4 Smart, Effective Ways to Shift Your Perspective on Negativity

Our perceptions of our experiences as negative can affect our lives on every level. Labeling our experiences as negative has the power to ruin relationships, decrease work performance, and increase stress levels. The good news is that you can balance your negativity bias by shifting your mindset!

Not sure where to start? Check out these smart, effective ways to shift your perception of your experiences as negative:

#1: Don’t Take It Personally A fantastic book that I always recommend to clients is Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements”. He lists not taking things personally as a necessary agreement to make with yourSELF. This idea is rooted in the understanding that most people act in a certain way based on their previous experiences and current circumstances. For example, perhaps someone took credit for your colleague’s work in the past, so now he doesn’t trust his team anymore. That doesn’t mean he has something against you, he simply doesn’t trust people in general. We’re all operating based on what we’ve learned from experiences, which means that how someone interacts with you is dependent on a great many factors, including their past experiences.

So, stop taking things personally. If someone is misjudging you, prove to them through your word and deed that they are wrong. Always try to be kind and authentic rather than stressing over it.

#2: Set Boundaries No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to please everyone, if only because what pleases us is so subjective. Couple that with demands on time and energy — friends, family, etc will always come up with new demands, and if you feel you’re unable to meet those demands it can undermine your self-esteem and keep you from focusing on your priorities.

To balance this feeling of pressure on your time and energy, you must learn to say no and set clear boundaries. If someone reacts negatively or tries to hurt you, see step 1, and go a step further by extending compassion to those pushing at your boundaries. There are reasons why we do what we do, and them feeling their needs must be met is completely human and natural.

You have the power to say no, use it.

#3: Adopt a Positive Mindset Sometimes it can be hard to be grateful for what we have when we’re dealing with an experience that’s causing us stress. However, research shows that cultivating gratitude can deepen and expand our experiences, serving as a buffer against negative thoughts.

Start with a gratitude journal and write a few things everyday that you’re grateful for. It can be as big and grand as having a child or as small as your morning cup of coffee or tea being just right. Practicing gratitude in this way reinforces positive thinking patterns and reduces negativity.

As a bonus, your positive attitude will also inspire others and strengthen your professional and personal relationships. The UnIverse has a funny way of giving us more of what we focus on, so the more you focus on being grateful for the good in your life, the more you will see opportunities arise.

#4: Find Solutions, Not Problems Our negativity bias means that we tend to focus on the problems we’re are facing at any given moment instead of actively seeking solutions. And, if we’re being one hundred percent honest, sometimes it feels good to “wallow in our sorrows”; to be sad if we’re sad or angry if we’re angry, deflecting any suggestions as to how we change or “solve” our problem. Unfortunately, this can compound already existing feelings of guilt, frustration and dissatisfaction.

The solution is that whenever you have a problem, take the steps needed to solve it. Don’t wait or hide, thinking it will go away. It might, but then again, depending on the size of the problem, it very well may not.

To do this, shift and reframe your perspective of the problem from a “problem” to a lesson, and ask yourSELF what the situation is trying to teach you. This can change it from a “problem” to a challenge, and you overcome challenges every day, now don’t you?

In conclusion, a good rule of thumb is to check your energy and see how you feel in specific circumstances or around certain people. Some people energize you while others drain you, choose to surround yourSELF as much as you can with positivity, i.e. the people, places, things and experiences that make you feel good. Build relationships with people who encourage you, support you, and cheer for you.

*Disclaimer: This article in no way acts as a substitute for clinically diagnosed depression or anxiety.

Why Attitude Matters

It’s accepted wisdom that Why is a powerful driving force. We’d rather do things for a reason and not because we are told to do them. Simon Sinek has earned a good living telling us to start with the Why. It’s the Why that gets us up in the morning. Why does an organisation exist? Why explains purpose. In old-school business-speak, Why in essence means mission.

But is Sinek right and does Why explain the whole piece? Or is Why too cognitive…too aware…too rational? It might appeal to emotion but it’s not the same thing as emotion.

But let me start with a true story:

Mario Capecchi was born to an unmarried, single mother in Italy in 1937 — on the eve of the Second World War. His mother was a poet who became known for her anti-fascist views and writings. In the spring of 1941 she was arrested by the Gestapo and shipped off to Dachau concentration camp. Soon, Mario, aged four, was left to roam the streets of northern Italy and fend for himself. He was shot in the leg by an American plane, strafing peasants in a field for no good reason. For over four years he survived by begging and stealing.

