Being perfect is not only detrimental to your health it is impossible to achieve. In this article Kate Griffiths explores why it is such a trigger for so many leaders and business owners. She then goes on to offer an alternative, more life-giving approach.
In Transactional Analysis, there are a number of drivers that influence how you behave and one of them is be perfect. I want to focus on that this week because of something that has unfolded in my learning of late with the intention of supporting you in yours. For many years I worked in a corporate environment where the focus was on keep at the top of your game or be driven out. It was ruthless in many respects and yet the organisation prided itself on having the brightest of a generation in its midst. I left because I felt that it fed on people’s anxieties to ensure high performance and it was no longer a cost I was willing to pay. It seemed to actively recruit A type personalities – adrenalin junkies who felt that they were only as good as the results they obtained from their last engagement. As you can imagine the undercurrent of anxiety was strong. Why did people stay you might ask? Working for such a well known brand did mean that there were amazing opportunities to do projects that others would give their eye teeth for so for those of us that were ambitious, it seemed a small price to pay. Or at least that’s what I thought at the beginning.
However when you are in an environment that seems to demand perfection, it creates an edge which seeps into other areas of your life. I was reading an article that illustrated that point beautifully. If you are a parent then the ideas behind it might prove to be really insightful. Ask yourself how often do you place expectations upon your children and yourself ? At the start of this week, we struggled to get through our early morning routine and it got to going to school time and I had forgotten to make the girls’ packed lunches. I felt irritated and expressed that to them as we walked to school because it meant I had to come back and do it during my work time. Children pick up on how we are being and reflect it back to us so being uptight and tense, desiring perfection will feed into their internal narrative and you know how powerful that can become inner critic. Is that what you want your child to grow up with?
So what’s the alternative? First of all it is important to understand what’s driving your need for perfection. For many it is a feeling of not being good enough and here’s the kicker we tend to strive for this when we do not value ourselves sufficiently. Relax into the fact that you are human, see if you can laugh at your failings rather than feeling bad about them. And here is my big learning. When you are driving yourself and others so hard with such high expectations something has to give and quite often there is an explosion of sorts. The trigger could be as small as the example I gave of forgetting to make the girls their packed lunch. Whatever it is, we show our irritation then feel guilty about it so in the past my next step has been to apologise and admit that I was wrong. What if you said sorry thereby acknowledging your part in the mess but then also affirmed yours and the other person’s greatness?
Positive feedback given authentically is vital to the life blood of families and organisations. Yet there is an art to it, it is not just about saying you are awesome and I am amazing too. It only really lands if you can be specific with your praise. For example this morning I acknowledged how well my daughter was doing with her exercises because she completed the repetitions even though it was painful and difficult for her. I recognised all that too so she knew that I appreciate all that she is.
When you can do all this, you are staying in your power and you are modelling the fact that it is ok to make mistakes. As you release negativity in thought, word and deed, you are creating space for great things to fill it including miracles. Recognise that you are enough and more than that you do a great job. You are so done with feeling small as it does not attract good things in. In fact with this whole process, you are acknowledging that you are perfectly imperfect and this is a critical step on the path to building a life and a business that is aligned with your values and that is profitable. If you want to find out more then do sign up for our two day Pi Programme on 27 and 28 January. We have one more place available and I can promise that if you apply the 13 golden wisdom principles that we teach consistently your will witness a transformation in your life.
Kate Griffiths works with small business owners and leaders in corporates to enable them to grasp what the new business paradigm means so that they can apply it to their own organisations and benefit themselves and their teams by creating the kind of environment that has a positive effect on all who are part of it.