5 Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism

Having high standards is a good thing and can reflect well on your character and work ethic.  Striving for excellence is a sign that you are committed to personal development and high performance.  Being determined to put out a good work product builds a strong brand based on quality.

Entrepreneurs can confuse high standards with perfectionism.  Perfectionism takes high standards to an unachievable level that can cause anxiety, frustration, low self-esteem, and even depression.  Perfectionists believe anything short of flawless is horrible and classified as a failure.

Most people try to do their best, but they accept the fact they are human and will make a mistake from time to time without feeling like a disappointment or that they have completely failed at a task. With so much focus on being perfect, feelings of doubt in one’s abilities can creep in. Therefore, it is wise to loosen up standards to a more attainable level that can be sustained over long periods of time. 

Check out these simple tips for overcoming perfectionism and regaining control over your emotions:

  1. Recognize perfectionistic thinking – Perfectionists are detail oriented and can absorb high levels of information.  It can cause overwhelm because everything seems to be critical and cause analysis paralysis due to the overabundance of details.

    Utilizing the 80/20 principle can help simplify processes and put boundaries in place to reduce the amount of actual work required. Recognizing that 80% of results come from 20% of the work can result in a perspective shift.
  2. Remove all or nothing mindset – Thinking in terms of Black and White can limit the ability to recognize the reality of the situation.  Having unrealistic expectations that everything must be perfect or the project is a failure adds anxiety and frustration to everyone involved. 

    Choosing to believe that imperfections create opportunities to learn will open up new possibilities.  Applying newfound knowledge to future endeavors will increase success rates. Accepting the idea that mistakes don’t indicate weakness will alleviate unnecessary pressure and create a more positive working environment.
  3. Stop procrastinating – Lack of clarity, poor prioritizing or overwhelm can cause procrastination.  It can feel impossible to move forward when the abundance of details create more work than necessary.  An overload of details can feel like it is impossible to set priorities as everything feels equally weighted.

    Taking action will create forward momentum. Choose a starting point and dig in.  Creating a master list and evaluating what needs to be done and what tasks can be eliminated will help simplify the project and bring clarity to the situation.
  4. Delegate and walk away – Perfectionists can be micromanagers. They feel like they need to do everything themselves.  Often times they believe no one is capable of doing things exactly the way they should be done. 

    Creating a list of standard procedures and checklists will make delegating easier and eliminate the need to micromanage.  Dedicating time to train people properly will build a level of trust that the job will get done within well-defined and agreed-upon parameters.
  5. Celebrate progress – Change doesn’t come easy.  Raising awareness on the way perfectionism limits productivity and stifles relationships can create motivation to change. 

    Take a victory lap each a new milestone is attained.  Consistent reinforcement will make it easier each time a perfectionistic habit is confronted.

Steady steps forward will create positive outcomes.  Redefining a more realistic set of standards will improve your relationship with goals, turning dread and worry into excitement and motivation.  Consistency will move you from procrastination to taking action while reducing feelings of dissatisfaction.  Over time, you will move past feeling obsessed with imperfection and begin to see the big picture without getting caught up in the minutia of details.  Most importantly, you make a shift from feeling like a failure to seeing lessons learned as a stepping stone to success and knowing you are more than enough. 

#perfectonism #empowerment #personaldevelopment #mindset #confidence

Shift from Persistent to Resilient

Resilience is a word that is resonating with me lately. Resilience is what has gotten me to where I am today.  The mindset of never giving up has served me well. Until recently the word I would have used is persistence, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Resilient sounds luxurious.  It sounds like there is an amazing payoff if you keep pushing through. Persistent sounds like a drum beating out a monotone rhythm over, and over, and over.  Resilience feels like adjusting your course when something isn’t working. Persistence feels like beating your head on a brick wall.

Do you ever feel like that in life?  You’re working hard. You’re being consistent, but you’re not getting the results you’re looking for?  Maybe you’re being persistent in following a certain routine, but that routine is no longer providing the benefits it once did.

Change feels awkward and unfamiliar. Sometimes it feels scary because it takes us so far out of our comfort zone.  Shifting our mindset from being persistent to being resilient means trying new things and asking ourselves new questions.

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to Marie Forleo interview Tony Robbins. They were discussing the idea of not giving up. At the time I didn’t really connect the dots to them illustrating resilience.  When asked what frustrates him most, he replied, (paraphrased) when people say they have tried everything but in reality, they have maybe tried 15 or 20 things. He went on to say, people shouldn’t give up until they have tried at last 7,000 things.

