Motivation, Productivity, Psychology, Relationships

Perfectionism on Steroids: All or Nothing

Are you an all or nothing kind of person? All or nothing is a perfectionism issue people often don’t even realize they have. Many people don’t realize that by being inflexible, you are really saying I want it all or nothing.

The problem with this approach is that quite often it gets you nowhere. Instead of getting to realize the gains that could come by being flexible you often end up sitting at the starting line all alone. Is that where you really want to be?

When it comes to work related issues, one of my favorite quotes is by Mark Cuban, “Perfectionism is the enemy of profitability.” The all or nothing mentality is perfectionism on steroids. Thus, all or nothing is not just the enemy of profitability, it is also the enemy of progress. And for our everyday lives, take out the word profitability and replace it with any goal. Replace the word profitability with success, happiness or any other goal you are striving for and it still stands true.

All or nothing is the enemy of ___________ and progress.

You have no idea how many projects I’ve seen crash and burn in the professional world because of the all or nothing mentality. Each and every project cost the company both a ton of money and progress. I’ve seen projects survive perfectionism, but very seldom do they survive all or nothing.

The fact is we need to be steadfast in our overall vision, we need to strive for excellence, but we need to realize the final results will vary and that is ok. And do you know what is amazing? If we open ourselves up to being flexible, we often end up with an end results that is better than our original vision. Yes better! That is one of the reasons the all or nothing train wreck is so hard to watch. It holds you back!!

We need to understand our objective, sometimes the stated objective is really not what we are after. It can distract us from being able to identify what is really important and thus where we can be flexible. You have to be able to step back and see the big picture. And when you can’t, it is like trying to navigate a dark dense forest without a map or orienteering skills. You will end up lost or nowhere.

Let’s use an example pretty much everyone can relate to, relationships. I have a friend who use to refuse to date guys based on height. What was her goal? Was she looking for someone who just looked good on her arm or was she looking for a relationship that would last? Who knows! As it turns out when she found the one, that height criteria went right out the window. So obviously, she didn’t find that criteria all that important to her real objective.

I have another friend who refuses to waver from her list for the ideal mate. She is single and the few people I’ve known her to date have all met the requirements on her list, but none of those relationships end up lasting. Could it be that by having shallow requirements, down to hair color might I add, that she is missing out on something better. That she is missing out on meeting the one who really is her one?

There is no such thing as perfect. It’s a fact. There is exceptional, there is fantastic, there is good enough and a thousand other things, but there is not perfect. We set ourselves up for failure when we decide things have to be perfect. Know what you want, strive for excellence, but open yourself up to possibilities you haven’t considered and see what happens.

I’d love to hear your experience with this topic.

Motivation, Taking It On

Bias for Action -Part I : What is Stopping You?

“The distance between your dreams and reality is called action” – Unknown

“Eighty percent of success Is showing up.” -Woody Allen

“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” -Estee Lauder

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  -Wayne Gretzky

Have you heard these quotes before or any like them? There are quotes like this flying around everywhere and I’m definitely guilty of posting them on Instagram myself. I won’t lie, I love these kinds of quotes. I love up lifting quotes, but more importantly, I love quotes that talk about taking action.

There is this thing that exists called a bias for action. Mel Robbins talks about it in her book the 5 Second Rule, as do many other authors. Basically, what it boils down to is pretty simple, stop thinking and start doing, stop dreaming and start …take action!

There are some people who are truly shining examples of what it looks like to have a bias for action. These people are the ones who blow our mind with how full of life, open to living, and how successful and confident they seem. They are doers. The truth is anyone can be a doer. We may not all end up living a life as wildly successful and exciting as Sir Richard Branson, for example, but we can have a rich full life. The key is having a bias for action. Want to know how?

First off, what we need to do is identify the things we are using to avoid taking action. We all have ways to avoid the hard things and even the not so hard things in life. We all know we do it. We avoid things we just don’t want to do. The more we do this the more we move away from having a bias toward action. That is why it is important to identify your methods for avoiding. Here is a list of several common ones, many of which I am or have been guilty of myself.

Research. I can research like nobody’s business. It’s amazing the information I can gather and ultimately do little with it. You may not think this is a common one, but how often are you on Pinterest? How many items did you pin to cook for dinner last night? Maybe cooking isn’t your thing, but I bet there is something you like to do and I’m willing to bet you have found yourself getting lost in looking for information or ideas on the subject versus actually doing. Maybe sports are your things, how many articles did you read about your sports team and their stats, where did that get you?

Over Planning. Granted writing down a plan can be a form of action, but you can’t plan, re-plan, fix the plan, and repeat over and over. At some point, what you are doing is called avoiding. A plan is meant to be an estimated course of action that is honed over time, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Excuses. Oh, I can’t work on that today, I really need to “insert numerous excuses here.” I can come up with a thousand ways to avoid. Let’s not even talk about the numerous excuses I can come up with for not going to the gym. Excuses are little lies that we tell ourselves and others and we often know it when we are doing it, but do it anyways. When it comes to excuses there are two main reasons we do it, we either really don’t want to do whatever it is or we are scared.

Overthinking. I can overthink things to the point that I’ve missed the window of opportunity. It’s amazing how many times I can talk myself in and out of something in a five-minute time span. I do it all the time. The longer you think about something the more excuses you are going to come up with to not do it. Fear is going to slowly sneak in and before you know it…fear has won and you are right where you started- nowhere.

Mindless Tasks. How often do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, E-mail? Or how about binge watching Netflix? Ok, I still do that one sometimes… Yes, we all need down time, but how much is it us really doing these tasks to relax vs mindlessly using them to avoid doing what we know we need to be doing?

Lack of Focus. Sometimes we want to do too much. We take on too much, we are overwhelmed and end up going in circles getting nothing done.  Sometimes we can’t help but have a lack of focus, like right now as I write this my child and dog are making some serious racket. It definitely hurts the focus when every two seconds I hear “Pearly” yelled across the living room followed by the crinkle crinkle sound of some toy that sounds like a water bottle being crumpled up.

These things are a fact of life. Interestingly enough, avoidance tactics often don’t start out as avoidance tactics. They often start out as good intentioned tasks. Tasks that were intended to help take action or relax us, but over time they became bad habits that prevent a bias for action.

Have you figured out which ones you’re guilty of? Are they listed above? If not, share what you discovered and maybe it will help someone else identify what is stopping them.

Identifying the road blocks is the first step to removing them and getting closer to a bias for action.  Check back later this week for Part II of this post and let’s talk about having a bias toward action.

If you found this post interesting, share, like and comment below. What are your insights on the topic?