Mario, suffering from malnutrition and lying in a hospital bed, was miraculously reunited with his mother on his ninth birthday. They moved to the US where he became fascinated by mathematics, physics and chemistry. He did well at school and earned a Ph.D. in biophysics at Harvard in 1967. Dr Mario R. Capecchi won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 2007.

There is perhaps one thing that is more important than Why for achieving our goals; it is attitude. Attitude is the invisible driving force behind the way we live our lives. Attitude lies behind our thought patterns. It determines how we view our world, what we think, what we do, what do not do, what we pay attention to and what we choose to ignore.

Attitude determines whether our purpose is forward-looking, positive and growth oriented or backward-looking, defensive, suspicious and negative. Our attitude leaks out in subtle ways through our words, voice tonality, physiology and general mood. Our attitude determines how other people respond to us and whether we are happy or unhappy, successful or unsuccessful. As our mind and bodies form a single neurological system, our attitude will even determine our state of mental and physical health.

Attitude is a direction in which we lean. An attitude is similar to a belief but it is at a higher level of abstraction. Our attitude provides a template for our behaviour and our beliefs; it provides us with our values and a moral compass. An attitude will override a belief; an attitude is more of an emotion or feeling, whereas a belief is more cognitive. An attitude determines general direction whereas a belief is more specific.

If the attitude of a person is that all change is a bad thing, then all change will be a bad thing, and the person will never be able to believe in any kind of change, regardless of how noble the purpose may be.

Attitude tells us that a situation or a person or our self is OK or not OK. We do not always choose the situations in which we find ourselves, but we can choose our attitude towards these situations. We do not make ourselves; our parents, caretakers, genes and early environment do; we cannot change our history, but we can decide to change our attitude to it. Does a tough upbringing make us tough, or does it make us defeatist? Do poor experiences with change make us more determined to be successful next time around and provide a learning experience, or do they make us give up?

Of his early years Dr Capecci says “It is not clear whether those early childhood experiences contributed to whatever successes I have enjoyed or whether those achievements were attained in spite of those experiences.”[i]

Do you see problems in every opportunity or opportunity in every problem? Do you see adversity in challenge or challenge in adversity? Do you accept that change is part of the human condition and strive to embrace it, or resist it and hang onto the status quo? Life and business is all about change and the sooner we accept that fact the easier change becomes.

In the same sense that our bodies become what we put into them as nourishment, our attitude becomes what we put into it as encouragement. Our attitude reflects its inputs just as our bodies reflect their inputs. Managing our inputs is therefore as important for a healthy attitude as the food that you eat is for a healthy body.

Our attitude is fed by our thoughts and our thoughts are fed by our attitude — so we have a spiral that we influence positively or negatively. What is important is to consistently and positively turn the dial of your attitude towards the attitude you want to have. This means catching yourself in the act of doing good and congratulating and encouraging yourself to keep it up.

When you catch yourself with the right attitude, turn up the volume, go over the top in enjoying the moment, use hyperbole to tell yourself how great your attitude is — the subconscious has the communicative ability of a seven-year old, so enthuse your communication with positive words. Is the moment good or is it great? Is it fantastic or absolutely stupendous? Do you feel comfortable with it or enormously thrilled? Are you involved or totally committed? Are you having an OK day, or is it amazing or good and getting better? Or living the dream? We don’t have to lie about how we’re feeling, but we can turn up the emotional volume and thereby program ourselves, and others, with the right (or better) attitude.

In organizations, the right attitude is to have a healthy respect for all the elements of the business — people, profits, customers, suppliers, society and the environment — and to maintain a balance in all these things. If we want an organization that is a great place to work, we must hire people with the right attitude and invite people with the wrong attitude to change, or talk to HR about an alternative career path outside the organization. This may sound harsh, but people with the wrong attitude can negatively affect those around them — colleagues, suppliers, partners and, most importantly, customers.

The great thing about the right attitude is that it is contagious. The energetic business leader will energise people. The passionate teacher will impassion students to learn and achieve. The enthusiastic salesperson will win enthusiastic customers.

That’s what I think…what do you think?


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[i] Based on The Kyoto Prize Lecture given by Dr M. Capecchi in 1996. Quote used by kind permission of Dr Capecchi.

