10 Oct 2018

How Perfectionism Sabotages Leadership: Three Solutions to Move Your Mindset

There I was. Historic church in Marietta, Georgia. Sun streaming through the 140-year-old windows. About to sing a solo in front of two hundred people. I loved the song and I’d practiced it dozens of times. I sang beautifully. I really did.

 

But it wasn’t perfect. I’d missed a note. And the crowd knew it–because my face crumbled when I did it!

 

I was distraught. I could think of nothing but my mistake. And as the service ended, I couldn’t even celebrate my success nor receive the compliments from my own family and community.

 

The Monster of Required Perfection (MORP)

Most of my life, I was haunted by what I call the MORP. The Monster of Required Perfection. It’s a terrible beast to live with. This monster stalls creativity, hinders success, minimizes courage and prevents ambition from getting off the ground. But I eventually resolved that I was not going to give up success. Instead, I was going to release perfectionism.


The Miserable Cycle of Perfectionism

There is nothing wrong with having lofty goals and raising your bar! It’s the way I work and how my clients approach their careers. But here’s the difference. Ambition puts energy into your hard work. Perfection on the other hand, puts energy behind “fear of less than” or “desire to be greater than.” And when you’re living with MORP, perfection is always pushing you to the next big goal, ensuring milestones are forgotten as soon as they’re completed, and leaving lessons and happiness in the dust.

 

You are never enough, it says. Your bar is always higher. Just out of reach.  

Thus, begins a never-ending cycle of striving to be perfect. And it’s miserable. But there’s a way out.

Here are three techniques to get out of the perfectionist trap and create a credible leadership style.

Hint: Self-awareness is the key.

 

  1. Stop Judging. Seriously.

    Notice the judgments you make every day. About your boss, your peer or your employee. Now notice how these perfectionism-fueled notions influence your decisions, often slamming the door on empowerment and potential for a career path, a relationship or a business solution. Finally, notice how they fuel a consistent “not-good-enough” syndrome for yourself.

    Challenge: 
    Keep a judgment journal. Nothing complicated. Jot down your judgments for one day. See how fast it fills up. Notice your perfectionism. Notice the relationship between judging others, judging yourself and the consequences of each. And it is one of the quickest ways to demean your self-esteem.

 

  1. Face Fear. Then Overcome It. Acknowledge Fear. Then Tell it to Get Lost.

    Progress is highly dependent on risk. Whether it’s speaking up, reaching out or taking a fresh approach, risks are required to succeed. “But it’s uncomfortable,” you whine. “I might make a mistake,” you say. “What if they don’t understand my idea?” This is the fear of imperfection looming over you. And just like that, you avoid risk, and stay cozy, right where you are. Status quo. And we know the status quo is sluggish. It hinders innovation. It cannot possibly keep up with the global changes swirling around you.

    Challenge: 
    Next time you’re faced with a risk–big or small–notice the fear of imperfection. Say hello to this fear. Acknowledge its presence. And then overpower that fear with your own voice.

 

  1. Get Curious. Egos Not Allowed.

    We don’t know what we don’t know. And admitting our imperfection means leaving our ego at the door. But it also allows space for other’s talents and contributions. You’re likely surrounded by a biodynamic garden of thought, experience, background and talent. But we’re often afraid to delegate. We refuse to ask for help.

    Challenge: Today, (yes, today) when you’re not sure how about an approach, a person or a decision, reach out to a colleague, a peer or an employee. It can be one question or a full-on discussion. But see how it feels to let down that guard and receive.

 

Is perfection preventing you from taking risks? Is it keeping you a little too “comfortable.” Is it supporting a leadership style that limits or empowers?

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15 Jun 2018

“Sword” of Conscious Inclusion

I usually do not like to use metaphors that bring to my mind any type of violence. Today, I am going to shift that habit because I find the idea of using the legend of the Gordian Knot intriguing as it relates to building an inclusive environment. It is often used as a metaphor for finding a solution to what may seem to be an impossible problem. The major obstacle to achieving inclusion is the fact that we human beings have biases (explicit and implicit) that drive our decisions and actions. These biases put us in an automatic reactive state of being that tries to navigate and make sense of our world, or at the very least, keep us safe in our comfort zone.

