Monday, September 29, 2014
My Day In A Nutshell - 30 Day Challenge Day 21 - Perfectionism Can Be Paralyzing
Sorry to my loyal readers for the lack of posts at the end of last week. I took a very needed mini vacation. I would have prepared you for it ahead of time, but you really have to be careful about announcing to the world when you will be out of town. There are crazies out there who might decide to take advantage of your absence or follow you to where you are going. I decided to just not say anything and assumed that you are all evolved enough to forgive me once I explained myself when I returned.
Writing for me is a huge part of my spiritual journey in life. Everyone has their own "thing" that helps them decompress, let off steam, get out the bad stuff and move on, or whatever else their "thing" might do to heal/help/express their soul. I hated writing as a kid mainly because you were always told what you were supposed to write about. Writing only works for me when I feel inspired. The words just flow for me then. I'm not a particularly great writer. Sometimes I use punctuation and sometimes I just don't feel like it. Sometimes I type or spell words wrong. I excel at proofreading someone else's work, but am terrible at proofreading my own, so half of the time I don't even bother much more than a quick skim just to catch the obvious errors.
I've always felt it was a good idea to keep a journal but typically only wrote in mine when life had reached such a boiling point that I had to get all the negative out in one big negative word vomit in order to free myself of it and get on with things. I found it hard to journal other times because if it wasn't a particularly eventful day there really just wasn't anything I felt like writing down. Then other times when I would have these positive bursts of inspiration it didn't make any sense to write them in my journal because to me it feels more like "God's message" coming through me and is completely wasted in a journal that even I might never read. I think a lot of bloggers or authors who write daily devotional type books probably feel similar to myself. I write here because even if only one other person on the planet ever stumbles across it, I find that it is always the exact person who needed to hear exactly what I wrote at that exact moment in their life.
This morning I was a bit conflicted about what to write because I was feeling very inspired to write about why I write which might inspire someone else to find their own outlet or form of self-expression, but I also have this topic that was on my mind last week that just kept pushing its way back into my consciousness over and over again this morning because it is a topic that really resonates with me and I think could help a lot of people. Ultimately I decided to try and figure out a way to make them both work. After all, they wouldn't both be in this complicated brain of mine at the same time if God didn't want me to cover both right? So, this is my attempt to do that.
Last week I was listening to a podcast by Chalene Johnson that had to do with being an entrepreneur and was talking about how successful entrepreneurs fail over and over and over again before they hit on what works. It is just a part of the process that they repeat time and time again as they create more and more successful ventures over time. It's interesting to me because over the years I've found that when you are talking with other people and you say something like "that could be our billion dollar idea" or "your family should get together and start a business doing that" or whatever the statement in the moment might be the response always goes something like this "yes but then we would have to do such and such and you have to find someone who can do so and so and you have to figure out how and where to do whatever and whatever", etc. and before you know it they have laid out a million reasons why they will just continue to live right exactly where they already are in life even if they hate it because even in a conversation that really was just meant to be for fun they have already expressed that a fear of failure or challenges has them stuck.
I've realized that I don't really know any truly successful entrepreneurs because entrepreneurs tend to spend their time with other entrepreneurs and worker bees tend to spend their time with other worker bees and if you were born into a worker bee environment it is extremely hard to break out of that environment and into the world of extremely successful people because you were never taught to be where they are. It is even more hard to bring your worker bees along with you on the ride and even harder to keep them from trying to pull you back. Their fear of trying something new often extends into a fear for you as you try something new. In my search for successful entrepreneurial mentors I've had to resort to using the internet to try and find and absorb as much information and energy as these people have been willing to share publicly because I haven't been able to find them in my real world. It really is an entirely different world that they live in with an entirely different language full of insider secrets that make them more successful that many times feels completely over my head because no one in my world talks about these things or has examples or stories to tell about these things because no one in my world has ever tried or probably would ever try to delve into them because the fear and sense of risk is too high. Anyway, my search is what brought me to this podcast to begin with.
In the podcast Chalene brought up a topic that I have thought about in so many different ways at so many different times and for so many different reasons over the years. She presented it as part of the discussion that if you want to be successful at starting a business (or at just about anything in life) you have to get past your fears and just try things knowing that many of them will fail and that failure is just part of the process.
She was talking about how so many of the smartest people on this planet are so stuck because they want to get it perfect. Part of what she discussed and what I want to discuss right now is this...
Overly critical parents breed perfectionist children who evolve into adults who are paralyzed and trapped by their own fear of failing.
How many of you can relate to any part of what I just said? You have great ideas but are afraid to try them or anything else new whether it be a sport or what-have-you because failure is not an option. You just stick to what you already know you are good at even if you hate it and that's it. Or maybe you used to be that person who had to get everything right and always be right and always be in charge of everything and everything must be perfect and you were so overwhelmed and unhappy and had to swim around at rock bottom for years before you slowly started to fight your way out of it but the struggle is still real and still every part of every day for you. Or maybe you have all of those super posed super perfect family photos on Facebook right now where you are wearing the right thing and your hair is perfect and even your children look perfect and you are at that perfect destination because you can afford it because you and your perfect spouse both have the perfect jobs and it all looks perfect except for the pain that we all can see in your eyes just above your perfect smile full of perfect teeth if we really stop to look because at any minute the house of cards could come crumbling down around you and you live every moment in fear of it. Maybe you are married to that overtly critical person who demands perfection from your children and you because their parents demanded it from them and not getting things right immediately is not acceptable because it wasn't allowed when they were growing up either. Maybe you are the critical parent who is catching yourself yelling at your child when they spilled the milk or when they throw the ball and it accidentally hits the car or they say "Hey Mom look!" and try to show you something they are trying to figure out and then something goes awry or makes a mess or whatever and you immediately yell and then suddenly their smile dies and their bright eyes glaze over with a dullness that is their pain and a bit of their soul suffering and the joy and excitement they just had about showing you something has instantly been converted to pain and failure and the understanding that you feel disappointment related to them. Then over time you realize that when you say something to them like "come over here and try this" (whatever new thing "this" happens to be) that they don't want to and pretty much never want to anymore because now they are afraid to try something new because they have learned that if they do it wrong the first time there will be negative consequences and you don't even realize that you did that to them.
Now the idea here is not to make anyone feel like a failure or a horrible parent or to feel shame or guilt about what is already done because you can't go back in time and change it anyway. The idea here is to just breed some awareness in you so you can catch yourself when your are doing it and choose to react differently next time. OR if you happen to be the person frozen and trapped by fear of trying something new to realize how you became this way and that it is ok to let that fear of failing go. It's ok to mess something new up a lot because each time you will learn a little more and a little more until you eventually get it right.
So there was my attempt at covering both topics in one post. How did I do? I'm not sure, but what I do know is even if it isn't perfect I at least tried it and trying isn't failing. Trying and failing isn't failing either. Not trying at all is failing so with that in mind I believe it was a success and if I ever decide to try it a second time I will be even better at it because I will have learned from this first time.