Continuous trying and calibrating is what builds resilience into our character.  Some of us are born with it, but most of us need to cultivate it. When things get hard in our life or business and it seems like nothing is working, it can be easy to think about quitting. But that’s not what you really want to do.

Instead of entertaining the thought of quitting, dig deep and ask yourself what’s working and what’s not.  Formulate a new plan and start again. Changing your perspective can change your outcome.

Today I shared a video of a child trying to jump on a high box to my granddaughter. The child repeatedly tried to land on the high box but kept falling short of the goal.  She was getting frustrated, but each time she would re-evaluate her strategy for getting to the top of the box in one mighty bound. Her coach came and encouraged her and assured her that she had the ability to make the jump successfully.  That time she did. She was elated.

It was an inspiring video for my granddaughter.  Immediately she wanted to try it. We got a laundry basket and inverted it so she could jump to the top.  She watched the video, analyzed what the little girl had done. She adjusted her bearings and leaped to the top on her first try. I’m not sure who was more surprised, her or me!  That wasn’t challenging enough, so we had to find a way to make a taller obstacle to jump on.

I could hear her growl in disappointment as she continued to raise the bar of her achievement.  As I sit here writing, I can hear her self-talk processing what went wrong and figuring out how she can manage to jump even higher.  “You can do it, you just need to jump higher with more power,” she says before her next attempt.

We can learn so much from watching kids do what comes naturally.  Using positive self-talk and reinforcing what we already know we can do based on past accomplishments is a powerful tool for pushing through tough situations.

Keep on keeping on.  You got this!

5 Tips for Creating a More Positive Body Image

Body image is an issue every woman deals with regardless of her body shape or size. There is always something about our bodies that cause us to cringe when we look in the mirror. Having poor body image can cause us to show up small in our lives. To fully love ourselves we must find ways to accept our bodies just as they are lumps, bumps, and curves.

Every woman deserves to love herself completely, but it doesn’t happy by accident.  It takes intentionality to change our inner thoughts and beliefs. Check out my five tips to create a more positive body image:

  1. Appreciate your body for all it does for you. Make a list of all of the things your body is capable of. Our bodies are amazing creations that are capable of carrying and nurturing life. They are beautiful in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

    I was struggling with not being able to lose weight. Since menopause, I have put on some extra pounds that made me feel poorly about how I looked and felt about myself. My coach suggested writing a love letter to my body. I really didn’t see the value in the exercise, but I thought I had nothing to lose. After gazing at my naked body in the mirror, I started writing a letter of gratitude for all my body has done for me. It was remarkable how changing my mindset made a profound difference in my body image and ability to shed those unwanted pounds.

  2. Create a list of 25 things you love about yourself. This list should exclude anything that is body related. Focus on personality, character, and abilities or awesome skills you have that make you uniquely you.

    This will be a useful tool to revisit when you’re having an off day. It’s not uncommon to have low self-esteem days or body image days during your monthly cycle. This list will help overcome the negative emotions you might feel during this time of the month. Keep is close so you can reread it for a quick pick me up.

  3. Define what beauty is to you. Beauty is subjective. What you believe beauty is should be the only definition that matters to you. Beauty is a state of mind more than the outward appearance of your body.

    Beauty eventually fades with age. Youthfulness transforms into wrinkles and gray hair. If we base our definition of beauty on outward appearance we will continually struggle with our self-image. Work on building character traits that radiate your inner beauty and your self-image will fall in line with your new beliefs about yourself.

  4. Surround yourself with positive influences. There is power in the community we spend time with. The five people we hang out with will have the most significant impact on our thoughts. Make sure these people are breathing positive life-giving energy into your life.

    Choose friends that are positive and encourage you to grow in mind, body, and spirit. Don’t align yourself with negative people that feed you critical remarks and tear you down. We all have a judgemental voice in our heads that does enough sabotaging!

  5. Stop comparing yourself to media ads. The comparison game never ends well. It always leaves us feeling icky and less than. Media ads don’t represent reality. They are photoshopped and represent the fashion industry’s idea of beauty.

    Focus on having a strong and healthy body. Eat a clean diet filled with colorful foods that fuel your body. I have recently been more intentional about meal times so I can fully engage in all of the wonderful flavors of the foods I’m ingesting.

Feeling good about your entire being is a step towards unconditional self-love. Loving the skin we’re in is a huge part of the self-love experience. If we don’t like what we see in the mirror, it erodes our confidence and makes us feel like hiding away. It can make us feel unlovable or unworthy of success in life and business.

Take time to evaluate where you are on the on your journey to self-love and acceptance when it comes to your body image. Ask yourself what you need to do to improve that part of your life and create an action plan. Never feel like you need to change your appearance to please someone else.