The 1 Thing I Need to Say to You About Money, Work and Happiness as we enter 2018

Capitalize on your ‘hobbies.’

In 2018…

Embrace your varied interests.

Embrace your varied skills.

Embrace your varied experiences.

Embrace your uniqueness.

Wrap all of these things up together and you’ve got someone who can make a unique impact on their community, economy and world at large.

Let’s take the example of a lifestyle photographer.

She earns most of her living taking photos at events and portraits of people.

However, her personal interests involve fashion and technology.

On the side, she starts reviewing products on YouTube and Instagram about her favourite tech gadgets — from cell phones that have the best picture quality (from the perspective of a photographer) to her favourite headphones that she uses when she works.

From there, she starts reviewing her favourite outfits that she wears when she’s on set at various locations.

Using her technical skills, she films beautiful reviews that she weaves into vlogs showcasing a day in the life of a professional photographer.

Soon, she gets the attention of various PR companies who ask her if she’s interested in reviewing some of their products.

Soon, she generates a comfortable side hustle being a trusted influencer that originally stemmed from her main profession as a photographer.

Let’s use another example that hits close to home: a lawyer interested in blockchain.

During the day she practices corporate real estate, which involves overseeing the purchases of property by small businesses in her community.

However, on the side, she’s developing skills in her interest — coding and blockchain.

She realizes that smart contracts can eventually eliminate most of her business in a matter of 5–10 years.

She starts working with blockchain engineers to start creating smart contracts that will facilitate simple real estate transactions, which would effectively cut out the middle-men.

In other words, she starts working on replacing herself.

The worst thing you can do is just wait for things to happen to you.

Now, more than ever, is the time to capitalize on your unique skillsets.

Show how you are the glue that connects seemingly different industries together.

Instead of just being any ol’ lifestyle photographer, become an influencer.

Utilize your experience as a storyteller to tell your own story, not just someone else’s.

Instead of just being any ol’ real estate lawyer, become an entrepreneur.

Work with other like-minded tech and data engineers who will inevitably make your job obsolete in a decade.

Stop thinking that you’re varied interests are just ‘quirky’ things about yourself that don’t relate to your work or career.

Make them your career.

All it takes is a little ingenuity to string them all together to make something profitable.

Don’t follow the trajectories of everyone else’s boring path; Blaze your own trail.

In 2018, make a promise to yourself and to the world, that you will showcase your individuality and use it to your advantage to not only build a career that you’re proud of, but one that will make a unique impact on the world.


If you enjoyed this story, you should check out www.jenonmoney.com where I write about personal finance, progressive economics, going against the grain, and tons more. — Jen


This originally appeared on Quora.

Two Fundamentals for Good Conversation

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Time and time again, by far some of the worst conversations I have are with people who don’t make a genuine effort to stay present.

They will ask me something, I will reply and almost immediately they seem to lose interest. Now arguably I know the first thing most people would probably say is “you’re just not charismatic enough”.

Touche ( and while we’re on that topic i will admit that was an insecurity of mine at some point — I’ve since worked through that and realized people sometimes are just narcissistic a**holes)

However, I’d have the exact same topic with someone else and sparks will fly as we rocket to the moon, and not necessarily on a topic we both have a consensus on. All that tells me is that everyone has at least one specific topic they struggle to keep themselves engaged in.

Okay, so is it my duty to keep you engaged?

Not exactly, and this is why conversation (genuine conversation), is a form of art, as what most fans of Pulp Fiction will tell you.

Both participants have a duty – in fact both have the exact same responsibilities to contributing in banter that leaves them feeling warm and fuzzy no matter who they are speaking to.

The first fundamental point in good conversation is a three letter word that has been floating around in many recent self help books:

EGO

The first point slightly challenges that three letter word we all suffer from. What you must admit and understand in order to universally have enticing banter, is that you aren’t as good at being social as you may think you are if you cannot have a conversation with anyone and about anything.

Period.

There are other human beings in the world other than your clique, and at some point you will need to converse with said ‘others’. (Oh the horror)

The ego also prevents us from listening to others because we think we already know everything there is to know(even though we owe so much of our knowledge to Google), or sometimes we think we are too cool to speak to a particular person based on their social status within a group or office setting. Or perhaps we just think we could do better with our time speaking about anything else at all.

Whichever way you look at it, the ego has a huge role in preventing us from connecting with others.

Conversation is all about listening intently to the other person, and not trying to think of what to say next. Only then can you ask organically interesting questions that help propel things forward.

