Jul172019

    Expecting too much of ourselves

    I was chatting with a colleague today and she said she hadn’t completed a task to ‘her standards’. I enquired what the standards were. They existed in her mind but not on paper and not in writing. She'd said: ‘It has to be neat, look professional, be better than anything I’ve ever done for them before, be the best I can do, be me at my best.’

    Do you see how difficult it will be to reach each of these unmeasurable, undefinable targets?

    As she's working on her task she’s also not so complimentary about her progress. She was denigrating and rejecting it. ‘It’s just not good enough yet’, she said.

    And here it is. This is perfectionism; the ’not good enough yet’ drug.

    The drive we have to make things better because we wrongly believe: - people are paying more attention than they are, - that it matters more than it really does, and - that what we’ve done so far won’t cut it. We're too critical of our ideas, work and success.

    We berate, scold, criticise and reprimand ourselves. Repeatedly. Would we do this to another human? This harshly? I doubt it. It's time to firstly define the standard... and then be kinder to ourselves.

    Q: What are you 'beating yourself up' over right now? 

    Friday
    Jul052019

    An empty email box is the wrong measure of productivity

     

    And likely a waste of time. I think it’s crazy that we would try to get to the bottom of our email inboxes and empty them as a priority.

    Yes there are are fans of it, religious fanatics of getting to 'zero'. It’s an accomplishment indeed ... and damn it if we humans aren’t fired up, inspired and encouraged by progress we make. It makes us feel neat and tidy and organised and we know what's going on.

    The control freak in us loves the control we gain over all that information, flicking it off to folders or ticking it off for filing or trash. But here's the question: how are you progressing on your goals, projects and initiatives? The stuff that really matters? I get it that an empty email inbox might seriously matter to you.

    But might you possibly, maybe, potentially, be using the time and activity of "controlling" email as a distraction or procrastination from time spent on other more worthy, worthwhile and noble projects?

    I'm not suggesting ignoring your email; but what's the measure of success with all your other projects?

    Reply all with your thoughts! ๐Ÿ˜œ Are you a fan of living in your email inbox or are you facing out, making progress on other projects?

    Friday
    Jul052019

    You could be working too long and hard on that thing

    You could be working too long and hard on that thing. 

    True. Shocking but true.

    Working too hard for too long can lead us to burnout. The World Health Organisation recently categorized, called out and flagged that burnout is an actual thing, not just a cliched word or simple behaviour that could be remedied if we’d only manage our time better.

    So why are we burning out? We’re working too long and too hard on things. We're often striving for some unattainable perfection, trying to make something better or neater or prettier because it’s 'not good enough' yet.

    But hello! Effort doesn’t equal reward. Well, not equally anyway.

    > Because something was hard work doesn't make it good.

    > Because it took a long time doesn't make it better.

    > Because we worked on it for hours and hours doesn't make the quality better, or necessarily reflect better on us.

    Our relationship to time, effort and our own activity is distorted. Stop burning yourself out and start trying some of the newer ways of thinking and working that involve working in increments and iterations, and allowing imperfections.

    Are you working long and hard on something at the moment that could fall into this category?