This is the third article about the assumptions discussed in The Business Book of Coaching by Ajit Niwalka and Neeta Bhushan. This article will be talking about the third assumption listed in the book about needing to be perfect.
Assumption: You need to be perfect
The idea of ‘getting it perfect’ can either motivate or stop us. It has kept me from starting things because I want it to be ‘right the first time’. This doesn’t lend itself to growth, learning, or moving forward for me. So I am learning to do things before they are ready. I feel that many times we think of the adjective of perfect as an absolute. Something needs to be the best for all time, all people, all places, all things. When I went and looked up the dictionary definition though, it reads a bit different:
perfect – adjective – “having everything that is necessary; complete and without faults or weaknesses”
Many times when I was on a men’s team we reframed perfect to impeccable. Though the dictionary reads more stringent for impeccable,
impeccable – “free from fault or error”
Both come down to a mutual word – fault.
This comes down to our deeper meaning for these words. My interpretation of impeccable is: “Doing the best you can, with the resources and knowledge you had at the time.” This may be from my work with The Four Agreements and “Be Impeccable With Your Word“. I feel more grace involved with impeccable in how I use it because of this interpretation.
Perfect according to?
The first point that Neeta makes about being perfect is that comparison to others is where we can trip ourselves up. This is especially true around social media where peoples profiles are commonly filled with strictly manicured content about the best of their day and life. When we are feeling less than, and then scroll around in this space, we are comparing our low points to others highlights. This compares our struggle to their result. Rarely are people posting the sacrifice they made to get those results.
I was watching a video on YouTube recently talking about ‘suddenly’, and how we tend to use it. Laurie at EggLife Enterprises makes a fantastic point that many times we are building underneath the surface. It seems that we are not creating anything, or going anywhere. When we least expect it, a bud shows up, and starts to blossom. In that moment, the perception often is that it was ‘suddenly there’, as Laurie puts it. We forget that we have been watering, fertilizing, and nurturing that project, dream, or vision. Celebrate the first buds. Each celebration gets us closer to creating that project, dream, or vision.
Perfect negativity, watch out for that…
Another point that Neeta brings up is that human beings have evolved and survived because we remember what will harm us, and stay clear of it. In fact, our brains have a bias to remember what to stay away from, including what will move us away from our goals. If predators are normally seen in an area, our brain remembers to steer clear of it. If a particular plant made us feel horrible when we ate it, it remembers to not do that in the future. This has kept us alive and flourishing up to this point. When it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, or we get stuck in a negative feedback loop, this is when it is time to interrupt that pattern.
The other part I really appreciated about how she talked about this was focusing more on the verb perfect, which is to take an action to perfect that product, skill, outcome. Looking at what is good or bad about a situation, and about the potential result of our action is great. We won’t know until we act what the true outcome will be. So taking a small step in that direction can be what it takes to overcome this need for perfection. It may be messy and even hard. That is when the fun begins.
Build up your perfecting muscles
A great strategy that Neeta discusses is about success stacking. This is part of the coaching program I do with my clients as well. Each of us has had a success somewhere in our life. These successes may be nearly unnoticeable, or earth changing. Valuing these successes starts with taking an inventory of them. Making a list of the successes in our life is a great place to start.
Building this list when we are in a good mood I feel is important. This then is evidence when we are doubting ourselves, questioning what we are doing, or feeling really down. The list reminds us that we have learned, grown, and succeeded in our lives.
Similar to the negativity spiral, having this reminder around can boost us in our confidence, our awareness, and faith we can take on the next thing on our path. There are some great diagrams in the book that are worth looking at to see how these loops can really reinforce our successes, and bring that momentum and energy to what is next.
What is your success stack? Do you have a list like that built up? I was able to pull together a list for the last few decades. I had to dig for a few of them, and it was well worth it. Here are a couple of them.
Helped design and coordinate building my house
Was deeply involved in raising my daughter with my ex-wife
Started my own men’s team in MDI
Had the honor to work at Google for a couple years
Started my coaching business
Was invited to co-host the Elevation Mindset Summit
Attitude of Gratitude
The last piece I want to share here is about the power of gratitude. I know there is another article here about this. It can’t be overstated. Feeling gratitude, and sharing appreciation to others, is a game changer in outlook, collaboration, and fulfillment for me. It reinforces for me what I value in life, and sets my sights on more things to be grateful for.
I am grateful for
- you here reading this.
- having the ability to put words out for others to hopefully learn from
- the possibilities for all of us to contribute to elevate the world
- my willingness to try new things
- the people who show up to support my mission
The journey is the gift
To be ‘perfect’ indicates that you are done and at the end. The journey to get there is where the fun, pain, lessons, and growth are. Let us focus on becoming the best version of ourselves. Share your struggle and your triumphs. Be willing to start without knowing all the answers. Then we can perfect ourselves, be impeccable on the ever winding path for each of us to climb. I honor your path, appreciate your effort, and I’ll see you when we both get to the top.