Hands up if you are perfect! What..nobody? Really?….Of course you aren’t and neither am I!!
Yet it seems that the pursuit of perfection pervades our lives in so many ways through ideas planted by advertisers, the media and ‘success gurus’.
Over the last few days I can recall perfection ideologies being fed into my subconscious daily…by the likes of home furnishing retailers who show how wonderful our homes could be if we just bought that new sofa or invested in that wonderful new kitchen. I’ve watched countless TV commercials that promise perfection for my skin, body shape, hair shine. I’ve been tempted by perfect holidays through images of loving couples running hand in hand towards the sunset and via pictures of extremely happy and functional families all playing nicely on the sand (no tantrums or sandcastle kicking in sight). And to cap it all, social media has been bombarding me daily with ideas on how to achieve the perfect business this year…accompanied by aspirational images of extremely glossy and well groomed successful business coaches who clearly have perfection in every aspect of their lives (as well as very shiny white teeth)!
Enough of this perfection!
Striving to be perfect is setting yourself up for failure. In a coaching session I held last year, a client felt like a failure because a cold email marketing campaign had only generated a 10% response rate. Anyone who works in marketing will know that a cold campaign is lucky to generate a response rate of just half to 1%. So in this case, we were able to completely reframe the results from failure to astounding success! My client actually achieved over 10 times the usual response rate for a cold campaign! Not perfection of course, (because that would have required a 100% response)…but a fantastic result nonetheless. Can you see how dangerous the pursuit of perfection can be?
Aiming for perfection but not achieving it can lead to disappointment, despair, frustration, feelings of failure, anger, low self-worth, stress and over-work. It’s dangerous, because it is virtually impossible to achieve and will virtually always lead to you falling short in some way.
Instead I suggest we all continue to aim high, and redefine our goals not through the language of ‘perfection’, but through gaining a clear idea of what Great Ambitious Results would be.
So, it’s absolutely OK to be imperfect And here are 5 tips for Great Ambitious Results in 2015 (whilst accepting and enjoying your imperfections):
1. Forget the idea of a perfect life…it doesn’t exist. List the things that are really far more important in your life than perfection (for example health, friends, family, freedom, fun…).
2. If you are feeling dissatisfied, get clear on the one thing above all else that you would like to be different. Focus on this one thing and take ownership and actions NOW for starting to turn this around.
3. List the things you know you are good at, the things other people admire (or have admired) you for. Are you using these strengths to your advantage, or are you fretting about the things you aren’t so good at? Play to your strengths. Simples!
4. If you need to learn how to do something this year, LEARN IT. Take action, be active not reactive. Do you want another year to go past with you wishing that you knew how to….??
5. Grow your network. Wherever you work, whatever you do, whoever you are, the opportunities for astounding success and new beneficial ventures will come expanding and deepening your interpersonal relationships.
Leave perfection to the advertisers and media industry. We are far better devoting our time, energy and resources to defining and achieving Great Ambitious Results in our businesses and lives. Wishing you well as always! Miranda