Build activities into your life that nurture a sustainable self-care routine like staying hydrated, eating right, exercising at least 3x a week and getting plenty of rest. These are all simple ways to build self-care into our daily life without adding additional activities to your schedule. Taking care of yourself first will help develop the concept of self-worth.

Share what you do to cultivate a positive body image in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear how you take time to care and love yourself daily!

10 Tips for Building Positive Self-Esteem

This week has been a tough week. As I have met with clients, I have felt their heartbreak as they have been judged and rejected for who they are or how they look. We all go through that, but there seems to be an overabundance of critics out there who are hitting below the belt.

As I was growing up, physical beauty was an important quality to possess. In our home, when my Dad came home from work, my Mom was expected to have her hair done, makeup on and be dressed in heels. That image helped mold my ideas surrounding beauty.

My parents were weight conscious and we didn’t eat sugars, carbs or fatty foods as a rule. A baked potato with butter and sour cream was a welcome treat. It was a rare occasion that we had desserts in our home.

Among our friends and family, I was referred to as “chubby” or “husky,” then be compared to a thinner, taller cousin. It was as if shaming me would somehow magically make me thinner or taller.

After years of programming, I began to believe I was unworthy of being loved or accepted for who I was and how I looked. I took on people pleasing and perfectionism to be accepted by my parents and peers. I felt like I had to perform to earn love because it wasn’t enough to just be me.

The summer before 9th grade, I remember my Dad tell me if I would just lose 10 pounds I would be beautiful. That summer I existed on a container of Yoplait yogurt and a slice of toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter daily. No matter how thin I was, there was always that conditional 10 pounds standing in the way of beauty.

I’m so glad I didn’t grow up in the age of the internet. It was hard enough comparing my body type with the models on the cover of Cosmo magazine. Magazines played a significant role in defining beauty for my friends and me. It was essential to wear the right makeup, have the right clothes and have a sparkling white smile.

As an adult, I struggled with self-image and self-esteem. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have come to grips with what loving myself unconditionally really means. I can now accept who I am inside and out and not feel “less than” based on my appearance.

Here are some of the tips I’ve applied to my life to build my self-esteem and completely fall in love with the woman I have become:

Apply the 80/20 rule: I used to get caught up in the lie that I had to be perfect to be accepted. I would work tirelessly and never leave a task unfinished. I felt like I had to work harder than my classmates or workmates. Being good wasn’t good enough, I had to be the best at everything. Life was a competition to get the most accolades, collect the most awards and outperform all of my rivals.

Learning to delegate and apply the 80/20 rule helped me accept that things don’t have to be perfect to be acceptable. If someone can do the task 80% as well as I can that would be sufficient. At first, it was hard to let go and not go back and fix things. But, I have come to experience the freedom that comes from setting healthy boundaries and letting “good” be good enough.

Fail forward: Failure was like a four letter word when I was growing up. I would beat myself up and berate myself for not being perfect, for forgetting something or not meeting my parents’ expectations. No one could be more harsh to me than my own self-talk.

I have learned that we all fail when we try new things, it’s a part of the growth process. If we aren’t failing, we aren’t really living. We are playing it safe and that keeps us small. If we truly want to make an impact in the world, we must have the courage to fail; only then can we apply those lessons to build on future successes.

Change your self-talk: We all have an inner gremlin that holds us accountable for our shortcomings. That gremlin can tell us lies by making us believe he is acting in our best interest. We just need a little tough love to keep us motivated.

Negative self-talk erodes our belief in self and causes us to feel “less than”. The voice causes us to question our value to ourselves and others. When we hear that voice we need to learn to shut it off and denounce the lies it is telling then breathe truth into our self-talk messaging.

100 Things: Create a list of 100 positive words to describe yourself. You can even expand and make it a list of 100 things you love about yourself. This exercise can be difficult, especially if you’ve been listening to that gremlin for years.

Sit down and brainstorm, write everything down. There is no right or wrong answer for this list. If you get stuck, put it away and go back to it until you reach 100 things. You’d be amazed at how good it will feel to see how many positive qualities you possess. Pull out the list and reread it when you experience self-doubt.

Self-Compassion: Practice self-compassion when you fall short. Act as if you were speaking to a small child. Notice the difference in your tone and word choice. You should always talk to yourself like you’re talking to someone you love. Our words and our tone are important. Everyone deserves compassion.

If we can’t show ourselves compassion, we can’t receive compassion from others. Learning to let others show us compassion can be humbling. At first, it can feel awkward because we expect everyone to be as critical of us as we are. Keep practicing until it feels comfortable.

