Less than perfect

In one of the first episodes of “Fresh off the Boat,” Eddie, the eldest kid, comes home with straight A’s on his report card. He swaggers into the room, his arms waving his report card above his head, to the tune of victory. But when his parents see the results, all they can think is that school must be too easy!

Fresh-off-the-boat-Eddie

I admit, I both laughed and grimaced during this scene, as it reminded me of some similar experiences from my own childhood. It also struck fear into my heart with the realization that I am guilty of often buying into the same mindset — the mindset that whatever we do is not truly good enough, that in practice, perfect always falls short of perfect.

Arrrrrgh, what an annoying and obvious trap!!!! Can you believe we’ve been buying into that?!??

How many times have you failed to celebrate and acknowledge your own accomplishments, able only to beat yourself up for having missed something?

How many times have you totally crushed another’s sense of accomplishment by pointing out something they should have considered, should have done differently, should have said with more clarity, should have should have should have should have!??

How many times more will you look completely past the expression of joy and satisfaction on someone’s face and dash it to pieces with multiple suggestions on what they can do better next time?

In pursuing perfection we don’t achieve perfection, we just create frustration, lack of achievement, hopelessness.

It’s time to let it go, and here’s a simple way to start:
  • Remember that intention I asked you to create last month? Yes, the simple one, the one that wasn’t laden and complex. Write that one down again.
  • Take that intention now and make a list of all the ways in which you have been living it out for the past 30 days.
  • Yeah, I hear you already starting to beat yourself up. I don’t care how short the list is. I don’t need to hear whatever excuses you think you need to make. Stop berating yourself for what you didn’t do. Really, just stop!
  • Put that list up. Celebrate what’s on the list. Do something nice to reward yourself.

Try to stay in that place of celebration and acknowledgement for at least 5 minutes a day for the next month.

And remember, less than perfect….is perfect!

State your intention!

Intention2A top performer at a consulting firm once told her partners that her goal for the year was to achieve a “3” on her annual performance review. In that world, a “3” meant that you met expectations, compared to her ongoing track record of “1’s” that indicated her stellar contributions and performance.

For her, being public about the 3 was of utmost importance. A 3 meant that she would be able to achieve some level of balance in her life, which until then had been about work intruded on her weekends and evenings, about constant travel, about eating and sleeping poorly. She was living a life of all work, no play, and she knew that it was neither sustainable nor desirable.

Her intention was clear. She was committed to staying at the firm but needed it to commit to her as well in, a whole new way.

Sometimes we make things too complicated for ourselves, setting a multitude of overwhelming goals and loading them with 100 related tactical activities. It’s a checklist from Hell, and it’s one that can really distract us from what we really want and can achieve in our lives.

If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by the redonkulous year you’ve plotted out for yourself, maybe it’s time to just simplify, to find your “3,” so to speak.

If you were to state your intention for the year, what would it be?

Quick! It’s right there on the tip of your tongue! Write it down, now!

Right there with you this year,
Carolyn Ou

Executive/Leadership Coach
Sandbox Consulting
carolyn@sandboxco.com