“I don’t know where this pressure came from.
I can’t blame my parents because it has always felt internal.
Like any other parent, my mother celebrated the A gradesand the less-than-A grades she felt there was no need to tell anybody about.
But not acknowledging the effort that ended in a less than perfect result impacted me as a child.
If I didn’t win, then we wouldn’t tell anyone that I had even competed to save us the embarrassment of acknowledging that someone else was better.
Keeping the secret made me think that losing was something to be ashamed of, and that unless I was sure I was going to be the champion there was no point in trying.
And there was certainly no point to just having fun.”
A friend and I were talking recently, and she made a remark about perfection. And I quipped, “Who, me? A perfectionist?’ And we both laughed. But, as I thought more deeply about it, I said, “Sadly, that is a judgement I can only apply to myself.”
We are each gifted, talented, and have skills in a myriad of things, and in many different ways. If we have mad-skills in something, we are often happy to share, and people are more than willing to ask. And, we want the outcome to reflect to scope of our talent.
Let us use writing as an example. You have been asked by a friend to set something up for your group with a little blurb about the organization. The writing is not too bad, but you tweak in a few times, just to be sure. But, then there are the pictures and the table. You put the elements together 14 different ways, changing the font, moving and re-sizing the table, but you cannot find the right fit. And, suddenly, something that should have taken you about 20 minutes has consumed an hour, and you are still not 100% happy with it. So, you press on.
You press on until the absurdity of the situation grips you. But worse, you are disappointed in yourself. You are disappointed that it is not already completed. You are now not even really sure it is what they asked for to begin with. And, something that started out a being so simple, now borders on hopeless.
Much of the frenzy of the pressures we feel is self-generated, and self-imposed.
Because we know we have some mad skills and talents, we can easily get caught in the fruitless pursuit two impossible goals: (1) being all things to all people, and (2) being perfect.
What to Do
We are each in control of our minds, emotions and reactions.
If our thoughts are like runaway trains, it is often because we allow it.
If our emotional lability and volatility has become a tether that encourages people to drag us around, “making” us do their bidding, it is because we allow it.
What should you do instead?
- Publish (or push Send)
Then free yourself to move on the the next enticing and exciting project.