Get out of your comfort zone: Try something new. Learning a new skill or practicing a new hobby can change our opinion of ourselves. It takes us at least three times to decide if we like this new activity. Give yourself permission to do poorly as you expand your horizons. The more you try something new, the more your self-view will improve.

Stop comparing yourself: Comparison is the killer of dreams. Comparisons are never fair. There is no way to know someone else’s full story. If they are better than you at an activity, you may be a beginner and they may have been at it for decades. If their life looks perfect, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. So just stop.

If you’re going to compare, compare who you were yesterday or last week to where you are today. Check out your progress and see how far you’ve come. Measure your improvements, after all, what you think about yourself is far more important than what others think about you!

Define your “why”: We all need to know what our purpose is in life. Why do we exist? Why do we do what we do? If we know your why we will stay motivated to stay the course. If you have clarity about your purpose you will begin to see how you were perfectly created to fulfill that purpose.

Plug into a community: Get rid of toxic people in your life. If you’re working hard to change your self-talk and practice wholehearted living, toxic people can wipe out all of your hard work in one conversation. Surrounding yourself with supportive people who will make your journey more fruitful.

Journal: Journaling is a powerful tool when it comes to personal growth and accountability. Writing out our thoughts and feelings can give us a record of success that we can look back on. Changing habits and creating new routines in our life takes reinforcement, journaling can help instill those new habits until they are stable.

Journaling is also a great place to practice daily gratitude. Reflect on the day and look for things that you can be grateful for, lessons learned, people you encountered or experiences you had. Focusing on gratitude will shift your energy and help give you a new perspective on yourself and your life.

Personal growth is a life-long journey. It took years to build your self-esteem. If you have been struggling with low self-esteem, it will take time to reprogram your self-talk and reframe the way you perceive yourself. Be kind to yourself along the way, it takes time to create new habits and ways of thinking.

One of the best ways to build value in yourself is to be intentional about creating a self-care routine. Taking time daily to care for yourself consistently will help you see your worth and make you feel good in the process. Remember you were created imperfectly perfect and you are worthy!

Let me know how you’re doing. Are you loving yourself today?

5 Ways to Show Up for Yourself Daily

As a leader in your business, you need to show up every day.  Growing your business takes consistent effort and intentional actions.  Without those two ingredients, your business is nothing more than a time-consuming hobby.  

You may not have had good leaders in your past to emulate but that is no excuse.  If you’re going to build a successful business, you need to rely on your core values and work ethic to define the brand you are building.  This means you need to show up for yourself each and every day.

Here are five ways you can show up for yourself and create maximum impact:

Eat a clean diet – Eat a healthy diet to fuel your body and increase your energy level. Consuming foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids reduces moodiness. Protein dense foods like lean meats, fish and poultry aid the release of dopamine and help you stay focused.  Whole grains like quinoa and seeds level out your blood sugar and create a stable metabolism. If you’re a late night snacker, try a hand of almonds or a glass of low-fat milk which provide protein and melatonin for a soothing night’s sleep.

Get plenty of rest –  In order to function at a high level, you need to be fully rested. Sleep deprivation causes impulsiveness and inhibits your ability to make good decisions.  Your judgment may become impaired causing you to doubt yourself. Poor sleeping habits can be responsible for memory problems.  You may begin to misplace your keys, important documents or forget people’s names. Sleep deprivation causes a larger than normal appetite and can lead to mindless snacking.  Irregular sleep patterns can cause you to become irritable and difficult to be around.

Practice self-care – Slow down to recharge your battery.  Create a regular self-care routine to get to know yourself on a deeper level.  Doing things that make you feel good increases your self-compassion and gives you a sense of belonging.  Practicing self-care increases your passion for life and boosts your self-esteem. When you engage in activities that really light you up, your energy level increases and you experience higher levels of productivity.

Dress the part – Create the image of who you want to be.  Let your personality be your guide. You may feel better and be more productive in professional attire and heels. Business attire might be too constricting for you and you may feel more hands-on in jeans and a t-shirt. Regardless of your style, it is important to be true to your instincts. Dress in a manner that makes you feel empowered and your attitude will follow suit.

Be confident – Belief in who you are is the most powerful way you can show up for yourself. High levels of confidence allow you to perform better under pressure. You are more able to live up to your potential when you’re feeling good about yourself.  People with high confidence levels tend to be more influential in winning over people and getting buy-in on major decisions. When you’re confident, you recognize the value you bring to the table which reduces negative self-talk and doubt.

Consistency and intentional habits will make it easier to for you to show up for yourself on a daily basis.  Design a morning and evening routine that set you up for success. Take time to journal and reflect daily on what is working and tweak the habits that don’t serve you well.