Remember that people can pick it up if you aren’t actually interested in them or what they are saying, because we all have facial ticks or tells that we can’t control when we pretend to be engaged.

Do you know how refreshing it is to have someone as equally interested in what you have to say as you are to them? That’s where you find Nirvana, babe.

Human beings are made of an invisible energy that cannot be seen by even the most advanced technologies, but can be felt. People notice. And when they do notice, guess what, they lose interest too.

And can you blame them? They’re essentially wasting their time and breath on you. And, of course, that is a recipe for a disastrously awkward conversation.

I don’t care how bored you are with the topic, convince yourself that what the next person is saying is the most interesting thing you’ve ever heard. Offer this as a selfless service, it goes a long way.

Its literally as simple as a mental switch that needs to happen in the brain. If we fool our mind into thinking that a conversation is interesting it will be interesting, and the rest will happen organically.

Otherwise, do yourselves both a favor, end the convo and rather walk away, if you can of course.

I’m also not saying that you should be over the top with your showcase of “interest”, people pick that up too and lose… well, interest.

Humans are narcissistic by nature, it then only makes sense that if you want good conversation you need to show genuine interest in what they are saying.

Drop your ego and stroke theirs, and hopefully they will do the same.

Never interrupt

This is probably my ultimate peeve in social settings. I will start off with a subject that sets the tone or context of what my point was because it will help in driving it home. Only to get interrupted by a “I disagree”.

Do you know what I disagree on John? Your wonderful manners.

I’m not going to pretend like I’m holier-than in this instance though, I’ve had moments when I found myself wanting to interrupt someone too. But then i’ll keep quiet rather and realize that if I had spoken I would have lost the meaning to their insights.

And then there are times when I do interrupt and I feel like an absolute douche because I realized afterwards what they were actually saying, or I have now broken their momentum or train of thought.

It’s just… rude.

Attitude of Gratitude (aka TFG)

A close friend asked me yesterday how I’m feeling heading into this week. At first, I wasn’t sure what she was referring to and then it hit me, oh yeah, I was supposed to be getting married tomorrow. On what would have been my parents’ 52nd anniversary. OMFG. How am I feeling about the fact that I’m NOT marrying the wrong guy? So fucking grateful. Seriously. My peaceful life got rocked earlier this year when I let a textbook narcissist into my world.

Thankfully, the universe pushed me off that path, angels showed up to help me get back on track, and I now find myself in a daily state of gratitude for where I am, not where I might had been had I opted to stay in that very wrong for me relationship. I am ever-grateful for the lessons I learned, and I’ll never need to do that again. I was one of the lucky ones who had parents who met and got married young, and who stuck it out, for better and worse, til death did them part after 41 years. My idea of marriage was, and still is, that it’s supposed to go like that.

Had I married the wrong guy this week, chances are I’d become his 4th ex-wife sooner than later. I would have found myself trapped, and unhappy, like way too many people I know. While I certainly do not want or plan to be single the rest of my life, this time on an island with my unconditionally loving rescue dogs has validated what I already know: It’s much better and more peaceful to be alone than with the wrong person. Recovering from the emotional trauma and abuse was an eye-opening and enlightening experience that reminded me of what’s truly most important in life: self-love, self-care and daily doses of choosing joy, no matter the circumstances.

As I write about in my forthcoming book, Island Time, no one else is responsible for our own happiness. And, until we properly confront and process whatever grief we’ve encountered (be it the death of relatives, friends, a career, a relationship or a dream) life feels impossibly challenging. I am SO grateful for my village of healers and friends and soul sisters who stuck by me this year, while I faced my deepest fears. Being able to share my story is how I hope to help others feeling unfulfilled or unable to bust through old patterns and truly enjoy a life filled with peace, self-love and lots of aloha.

Happy Holidays! #choosejoy xo

What Do You Believe?

What is believing?

Are you a believer?

What is it that you believe?

What, if anything, do you believe in?

More importantly, what do you believe about yourself?
 
I’m pretty confident that we could answer the first question and I’m willing to bet all could answer the second question. But moving to the third, fourth and following question can prove to be a bit more challenging, and possibly even paralyzing.

The latter are the types of questions that force us to look deep within ourselves for the answers, and that can be a pretty daunting task to do.

