Dangers of Perfectionism

Tempus fugit! Perfectionist[1]Or as most of us say now, time flies! And it really is flying by… March already. Christmas seems a lifetime away and we will soon be in Spring.

This has to be the fastest flying year EVER! And I know it’s got nothing to do with me being 1. busier 2. older – time really is speeding up. Or at least my perception of time is changing. And I’m not the only one – children I know have also told me their school holidays seem to be coming round faster, while friends of more advanced ages are also bemoaning the fact that we’re on a speed-up.

Talking of speed, I read last night that the earth is actually hurtling around the Sun at the mind-boggling speed of 18.5 miles per second. Now that’s what I call fast!  Continue reading

Three Keys to Gaining Clarity (Instantly)

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the privilege and honour to deliver training workshops and coach individuals from over 18 countries. Some in person when I travelled to Australia, Russia and Germany; some over Skype to America and Spain.

While everyone has their own challenges and ambitions, what continues to strike me is the absolutely critical importance of CLARITY.

Clarity is at the heart of progress and achievement. When you have clarity, you (for the most part) can confidently march forward towards the result you’re after. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or effortless but it does mean that there is a certain force of energy, focus, conviction or commitment directing your every step.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, it can be painfully obvious when you lack clarity or feel like you have no clue on what you should do. You stop, get stuck and barely make any progress.

But the tougher, more challenging and more dangerous place is somewhere in the middle. You THINK you are clear, you ARE putting in the effort but the results are underwhelming-to-non-existent. It’s kind of like counterfeit money – it looks real, it feels real but using it too much can get you in serious trouble.

“Counterfeit” clarity applies equally to the small things – for example, prioritising your daily to-do list – as well as the big things such as the direction of your life, relationships and career.

You may start out ok but before long your momentum slows and more and more problems, hurdles, delays or distractions get in the way.

Can you relate to any of these?

  • Poor time management, easily distracted, continually chasing new ideas and ‘dabbling’ in a lot of different things
  • Not finishing what you’ve started
  • Waiting for the perfect moment to begin…or continue
  • Telling yourself “Tomorrow will be better to get started on that”
  • Getting caught in circular thinking, continually debating the pros and cons of certain actions
  • Repeatedly set goals and never achieve them
  • Overwhelmed at what needs to get done
  • Indecisive with little things and avoiding the ‘big’ things

A lack of clarity isn’t the result of these behaviours, it’s the CAUSE.

And as it happens to all of us at times, the cure isn’t to just make sure you get clear first, but rather to learn to spot the signals quickly and make a swift change of course.

What do you tend to do when you’re unclear?

For me, the signals I’ve come to know quite well are:

  • Checking emails (…or Facebook or the News or my phone…) way to frequently, especially when I’m not expecting anything of importance or urgency.
  • Starting my day by reviewing emails (…or Facebook or the News or my phone…) before I’ve even exercised or showered or had some food.
  • Telling myself I need to switch to more important things or resolve a bigger problem yet continue to carry on dabbling in minor things.

When I eventually snap out of that trance and back to the things that matter most to me, I am reminded of three keys to getting clear:

1. As soon as you recognise you’re off track and not making the right progress, stop.

2. Immediately ask yourself four questions:
What is my real outcome in this situation? (or in the next ____ minutes/hours/days?)
Therefore, what must I stop doing right now?
What is the first action I can take to build momentum towards my outcome?
How good will I feel when I start to make progress?

3. Take that next step no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Don’t waste time debating whether it’s the right or wrong step. You just need to take action and move forward. You might learn it wasn’t the ‘right’ step but at least now you know and can adjust your approach even further.

Time and time again those three prove to be uber helpful and quickly shift focus, energy and momentum towards getting clear, and ultimately getting what you want.

And if you’re really stuck on HOW to get clear, you owe it to yourself to make ‘getting clear(er)’ your top priority. Ask a coach or mentor, search for a relevant blog or article online, speak to a friend or family member or ask us at ActionPodcast.

So start to recognise your signals more quickly and follow those exact steps.

You’ll be glad you did.

Let us know what your tricks for getting clear are and what you need to get clear on now by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Having the Energy to Do It All

With a hint of regret and a look of disappointment, a client recently revealed that she just doesn’t feel like doing much in the evenings after a day of work.

She was too tired to think, too overwhelmed to see clearly and “…just needed some ‘me’ time to unwind”.

Of course, she’s not alone.

It’s a common malaise of today’s “always on” way for many people – demands continue to rise yet our capacity to meet those demands doesn’t naturally rise along with them. This often leaves us in a deficit of time, energy and enthusiasm for what matters to us outside of work (and many important things in work too).

