Friday, June 20, 2008

Overcoming Perfectionism

Summer, once it is finally here in Minnesota we all head to "the lake", wherever that might be. It makes it a challenge to get some work done now that we aren't cooped up in our homes huddled by the fire. For anyone with an ounce of perfectionism it can be a challenge to balance the work with the play. So many people fighting Eating Disorders are burdened with the characteristic of PERFECTIONISM. It goes along with being very bright and very driven which are also common traits for people who develop eating disorders. Now, don't go thinking that just because you are bright, driven and a perfectionist you will get an eating disorder. I got C's in Logic in college so don't ask me to chart it out about the odds there. One can have those traits and not develop an eating disorder and you very likely have those traits if you have an eating disorder. If it doesn't make sense call me and we'll hash it out. Many of us deal with our own perfectionism to one degree or another. For instance, starting to write today I thought I had to have something earth shattering and amazing to share with you all. I have put this off long enough (as you can see by the break in blog posts) and if it has to be perfect I'll never get it done. So I chose to "Just Do it" as Nike tells us. Sometimes that is all it takes is the courage to put ourselves out there and do it and live with however it turns out. If we don't try it certainly won't happen but if we try then there is at least a chance it will get done.

In my coaching I often talk with clients about their "gremlins", those little negative voices we all have that tell us we aren't good enough or don't have the skills etc and blah blah blah. For those challenged by their own brand of perfectionism we can tell that Perfectionism Gremlin to take a hike. First we can thank him/her for serving us, keeping us from making a total fool out of ourselves and then we can choose a method of asking the little bugger to leave. Here are some ways I have heard of that work for people: Open the sunroof and let him fly out onto the freeway, flush him down the toilet, open the door and ask the little gremlin to leave. Get creative and have fun with it. All you have to gain is some sanity and getting things done - maybe some peace.

A challenge to you: Simply notice (without judgment) when your perfectionism gremlin is showing up. That is your first step in "Overcoming Perfectionism". Once you have that mastered (you are able to notice without judgment), then you can take the next step and find your own personal creative way to ask that Perfectionism Gremlin to leave. AND have fun with that. Laughing at ourselves can be very calming and make the world a more fun place. If nothing else you will be able to contribute to making this world a more fun place and that is sorely needed. Life is way to serious to be taken so seriously. Yeah, now you can see why I got the C in until next time, enjoy your summer wherever it is and quit trying to be "perfect". If you let go you might see that you already are perfect just the way you are.

Happy Summer!