I know that it was for me the first time one of my mentors and coaches asked me that question. I froze. I thought I knew what to say, but the words wouldn’t or couldn’t come out. Silence. Crickets. And more silence. What did I believe about myself and my potential. Wow. Good question I thought, followed by

“I know what I’m supposed to say.”

“How am I supposed to answer that?”

I know how I felt when I was talking to myself, but I had no idea how to translate that to someone I looked up to as having it figured out.

So I said nothing. That was until he forced me to answer by remaining silent as well. Yeah, that awkward silence that nobody likes. So I just blurted out what was racing through my head. Turns out, there was no wrong answer.

What did turn out was that whatever I said, he wanted proof to back it up.

Fast forward to life as a coach, and I have come to realize that we, as coaches, are not immune to those same feelings. Coaches are people too. They live, breathe and feel the same way everyone else does.
 
We face the same challenges that you do. The difference lies in the fact that we have a coach to dispute our foolish thoughts, dispel our limiting beliefs and call us out on our bullshit. We also have learned to deal with the emotions that we all face in a healthy, productive manner.

We have decided to look at them from a “top of the summit” view rather than right in front of our nose. (More on this in another blog.)

SO, today I challenge you to answer these questions, honestly and openly, and then have someone you love and care about review your answers.

1.) What do you believe about yourself?

2.) What do you believe about your potential?

3.) How did you come to this conclusion.?

4.) What evidence do you have to support these beliefs?

5.) What can you do to change or improve your belief system?

Take your life to the next level. You can! You Must! But it starts with believing. IN YOU!!!

M.A.C. 
100%

Bad Relationship Habits of Extremely Intelligent People

People aren’t math problems to be solved.

Extremely intelligent people are as amazing as they are rare. They are incredible to have around: very logical in their thinking, with an excellent memory and unbelievable deductive skills.

When they’re not incredibly shy — or when you get past their barriers and make them comfortable around you — they never run out of things to talk about. There’s always an obscure fact they have memorized for some reason, or something they heard on the news and want to discuss, or a subject they’re studying and can’t wait to tell you all about. An extremely intelligent person can be quite the chatterbox.

Extremely intelligent people can also be difficult to relate to. Their appreciation for logic and reason makes them seek a sensible explanation for everything, and they’re often uncomfortable with grey areas, preferring to classify everything, from feelings to situations, in clear-cut categories. In their world, everything should be labeled so it can be understood.

It’s not impossible to have a good relationship with an extremely intelligent person, but it requires a lot of patience and commitment, especially with a few of the bad habits they’re likely to manifest.

(Obligatory disclaimer: not every single extremely intelligent person will experience these issues in a relationship, these are just some habits they’re more likely than other people to have. It doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad at relationships, or that relating to them is impossible, just that they tend to have specific shortcomings to work on.)

Overthinking everything

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but extremely intelligent people like to think. Their brains are very active, which means that even when they don’t mean to, they’re observing behavior, gathering data, analyzing. It’s extremely easy for them to fall into the trap of overthinking everything, which can lead not only to great personal anxiety, but to interpersonal conflict and a lot of stress.

When it comes to relationships, overthinking can be a major obstacle to happiness. Sometimes, you have to let yourself feel and go with the flow more than try to think through every situation, and that’s something the extremely intelligent might have trouble with.

Believing they know everything— and they always get it right

The extremely intelligent are used to knowing a lot, and to always have the right answer.

In the minds of extremely intelligent people, problems are things which have answers. As mentioned above, they’re not always comfortable with grey areas, preferring the safety of black and white answers.

The issue with this particular habit is that it’s not always applicable to human relationships. First, not every relationship problem has a clear-cut answer, but the extremely intelligent person might have trouble accepting that fact, which leads them to insist on discussing issues way beyond their partners’ point of tolerance. In other words, it can be hard for them to “just let it go.”

Second, when it comes to relationships, the more intelligent person isn’t always the one who’s in the right. It can be very discomfiting for an extremely intelligent person to be wrong for a change, especially if the one who’s right is perceived as less intelligent.

For the extremely intelligent, seeing their partners as less smart is not a prejudice on their part, just the recognition of a fact. It’s a matter of objective IQ, not subjective perception. If they ever point that out, it’s useful to remember they don’t mean to hurt.

Treating a relationship like an exact science

In exact sciences, the same inputs should yield the same results. The extremely intelligent often fall into the trap of trying to apply the same principles to relationships.