We would never say it’s what we think, but our behaviour often shows that part of us believes that because technology runs at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time, then we should to.

Illogical, but the truth for many of us nonetheless.

Is there an alternative? Is it possible to break this cycle?

Of course there is.

Sometimes we just need to slow down long enough to notice, to think and to reset our perspective on where we want our energy to be directed.

The first thing to understand is that unlike machines and technology that run on one or two sources of energy (e.g. electricity, petrol), we humans run on – and need – four sources of energy.

Physical energy is the foundation. It’s the quantity of energy we have on a daily basis directly influenced by sleep, what we eat and drink, and how we exercise (or not). Without physical energy we are fairly useless to ourselves and others.

Emotional energy is the quality of our energy. We are fuelled by our emotions and how we feel profoundly influences how we perform. What’s more, we have much more control over our emotions than we give ourselves credit for.

Mental energy is where and how we direct our energy. Where does your focus tend to go? On big important things that matter most to you? Or on small, but voluminous details and minor things that keep you busy but don’t move you forward and accelerate your success. When it comes to trying to deal with all the things in our lives, it’s easy to fall into the trap of mistaking activity for productivity.

Spiritual energy is simply about having a sense of purpose and being in alignment to that purpose. That doesn’t just apply to the biggest question of all, “What is the purpose of your life?” but even on a daily basis where it’s easy to lose sight of the purpose of many of the things that requires your energy, attention and time. In the UK and other parts of Europe it’s a common expression that something, or an experience, can be “soul destroying” – a cancelled project, a task you’ve been assigned where you don’t see the point of it all, or being overloaded with demands from your boss who doesn’t see that you’re already struggling to keep your head above water.

Within these four dimensions of your energy lies every solution you need to lead a more rewarding, fulfilling, exciting, happier, healthier and purposeful life.

If you are like the thousands of smart, educated and committed people who tend to fall flat at the end of the day, or week, you need to do something differently.

It’s not the way it should be. You must stop tolerating that and seeing it as acceptable.

You should have enough energy at the end of your work day to fully engage in your personal life, friends, hobbies and activities that you enjoy.

It’s how we humans are designed and it’s what you deserve.

So as a starting point, at the end of your day, give yourself a score of 1-10. 1 is you are completely and utterly drained, 10 is you are fully energised. Score yourself on EACH of the four dimensions of energy.

The more accurately you can diagnose where your deficit currently is, the more precisely you can apply the right solution.

Having more energy isn’t just about getting more sleep or putting your feet up.

As my client began to realise, making small changes and creating new habits to expand her energy across the four dimensions creates an upward, positive and sustainable spiral of renewable energy.

Within a matter of days, she felt more energised, more focused, more engaged and more fulfilled.

And perhaps most importantly of all, she reconnected with her inner strength and capacity to take back control of her choices and her life.

Do you regularly find yourself being drained at the end of the day? What would you love to do that you don’t seem to have the energy to do? Leave a comment below and let us know and we will provide suggestions and strategies in upcoming podcasts and blog posts. Or pop your feedback on our Facebook page.

Why Your Problem Isn’t Going Away

Do you have a problem or challenge that seems to continually behave like an uninvited guest in your life?

Those extra 10lbs around your waist line?

That annoying boss that is always micro-managing your every move?

That credit card debt that is quietly growing, not shrinking?

We all have “problems” that can be a constant thorn in our side and cause of frustration, disappointment or even depression.

But if it’s sticking around in your life longer than you want or need it to, you’ve got to ask WHY?

WHY does it continue to persist?

WHY have you allowed it to persist?

Despite all the resasons you might give, and what you say when you vent to your partner or best friend, they may not be the “right” reasons.

Changing something can be hard and when we face change we fight against our natural tendencies for maintaining our internal status quo.

We are hardwired for self-preservation. Some say that’s evolutionary, some say it’s passed down from generations. Either way, what research shows is that we are designed to conserve as much as possible…calories, physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy, etc.

In other words, we like the path of least resistance and this directly affects the decisions we make and the action we take.

And because we like the path of least resistance we generally respond to change in one of four ways:

a. Procrastinate – we intellectually know – and emotionally, are acutely aware – that something is off in our lives but we decide we can delay taking action until some later time (and be no worse off). It may not feel like a decision, but our behaviour shows that we have decided to not take the action necessary to resolve it.

b. Rationalize – we acknowledge the conflict but downplay it in our mind. We justify the problem for the time being even if it still stings but are convincing enough to allow it to persist. “It’s only 5lbs but I’m not as heavy as I was in 2008 and I don’t have any big social obligations coming up so I’ll just wear my bagging clothes until I need to change…”

c. Suppress – we try to completely ignore it or push it out of our minds. We turn our attention to more pressing matters, or convenient distractions that we can find in the moment. Chocolate or the office sweets jar are a common reprieve from the discomfort.

d. Accept – we acknowledge it yet tell ourselves that this is the way things are and there’s no point trying to change it. We adopt learned helplessness and play victim to the situation rendering us incapable of making it better. It may feel like that is true but this approach can erode our self-esteem, self-worth and resourcefulness to find a way…because there’s always a way if we want it badly enough.

