It was 10 AM on Friday morning and my deadline for getting my blog post to my virtual assistant was 2 PM that afternoon. I had nothing to say.
Nada. Not a thing.
This was a new experience for me. I’m very rarely without words. It was so disturbing, that I took it to one of my mastermind groups.
“Guys,” I said, “I don’t feel like doing anything today. I just want to go paint. But I know there are things I should be doing.”
“Don’t do anything today,” they said. “You’ve been working really hard. Take the day off.”
This was NOT what I expected. I’m a big do-er. I get a lot accomplished during the week so I can play on the weekend.
But I listened, trusting that the perfect subject would show up, with the exact right words, in plenty of time. And I went to bed on Friday without having produced a blog article.
On Saturday, as I listened to podcasts during a long drive south, ideas started to pop.
Lots of ideas.
And the thought jumped into my brain, ‘I could choose any of those, but what if it’s the wrong idea right now? I should wait and do some meditation first. I should do some journaling. I need to pick the perfect topic. I need to find exactly the right words. I should…’
I chuckled. I was being visited by SLB (Sneaky Little Bastard), my uber-unhelpful inner saboteur. He was robbing me of my voice by insisting that I could and should reach perfection.
He was gaining a lot of power from the fact that I was driving to a huge fundraising event in Southern California where I would be among the who’s who of the philanthropy world. My inner child was nervous, worried and just wanted to go home, afraid that I wouldn’t measure up.
It was a ‘perfect’ storm of emotion.
Now, there are all kinds of action – oriented strategies to break through this kind of perfection blockage. But those are just temporary fixes. The more permanent solution is to do the deeper work.
This requires a higher degree of intention and a commitment to self-love. It might feel indulgent to take the time to do inner work when a deadline is looming. But I promise it will free you.
To begin, think about a project or action you’ve been putting off until you’ve perfected the concept or approach. It might be a newsletter, a new program, making a phone call to a potential client, or something else.
Notice what you are saying to yourself about it. Notice how it’s making you feel.
Identify where in your body you are feeling it.
Now notice the part of you that is calling for perfection.
How old is she? What is she afraid will happen if the project or action isn’t perfect.
Just listen to what rolls through your mind. It probably is not logical to your grown up mind, but to the scared little girl within you, it makes absolute sense.
Listen and breathe while noticing that nothing horrible is happening.
And then, open your heart and imagine surrounding your inner little girl with love. Give her hugs and a magic cloak of love. Then send her off to play.
She does not have to complete the project.
Feel the adult you. The one who knows perfection is a myth. And take one action that will move your project forward.
What is struggling for perfection in your business and how will it feel when you release it?
My SLB was saying, “You’re not ready,” “You’re not expert yet,” “You’re going to waste your time.”
Wow! Wow! Wow!
Time for self-love…
Wrapping my arms around myself in a snug hug.
Thank you, Julie. <3
I always say I’m a recovering perfectionist, so I know this “story” well! My “little girl” was told that “I could do/be anything I wanted to do/be”, but I heard it so often that what I made up was that it was almost a responsibility and I’d better do it right (ie be perfect) to meet expectations. While I’ve done a ton of work and am, as I say, recovering, the perfectionism still rears its ugly head fairly often! In my business, I see it show up in wanting my marketing to be “perfect” and continuing to search for the perfect strategy, sometimes not allowing the current one time to be fully effective! I’ve learned the hard way to be patient and not expect it all to go 100% smoothly the first time! And aren’t there some lessons we seem to need to learn more than once, or is it just me!
Oh ma’Gosh, I know this one only too well. You are so right. Julie Foucht.
The only way to break the plateau is to break the focus. Do something entirely different… break the ‘rules’ (shhhhhh). It’s so nice to be reminded that we’re not the only one, and that what’s needed is simple perspective. Thank you for another great article.
So true. As soon as I released perfection for just doing it, I noticed how much easier my work became.
Brilliant! Well done, Mary. Your work is important in the world, so I’m glad to make it easier.
That constant tape that runs in my head (Ms. Critical) is best friends with the SLB! I have to remind myself that action forward can be changed but inaction changes nothing. Thanks for the reminder here as well. The Universe is sending me a message today!
It’s reminding you how powerful you really are! Yay!
Great post. I’m with you the whole way. It’s funny how we create the pressurized situations that force us to grow, isn’t it? Life is amazing. Blessings, Reba
We are designed brilliantly to create our own growth. I love how I’m constantly doing it, how my clients do it. Thank you so much for your comment Reba!
Perfection is a dream-killer and a do-nothing. I stopped letting that SLB rule my life a long time ago, and have had far more fun since then!
Yey for fun! One of my favorite things to say is “If it’s not fun, why are we doing it?”
I love this article Julie!
Wonderful modeling of how listening deeply to your energy and intuition is the way to the solution.
Love the process you teach. Not many other coaches out there help people go as deep with the inner game/parts work!
The work is so powerful and, by going deep, we have the power to change the world. XO