Other than their relentless quest for answers, they’ll also try to figure their partners out as objectively as possible. They might try to identify patterns of behavior and decision-making by constant observation and analysis.

While it can be a sweet way for them to show they’re paying attention, it can become a problem when they use this habit to try to predict how their partners will behave in any circumstance, like a machine. People, despite being overall very predictable, don’t always follow the same exact circuit-pattern, and it can be disorienting for the extremely intelligent when their partners do the unexpected.

It can also be irritating for their partners to hear all of the assumptions the extremely intelligent made about their behavior and intentions without necessarily letting the situation play out, or giving their partners a chance to voice their thought process for themselves.

Although actions do speak louder than words, being in a relationship with someone who makes assumptions about behavior before even hearing a word about the subject can be quite maddening. In a good relationship, individuals need to feel that they have space to talk, that they’re heard, so that they feel valued and respected.

Remembering too much — and bringing it up at inappropriate times

A nearly perfect memory has its down side. To the extremely intelligent, having a great memory isn’t only a point of pride, it’s a precious resource into cataloging evidence to analyze over time.

It means that during an argument, they might bring up a fight from three years ago and use it to sustain their point. They’ll bring up old mistakes their partners have made — which were, at the time, forgiven — and use it as evidence of their partners’ supposed “behavior patterns.”

To the extremely intelligent, forgiven hardly ever means forgotten.

It’s uncomfortable for most people to have past mistakes thrown at them over and over again. It feels like they weren’t actually forgiven by their extremely intelligent partners, and like that there’s still resentment over those issues.

In reality, the extremely intelligent don’t always understand how bringing up previous disagreements can be upsetting. For them, it’s just extra information to analyze and understand the problem at hand. Like in an exact science, the more information they have on the variables involved in a problem, the easier it is to find a solution. And finding a solution is all they want.

While that approach works when it comes to science, human relationships are way more complicated and subjective. In relationships, the older the memory that’s brought up during an argument, the bigger the hurt it causes, especially since most of us do associate genuine forgiveness with forgetting.

Keeping score

Another potential downside of having an excellent memory is using it to keep score. Good relationships thrive when the people involved give as much as they can without expecting anything in return, and keeping score is the exact opposite of that.

Extremely intelligent people tend to thrive on academic accomplishments, objectively measured by test scores, good grades and that shinny, perfect GPA. And they might get very competitive at that, constantly comparing results with their peers.

Extremely intelligent people like points of reference, they like to know where they stand at all times. Keeping score in a relationship is a way to create that point of reference, to bring objectively measurable criteria to what’s otherwise a messy, disorganized, too-subjective-for-comfort affair.

These habits are not intentionally hurtful

The extremely intelligent don’t seek to hurt their partners or their relationships when they fall into these bad habits. They’re simply following their nature and seeking to make themselves comfortable when threading unfamiliar territory.

With enough awareness about these potential issues, however, and with enough love and understanding, it’s possible to gently guide the extremely intelligent out of these bad habits and into a more relaxed manner of relating.

The trap of perfectionism — and what you can do about it

Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

When you are an accomplished woman (as so many of my readers are), you are bound to find yourself dealing with perfectionism — and it may show up with great frequency.

We feel pressured by the perceived expectations of others to be great — a great leader, consistently productive and efficient, to have an abundance of excellent ideas, to perform well at everything we do. This applies to work, being a parent, our exercise routines, our roles of spouse and friend — basically in every aspect of our lives. And, the truth is that we believe the expectations of other people are much higher than is often the case.

And, we set expectations for perfection ourselves.

Why do we do that?

Maybe we adopted the pressure to be perfect as a child, imparted by parents or teachers. We then generalized that everyone has those expectations of us, and have carried the weight of that misconception.

Maybe we adopted the pressure out of a belief that we are deficient, and need to prove ourselves. And many believe perfectionism is the path to achieving big goals. What most often happens is that the stress of striving for perfection makes us stuck, or slide into procrastination. Thus, we don’t shine fully, or it takes longer to reach our goals. And sometimes we don’t ever them.

Can you relate?

Do you find that pressure to be perfect exhausting?

I often hear this stress expressed by my coaching clients and women I speak to when they feel safe and open up to share how hard it is to live this way. It’s a challenge I know well, too — I was saddled with this self-imposed pressure for many years.

