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Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

HOW I LEARNED TO LOSE, AND LOST TO LEARN

If someone in the past had told me to be BEWARE OF SUCCESS, I would have laughed in their face, or walked away and/or judged them. Before my recovery, I was a perfectionist. Success was the ONLY outcome.

Why do ANYTHING if you can’t do it perfectly?

If it didn’t come easy, it wasn’t for me. If there was ANY chance or failure, rejection or mistakes, it wasn’t for me. To be good at something, I had to be good at it. I excelled at sports, so I played sports. I would do the work I needed and it was easy for me, so I kept with it. At school, I gave the minimum effort I needed to get the job done. If I was passionate about the subject I would put in MORE EFFORT.  If I wasn’t interested, or it was too hard, I would get by with the minimum amount of work. With the first sign of struggle or work I would give up before trying any harder.

Was I lazy? Yes.

Am I a lazy person? No.

It all came from the same source. FEAR.

FEAR OF FAILURE.

If I didn’t try then I could be disappointed if I failed. THAT WAS MY EXCUSE. That way, failure didn’t hurt. I had a fixed mindset that if I failed I was a failure. Perfection and success were THE ONLY WAY. "Not trying" was my protection against failing because it didn’t sting as badly.

The failure of accomplishing a goal after giving it your BEST hurts a lot more then not trying at all.

Win or bust.

PERFECTIONISM & A FIXED MINDSET

MY GREATEST LEARNING DISABILITY

As a perfectionist, I saw my performance as a reflection of my character. If I could not accomplish something right away I would avoid the task, or treat it with contempt. Do my minimum, put no effort in. If I knew I couldn’t win or if I had a chance to fail, or to be rejected, I SIMPLY WOULDN’T TRY.

This is no longer the case.

Through the years I have learned that failure is not the opposite of success, but is a stepping stone to success. I have learned it is an ESSENTIAL PART OF SUCCESS.

You cannot succeed without failure.

Leaving my perfectionist ways wasn’t easy and the purpose of this post is to help others “see the light” and help you see that the road to success is through learning, growing and failing.

How did I do it?

ACCIDENTALLY FAILING

It was a fluke. Life happened, My mom died. My marriage failed. I hit rock bottom. My lifestyle was less then healthy. I was running on fumes trying to raise my children. Change happens through inspiration and desperation. I was desperate. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I realized that I was alone in this process and stopped looking for something or someone to help me out of my misery. I knew what I needed to do and instead of waiting for validation, I just did it. It was do or die. I thought about my children and the legacy I wanted to leave them. I was time to make a change.

DONE IS BETTER THEN PERFECT

I will never forget this quote. This is the quote that changed my life. It was the quote that made me realize that I didn’t do ANYTHING if I knew I couldn’t do it perfectly.

I was stunted and stopped by my own perfectionism.

I decided to start DOING before being perfect. This was VERY SCARY for me. ALERT! FAILURE OR REJECTION WAS POSSIBLE. These were my GREATEST FEARS. But what I realized was that all my dreams and goals were on the other side of that fear. My perception and mindset were different this time. I had already lost my mother, and my marriage had failed.

The WORSE had happened and I was still there. So I decided to go for it.

I started writing in my blog. I started teaching at the Y. I became a personal trainer. All these did not come easy as I had to take risks. The more came out of my comfort zone the more I realized that it wasn’t so bad.

THE KEY TO SUCCESS IS MINDSET.

This was the last piece of the puzzle and the icing on the cake. There are too many steps to outline how I changed my mindset I will HAVE TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT IT. The difference between a successful person and I mediocre person is not about their ability, intelligence or talent. It is about how they learn and grow from their mistakes. Real change, at least for me, was when I decided to have the courage to try and learn from my mistakes. I focused on self-development, self-motivation and responsibility. It was no longer about the prize, but about the journey. I now find success in learning and improving.

Have you ever been on a team who wins all their games and then loses in the final because they don’t know what it feels like to lose? Everything falls apart the minute they have to come from behind?

If they had tried and failed they would have been better prepared. Beware of success and winning. It can infect you. Learn to lose. Seek out failure as a stepping stone to your success.

FULL COMMITMENT. FULL EFFORT.

 It is very scary to me to fully commit and give all my effort into something that I love and passionate about. I am setting goals that I would like to achieve and leaving no room for the excuse that I didn’t give my all. This is a growth mindset. I believe that I will reach it but there is no guarantee. I have not lowered my standards to make it more realistic. For once in my life, I will EARN IT. If I perform my best, and I do not win then I haven’t earned it yet. It wasn’t my time. I will learn and grow from the experience which will make me stronger and bring me to my next level. 

My goal is to leave it all on the table. Learn from my failures and earn my successes. I will learn to ask the right questions.

The wrong questions – Will I win? Will I lose?

The right questions – Did I make my best effort? Did I learn? Did I grow?

THE PERFECTLY IMPERFECT LIFE

My purpose and desire is to reach in and ignite you to go out and give it your best shot at your true potential: To give you the desire and passion to work hard for what you want. I want you to learn to lose and lose to learn. This will help you develop and true success can only come when you give it everything you have.

And pass it on.

My life isn’t perfect. I have good days and bad. It is a work in progress.

Perfectly imperfect.

I choose to focus on what I have and work for what I don’t. I am grateful for everything I have learned so far and if I had one wish, it would be for you learn from my journey and change your mindset into one of learning, growth and full effort.

 Anything is possible but you need to earn it. Don’t be afraid to try.

I would love to hear your stories of loss and success. How have you failed your way into success? What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? Maybe it's time to try.