When we engage in any of these behaviours we are effectively resolving our conflict in the moment but the reality is we’re not solving anything. It feels like we are because the tension goes away but we’re only delaying the eventual solution.

And when your action is only aimed at resolving your inner conflict (e.g. your feelings of stress, worrying, frustration, disappointment, etc) in the moment but don’t actually move closer to eliminating the real issue, you are directly and undeniably encouraging your problem to stick around.

So when you ask WHY the challenge continues to be present in your life, start measuring yourself against these four common responses.

  • Are you exhibiting one or more of these behaviours more than you should?
  • Are you doing it consciously and actively avoiding having to face the issue head on?
  • Or were you doing it unconsciously but now you can see how you are contributing to the lingering nature of the problem?

It’s time to take back control of yourself and be more mindful of how you respond to problems.

Just as you trained yourself to take the path of least resistance, you can train yourself to take the path of most effectiveness. You can make your default reaction more conscious, more honest, more courageous, more resourceful and cut off the chance of it sticking around longer than it needs to.

Which in turn, means you will have more energy and optimism for the things that really matter to you and to work on becoming the person you want to be.

If this post resonated with you, tell us why? How do you tend to respond and what do you think you could do differently in the future. Leave us a comment below or post on our facebook page.

 

One Reason Why You’re Not As Successful As You Want To Be

Sometimes, when we want to achieve something, complete something or simply get started, we can see obstacles that lie before us.

What’s harder is seeing the obstacles that lie within us.

In this podcast, Chris and Paul discuss one of the things we do that can delay our progress and ultimately, our success. We’re all guilty at times and this podcast can help you see it – and eliminate it – quickly, so you can experience the success you deserve, sooner than you would otherwise.

How Are You Inviting Distractions Into Your Life?

Do you find yourself getting constantly distracted?

Unable to complete tasks due to outside forces?

Chris and Gina discuss ways in which we invite distractions (often without realising it) into our lives and the impact this has personally and professionally.

Find out how you can acknowledge your distractions and take practical steps to minimise their impact.

Do You Put The ‘Pro’ in Procrastination?

If there was a boy scout badge, professional certification or ‘lifetime achievement award’ for procrastination, would you nominate yourself (…if you could find the time, of course)?

Does watching this video make you wonder if the creator was peeping in through your windows watching how you navigate through the day?

Well, if you’re laughing or feeling a bit uncomfortable at how much you relate to the above comments, then perhaps it’s time to really take a look at your procrastinating skills in a new light.Continue reading

The Power of the First 1/10th

You may not have noticed, it probably passed like a ship in the night, but this week included a milestone day for all of us. That’s right…Monday February 7th was the 37th day of the year. An ordinary day by any standards but one that also marked the end of the first 10% of this year.

One-tenth of 2011 is now gone. How was it for you?

Are you off to a flying start like an Olympic sprinter? Are you really making an effort to do what you want to do? Having more fun, checking off your to-do list with a steady flow of energy and optimism?

Or are you still stuck in the starting blocks? Putting off what really matters to you or perhaps waiting for some issues to clear before starting on your goals for the year? Maybe just postponing real action until Continue reading

Be Anything But Perfect

Are you a perfectionist? Do you spend hours labouring over presentations that should only take you 30 minutes? Do you often feel you can’t write that book, have that relationship or find the job you love until you are somehow better than you are? The limiting belief inside most perfectionists is a lack of self-belief and low self-esteem. A limiting belief that you are simply not good enough. Chris and Gina discuss the warning signs and what you can do to be successful – even when you’re not perfect.

Don’t Should On Yourself

Yes, it’s that familiar twinge of guilt… the nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach, the one subject that’s going to make you procrastinate for sure. The almighty ‘Should’.

Apparently, psychologist Clayton Barbeau gave the world the oft-used ‘shoulding all over yourself’, taken to a more below-the belt conclusion by another couch potato – clearly a big Freud fan – who dubbed it ‘musterbation’.

But whatever moniker you give this feeling, if you’re anything like me, once the dread word ‘should’ enters your brain you have a sudden indescribable urge to do exactly the opposite. Or put it off for weeks, nay months, even years for the more stubborn ‘delayers’ among us.

Continue reading