I also hear about an array of self-doubts that are tied to the endless attempts to be perfect. Many accomplished women feel like impostors, or not good enough or smart enough or talented enough. They see other impressive women and are sure those women don’t struggle as they do. With crazy-high standards for themselves, they tell themselves they are the only ones who can’t comfortably perform at amazing levels all the time.

But it’s impossible to live up to a standard of perfection. Because none of us is perfect (even if it looks to us like some people are pretty darn close). Excellence is a wonderful objective, but nobody can achieve greatly all the time, or be great at everything.

In fact, there is no such thing as perfect.

Perfectionism is one of the great myths, and it’s one that the Self-Critic loves to use as a tool of sabotage. Perfectionism puts our emotional well-being at risk, and it can negatively impact our physical health, too.

So, what to do? How can you release the patterns and habits that are rooted in a drive to be perfect — and that you believe you need in order to be “successful”?

1. Start with self-love

I talk about the impact of self-love often — because it is so powerful. Here is how to put it to work to reduce perfectionism.

Begin by fully acknowledging and appreciating all of your talents and gifts. Own them with a full heart, without judgement, without looking at where they are limited. Focus on believing in yourself.

And then, forgive yourself for all the ways you are not “perfect”. Consciously start trying to let go of unrealistic expectations. Appreciate the efforts you put into things that matter and release a sense of duty to do things that do not merit a super-high level of effort. And, be happy when you give your best shot to what does matter most — even when you don’t meet Nobel Prize-level standards!

2. Take imperfect action

Perfectionism can inhibit us terribly, or even paralyze us. The second-guessing and fear that come up are huge blocks that keep your true talents from flowing. Perfectionism often leads to procrastination, which heaps on more stress. Taking action — without pressure — is a brilliant way to start, and to accomplish, in big ways.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but taking action with the objective of beginning imperfectly is a powerful way to do great things. Let me share an example of this concept and how it worked.

A client of mine was launching a new business and working to quickly get a simple website in place in time for a big opportunity. She knew she needed to write a short but powerful statement about the business, but was stuck. It felt daunting. It had to be great and she was intimidated.

Now, this client is an excellent writer, so her skill level was not the stumbling block. Her expectations for perfection were stopping her, even with a deadline looming. My advice to her was to begin by writing a shitty first draft — in fact, not one bad draft but at least three totally messy drafts. The assignment was to play with rough ideas, get lots of them down, and then begin to shape the statement from that material. The result was fantastic — and she was surprised at how fast she completed the work. She found the gems in her drafts and polished them, got feedback on a fresh draft, and tweaked it just a bit more.

Best of all, she enjoyed the process and was thrilled to get it done and onto the site.

Whether you are writing an article or a report, or planning a new initiative, or aiming to conceive of solutions to knotty problems, or learning a new skill, start with taking imperfect action. That imperfect, messy action gets momentum going, which means you’ll complete the work more quickly as you let your talents shine.

3. Make commitments to yourself

Anything we really want to do or accomplish entails commitment. In this case, the commitment begins with a focus on self-love in as many ways as you can think of. Commit to being alert to the sneaky ways that perfectionism shows up for you, so you can consciously respond differently. And, commit to talking imperfect action, and to taking a playful approach to start tackling the tasks at hand. And finally, commit to following through with your best efforts.

Your best efforts consistently brought to each challenge will lead to great outcomes — outcomes you can feel really good about.

I welcome you to share your experiences related to perfectionism — from questions you have to ways you’ve been able to ease that pressure — in the comments below.

Jealousy: An Awakening to Life’s Possibilities

Jealousy is actually a blessing. I know this sounds very cliche but it recently hit me how true this actually is…. Let me tell you a little story…

Growing up my family was not wealthy by any means. In fact, we had some very strapped times. I used to lay in bed day dreaming about being really really wealthy. I didn’t imagine all the purses or houses I could buy. Instead I imagined what I could put in those things, what I could do with massive amounts of resouces. One of those dreams was to be an almost Willi Wonka character but instead of a fantastical chocolate factory I would have a lab to explore endless theories and possibilites. I would hire and work with some of the greatest minds.

I had so many questions that usually went something along the lines of… “but why isn’t this possible?” I dreamt of having some of the best scientists, engineers, designers, etc within arms reach and ask for their detailed attention and brilliance in bringing some really cool innovations into reality. This was my vivid day dream. It came and went but always came back. For so many years it was the most honest part of me.

