Monday 16 April 2012

Blocked by Perfectionism?

I am blocked by a long standing belief that if I can't be the best, then what's the point in trying hard for pretty good. I can see this is a daft thing to believe but can't seem to dig deep enough to pull it out by the roots.

Hello Frances,
The problem you describe is one I can identify with personally.

For me, in youth, it was either top-of-the-line perfection or it wasn't worth having. I don't know where I got this from - we were poor, and my mum knew far better than I did in this regard, but I wasn't open to learning from her.

My response to our rusting fridge was to loathe it and my life which had such an object in it. Her response was to wallpaper the fridge.

In fact, the family used to joke that you'd better not stand still too long in her house or you might find yourself enclosed in a fine red flock.

Knowing intellectually, as you do, that this isn't too smart, bizarrely doesn't help as much as you'd think it ought to. It does help though.

Another ingredient to shifting the block is to "try on" how life would be if you got the "none best" improvements you're resisting in your life, and recognise that they're better than what you have now.

Another is to ask, more broadly, who you'd be today if you didn't have this block - do you prefer that person and that life? This one is worthy of repeated reflection over weeks and months.

Lastly, I would say look for the fear. We dress it up, but usually fear underlies these blocks. What would it mean to go for non-perfect? Would it mean, for example, that you'd have more opportunities? I'm guessing far more imperfect opportunities come along than perfect ones, so perhaps this block is about avoiding what might be scary things.

If you don't try, you can't fail, right?

This is the land of coaching.

I hope you can find a way forward, Frances, but these things are fiendishly difficult to do alone (here's why), and so if find you want some help, please feel free to give me a call.

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