Are you battling with getting that awesome blog post written, that terrific course designed, that game-changing webinar delivered, or some other pet project?
Finish, Gift Yourself the Gift of Done, by Jon Acuff is a gem of a book and was one of my top reads for 2018.
I have some simple, sincere and wildly helpful relief for you.
One of the gems he writes about is ‘lies perfection tell us.’
Specifically there are four lies that could very well be standing in between you and done.
- Quit if it isn’t perfect
- Your goals should be bigger
- You can do it all
- Fun doesn’t count
Prepare to take a metaphorical fly swatter and flick those buzzing, irritating lies that are swarming around your head like an annoying fly. And your brain ears are eagerly listening to and wiping out a healthy perspective and worldview and replacing it with a laser, narrow, unhealthy view.
And while you’re swatting, let’s look at each one in more detail.
1. Quit if isn’t perfect
Jon says that “the problem is that perfectionism magnifies your mistakes and minimizes your progress.” Can I get an amen?!
He goes on to say that “perfectionism portrays your goals as a house of cards. If one thing doesn’t go perfectly the whole thing falls apart.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s important to aim high and put out high-quality content, programs, etc. But if you’re letting perfection stand between you and done, walk around it, sidestep perfection and get going toward getting done.
2. Your goal should be bigger
Jon suggests …. wait for it … cutting your goal in half. Because “we tend to set goals that are foolishly optimistic” and “if we dream too big at the start, you curse your finish.” Research shows that goals are “marathon not a sprint” and a paced approach works wonders to get to that finish line.
So give yourself a break and go half-sies. You’ll be much more likely to reach and surpass your original goal.
3. You can do it all
Jon tells us to mourn the myth of doing it all. Can I get my send amen?! He says we really only have two options: “attempt more than is humanly possible and fail or choose what to bomb and succeed at a goal that matters.”
If that’s sending your inner perfectionism meter into a tailspin, the key thing is we get to choose. And you can choose “shame or strategy.” Instead of keening towards burnout while nobly trying to do it all, and “reducing the quality of everything” “remove the sting of shame” create a strategy that lets you focus on what matters and let the other stuff go without beating yourself up.
Dubious that this is really possible? Jon quotes Shonda Rhimes as acknowledging and not feeling one whit of guilt for not working out when she’s in the middle of running a show.
Now that’s smart. That’s strategic. And that makes the finish line much closer.
4. Fun doesn’t count
“Perfectionism believes that the harder something, the more miserable something is, the better is it.” As the co-creator of the Humour in the Workplace awards, this is completely in sync with my beliefs and practices.
When you stop and think about it, the old adage, ‘put your nose to the grindstone,’ involves blood! How can that be helpful??
“Fun is a mortal enemy of perfectionism,” says Jon. Fun and joy count. And how. Here are ten tickets to sparking more joy for yourself (and why that’s so darn important).
Finding yourself surging, limping to the finish line on some important goal of yours? Or maybe the finish line is lost behind a haze of angst?
Check-in with yourself and see if perfectionism is standing in your way. And if so, you’ve got your marching orders. Realize perfection is a beast, halve your goals, don’t try to do it all at once and have some fun as you see that attainable finish line, that’s definitely in reach.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
- Check out Jon’s book Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done
- Lies perfection tells us is all about your perspective and being aware of it and seeking other perspectives. Make one conscious effort today to seek out a different opinion about something you’re working on.
P.S. Curious to know more about your worldview and perspective? Check out my Life Lenses™ online assessment.