Years later I’m sitting at my computer in my small one bedroom home and a short documentary pops up about the billionaire who owns five hour energy, Manoj Bhargava. I click and begin watching. I’m glued to the screen watching as Manoj talks about how he spends his money.

He has a massive lab on the five hour energy compound and he asks these incredibly creative scientists to create things like a method for desalinating sea water into palatable water and then, to put it on a moveable barge so it can go where it’s needed most.

All I can think is “Holy Shit! This man has my dream life!”. And then the jealousy set in. It was lingering there the whole time beneath my face struck into impressed delight. I didn’t want to feel anything icky. Manoj seemed very in tune with his deeper sense of purpose and I didn’t want to project any of my own doubts, insecurities or emotions onto a beautiful accomplishment. I didn’t want to but it still happened, because I am human and humans are pre-set to feel.

And yet, this assumption was actually incorrect. I could be in control of my emotions if I left space enough to hear them. In this case specifically I realized that this other individual having the life I have dreamt about and the life I desire does not diminish from my dream. It does not mean that I can not have it as well. Where is it written that only one person can have or be dot dot dot? The more inspiration, abundance, joy, creativity, imagination… there is in the world the better for all of us.

The real key to changing my focal point was in the doubt and emotion it stirred up. All those years of dreaming up this super cool life I had also always has little tiny whispers of doubt. A barely audible skeptical voice at the back of my head saying “ya, right?”. I hadn’t fully believed that this could be my life. But it wasn’t at an overbearing volume, and so I pushed the doubt to the rear and went on with my day dreams.

As soon as I stopped pushing the jealously and doubt back in it’s box and listened to what the jealousy was really trying to tell me I realized I had been blind to the power of life and this universe. In seeing that documentary the universe was reminding me of that day dream. The most clear, focused, truest part of me knew what it wanted to do in this world. I have always known what I wanted to share in this reality and the universe was reminding me with a wink and nudge saying “see! It is possible!”

I became so light at that point. Everything had shifted for me. I gave myself permission to become fully immersed in the day dream. There was someone out there who had already done “IT” and I could learn how as well. Everything is possible if you shift your perception.

And suddenly, with such grace and ease my mind set evolved and I found myself thinking things like “I wonder if this billionaire dude would mentor me? How cool would that me?”

Attitude of Gratitude: What Can Gratitude Bring About in Your Life?

Rachel & Shane Krider’s second episode of their personal development podcast is all about gratitude. Below is a snippet of the podcast where Shane answers the question, “What can gratitude bring about in your life?”

One of the things gratitude can bring about is space for acceptance. We always hear about all kinds of crazy things out there in the world. People are so angry with each other, and people don’t accept each other because we’re different than each other, which is what makes us beautiful. But it can be intimidating and threatening. […] Sometimes you travel around, and you see people that are different. You’re in a different culture, and it can kind of puts you back and puts your guard up, but if you can really get into the state of gratitude, it brings about a space for accepting others or accepting things that are happening around you.

I’m talking about positive acceptance. I’m not talking about accepting something that maybe you shouldn’t be willing to accept; I’m talking about just a space to accept people that are a little bit different than us or situations that, you know, really don’t have any impact. Think about a new employee getting started with a job and the people that they’re getting started to work with might not be really accepting of them, but if you demonstrate a little bit of gratitude in those people’s direction they’ll find it a lot easier to give you a little bit of acceptance. And you know what, and you’ll find it easier to accept them too because when you acknowledge something positive about them, it’s going to be a beautiful thing. Also understanding, it’s easier to understand where if somebody else is coming from if you’ve got a little bit of gratitude your mind is open a little bit.

[…]

[Gratitude] also creates a space for forgiveness. If you have a hard time forgiving yourself or somebody else, you can practice a little bit of gratitude, and you’ll find that you’re gonna find more space for real forgiveness. Not that superficial stuff that we tend to pass around, I’m talking real forgiveness where you truly cut the cord and let go of that that burden.

Shane Krider is a successful personal development life coach, producer, speaker, author, and entrepreneur. Along with his wife, Shane is the co-host of Born to Prosper’s Mind Power, which is a self-help podcast which challenges its listeners to delve deep into their minds to find success. In addition, Shane travels the world in luxury to speak to aspiring entrepreneurs at conferences and workshops to inspire them to find their own pathways to success. Shane Krider is part of The Prosperity of Life Network, a United States-based personal development business with a presence in 52+ countries.


Originally published at shanekrider.com.