Celebrating Imperfection

What would happen if imperfection were the goal rather than the thing to be avoided?

Perfectionism comes at a cost, and far too often, the cost is self-sabotage. Imperfection, on the other hand, can help us move toward goals in a celebratory fashion. We can actually have fun along the way!

Can you relate to this little story, below?

A former client of mine whom I’ll call Caron was paralyzed by perfectionism. She was enrolled in school at the time, and she would work at a frenzied pace and then sabotage herself. Caron would do one very mortifying thing: She would write a paper, complete it, and then in a fit of anxiety, she would delete the paper and start all over again.

Have you ever done anything similar to that? (more…)

The Clean Your Plate Club

Anyone over a certain age likely remembers some version of the clean-your-plate club. It’s a simple as it sounds:

Eat everything on your plate and then you get to belong to our club. Eat your broccoli, those mashed potatoes, your potato roll, and that gravy-covered meat there, too, even though you’re not even sure what it is.

In other words, you get approval for cleaning your plate, and maybe even a lollipop.

While I do not argue the virtue of eating your vegetables and I certainly don’t want anyone wasting food, I take issue with the psychological implications of feeling like everything on your plate must be consumed before you can do anything else.

Cleaning your plate in a metaphorical sense implies that you must finish your projects – no matter how many you’ve got going, before you can go out and play. In other words, there will be no fun till the work gets done. (more…)

On Blasting Through the Wall of Criticism

Real and imaginary critics abound.

If you’re trying to reach a challenging goal, you’re likely to hear a few voices in your head telling you that you can’t do it. Depending on how much attention you give those voices, the resounding echoes of their negativity can be overwhelming.

One of my clients described the criticism she hears while writing to be an enormous wall of criticism that simply will not allow progress to occur. Instead, she suffers, and thinks a lot about the criticism. Any words she writes appear to be pale echoes of what could be.

We’re working on blasting through that wall. Here are a couple of techniques we’ve found that actually work. Try them! (more…)