I was the presenter at a New England eWomen event on Wednesday and I totally enjoyed the people who were there. I highly recommend (if you are local and in business) checking them out.
I was all prepared for my speech. I had spoken at eWomen groups before. I felt at ease and confident. And then, a curve ball. Unexpectedly I was asked to talk about my business for 2 minutes.
When it was my turn, I froze. My mind just went completely blank. I have introduced myself this way hundreds of times but my brain could not access the information it needed and I stumbled over my words. YUCK! Who likes public failure? No one does!
So, with the desire to turn this uncomfortable event into something positive, I started to think about what good might come of it. I decided that this post would be the start. And, maybe a book. Inspiration comes in so many ways!
Transforming Failure Into Inspiration
One thing that I hear over and over is that people are afraid to fail. They are afraid of what others are going to think about them. They are afraid to feel the pain of failure and because of this fear of failure they stop short or do not take action at all.
I have definitely been someone that has been afraid of failure. I have been afraid of it to such a degree that at times it has been totally paralyzing.
Truth be told, I was once quoted as saying “Everyone in my family is a perfectionist (including myself) but I suck at it.” This is interesting in two ways. First, saying that means I was the pinnacle of perfectionism. Second, this way of being clearly comes with a desire to be mean to myself in the form of judging everything that is not perfect.
If you experience this you know how much it sucks.
Perfectionists never feel good enough. When they make a mistake, and they know that they made a mistake, it is enough to take them down –really far down.
Sometimes this stops them from doing anything at all. Their perfectionist streak can hurt both career and relationships but it’s worst aspect is the internal judgement and negative dialog.
You can change the game by embracing your limitations and failures. This is not an easy thing to do and takes patience and practice, but it can be learned. Here are five things that you can do to become less of a perfectionist.
1. Stop performing: Do you find yourself making everything polished and perfect? Does everyone think you are amazing –all the time? It can be great to be amazing but know what is even better? Being liked for who you really are. Instead of perfect, aim for genuine.
2. Lean into your mistakes: If you are screwing up, let yourself screw up. It can even be fun. Take it from a serious person. Make a point of not taking YOURSELF to seriously.
3. See your mistakes as opportunities: There is something to be gained from every time we fail. How can you turn coal into a diamond?
4. Give credit to and enjoy both your strengths and limitations: Funny thing happens when you embrace either a strength or a limitation of yours, you become better able to embrace its opposite. This means you get to increasingly step more and more into your full self.
5. See it as a gift: When you are willing to be accepting of your limitations everyone around you is able to breath a bit more easily. Being honest about and accepting your shortcomings helps everyone around you heal themselves by creating an environment of love and acceptance.