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02 May 2018

Career Advancement: A Partnership between Women and Men

I recently listened to much of the Tory Burch Foundation’s Embrace Ambition Summit. It was a fabulous, well planned and interesting day of stories, tips and experiences to encourage and empower women and the men who are committed to step up, support and help empower them. For some, it is easy to embrace the ambition that drives the energy and actions needed to realize the goals they want to achieve; and for others, ambition is viewed as an unpleasant characteristic; and regarding women, something they should not be proud of.

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08 Mar 2018

Authenticity + Empowerment = Conscious Leadership

A characteristic of effective leadership is the ability to be authentic. It is unambiguously one of the most important aspects that determines a holistic style of leading, whether you are leading yourselves or others. The reason this is so important is that at your very core, you have a genuineness that creates your uniqueness, and it is impacted when it is ignored. You may carry out duties and responsibilities for a long time, and may be successful; however, when that essence of authenticity is put aside for long periods, evidence of discontent begins to show. It may appear as burnout, boredom, frustration, anger, exhaustion, etc. And, it is exhausting not being authentic. read more

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19 Feb 2018

Core Values Index Assessment

The Core Values Index (CVI™) is the only assessment that uses strategic and tactical values to gain insight into the innate nature of the person.

Discover who you are and why some tasks are motivating and some tasks are less enticing. Begin the empowering journey toward giving your best to all that you do. Take the Core Values Index and contact me if you are ready to dig deeper into how you show up in the world and want to be more successful. read more

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05 Feb 2018
09 Jan 2018

Resilience, Purpose and Passion

Two years ago, on a chilly January day at 12:30 in the afternoon, I was brutally attacked, beaten and robbed – in the alley behind my house. At the time, I did not know or even fathom how I would get beyond the experience and the fear that surrounded me inside and out. But, I kept working on some very important projects and I knew that there was a part of me that was fierce and strong and would be able to get beyond the terrifying feelings. With focus and work, I continued, and the memory began to fade, until I was asked to view photos of potential suspects. It was like being traumatized all over again. And yet, I knew I could conquer this and it would not define who I am or how I am in the world. It was not without work.

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07 Nov 2017

Deconstructing Biases, Building Bridges, Not Barriers

Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to do a TEDx talk – to be able to share an “idea worth spreading.” My talk was on Deconstructing Biases, Building Bridges, Not Barriers, and while talking about biases is not new and the acceptance of looking at them is becoming more mainstream, the approach I take asks everyone to take individual responsibility to look deeply and sort through the beliefs that hold others and themselves back.

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10 Oct 2017

Three Tips to Build Self-Confidence and Reach Pure Potential

What does confidence mean to you?  According to Merriam-Webster, Confidence is a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or, of reliance on one’s circumstances; faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way. Many have heard the Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” When you ponder this, it boils down to what we believe about ourselves. Too often, internal messages and biases, as well as outside judgments put a damper on the level of confidence we feel. If, however, we understand that feelings and beliefs are in our power to control, pausing and examining what we are thinking is the first step to choosing an effective approach and response. Let’s look at three automatic defaults that often drive our reactions – Limiting Beliefs, Assumptions, Interpretations.

 

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12 Sep 2017

Three Ways to Check the Message We Broadcast

Every day, whether we realize it or not, we are showing up in life and “sending a message” that is picked up by those around us. That message can fluctuate depending on a various number of factors, such as mood, stress, happiness, environment, media, almost anything that is either an internal circumstance or an external circumstance. The reality is that we believe we do not often have influence over the external circumstances and often believe they are the reason for our internal condition. However, we have much more influence than we realize, and it is our awareness, attitude and intention that can help us avoid being hijacked and being subject to the effect of situations and problems vs. contributing to a solution.

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