When going for perfect hinders progress - Michelle Gibbings

When going for perfect hinders progress

In a celebrity-obsessed world and where people’s lives play out on social media, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can have it all, and then put enormous pressure on yourself trying to get it.

The myth of the so-called ‘perfect life’ can lead to unhealthy comparisons and feeling like you are falling short of the mark. It can stop you progressing as you hold back until you are 100 per cent certain that it’s the right decision.

Life is all about choices. A choice as to what you step into, and away from. The natural consequence of choice is that some will go well, and some will go off track. It’s in those moments that you discover the best of who you are.

So, if your day or week isn’t going perfectly to plan, here are some ideas to get it back on track.

Embrace the down days

If every day went perfectly, you’d never notice the good days. You’d never pay attention and feel exhilarated when things go well. Instead, the good (and even great) days would fade into the background, blurring into all the other days.

Having a bad day helps you appreciate when the days go well.

Ditch the expectations

While you are placing expectations on yourself, you’ll have expectations placed on you by others. Those expectations can be helpful or harmful.

Rather than thinking ‘What should I do?’. Ask yourself ‘What could I do?’. This simple shift expands your frame of reference.

Reframe for gain

No one gets everything they want in life – all the time. I found that out when Craig and I couldn’t have children. This wasn’t something we could change. What we could do is reframe how we viewed our life and look at all the things we could do because we don’t have children.

Look at your current situation and flip your perspective – to reframe for gain – to consider what it could look like when you apply a different lens.

Ambiguity is an opportunity

We derive comfort from certainty. We feel better about the decision we are making when someone tells us it is the only way to go. We can feel more confident we are making a good decision if we’ve been told that this approach is the answer we’ve been looking for.

However, there is no one perfect solution to the dilemma in front of you. There is just a choice to make. When you get comfortable with that ambiguity, you’ll be more open to the opportunity that lies underneath.

Tap into your wise one

When you know yourself, your trigger points and what motivates you, you are better placed to notice how you are reacting to what is happening. Be open to your limitations and imperfections. Don’t worry – you aren’t alone on that front – we all have them.

It is in the space between noticing the emotion and responding that you have a choice to take – hold to your values or walk away from them. Notice the choice.

Push the boundaries

Now, don’t get me wrong. There is a time for perfection – particularly when it has a health and safety angle. But when it comes to human decision-making we aren’t perfect. In fact, the research shows we are often myopic and cognitively lazy.

We can also become more stuck in our ways; holding on to processes, systems, ideas – all because it feels easy and comfortable. We can worry about being judged or of failing when we try something new. However, if you let that fear take hold you won’t make the progress you seek.

As Author, Leo Tolstoy said: “If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content”.

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