Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ditch your inner perfectionist!

The sky in West Texas is almost always gorgeous. The sky is actually this color, not enhanced by anything! Just deep sky blue, and a smattering of clouds. Copyright (c) 2010 Wendee Holtcamp

A perfectionist? Who me?

Last week's challenge for the Inner Mean Girl Cleanse was a big one for me. Christine & Amy challenged everyone to ditch our inner perfectionists and ahievement junkie. Whoa nelly, this is a big one for me. I can be a Perfectionist with a capital P! Truth be told I consider myself a recovering Type A personality - some of my perfectionism has started to wane. But it's definitely still there, and it manifests in my work (usually a good thing), and sometimes in my parenting and relationships (not so good). The week this email came was the absolute worst one for this challenge for me. Continue reading.

Our Antidote to perfectionism was supposed to be...

1) Under promise. Over deliver.

2) Go for the C. Give 80% instead of 100%. (the reasoning is that for most perfectionists, our C is most people's As!)

So my worst week situ with this challenge: I had a deadline for an article, and of course I can't "Go for the C" with my career! I also had a trip planned to West Texas, and had already waited until the last minute to plan everything. There ya go, maybe that IS my "C." I've been working at breakneck speed the last few months. I have had deadline on top of deadline, week after week, and truth be told I do not work best in that kind of situation. I like deadlines, and even work pretty well under stress generally, but when it's one on top of another with NO break whatsoever I feel like my creativity suffers. As I mentioned before, I like to be able to write something, and let it sit for a few days. With quick deadlines I don't have that luxury.

Interestingly though, I feel like this IMG cleanse is really helping my creativity. Despite my busyness, taking both my morning meditation-prayer-journaling time, and the time to do the Inner Mean Girl Cleanse to work through thoughts and issues, means I've had a lot of insights, and have been in a really good place generally lately. Lots of joy, peace, gratitude and contentedness with life in general and how it's going. Sure, there are day to day stressors, and issues that come up but I just feel happier and more abundant than I have in a while!

What I think I'm realizing is that I need to make sure to keep the balance in my life between work and play. I have a tendency to get overloaded on the work end of things (though I have to say, much of my work - especially the traveling part - is pure joy!). So here's to slowing down, being deliberate in what choices and assignments I take on, and spacing out deadlines a bit more.

I am listening to the audiobook of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey while in my car and I don't consider it chance that I heard this part of the audiobook right during this week of the IMG Cleanse related to Perfectionism and Overachievement. Covey talks about a quadrant dividing out life's activities based on two criteria: Urgency and Importance. There are items that are urgent & important, urgent & unimportant, not urgent and important, and not urgent and not important. Importance is defined by items in line with your personal mission statement (which can include work related items, family, personal growth) and is of course different for each person.

Covey says we need to spend most of our time in Quadrant 2 activities so we're not driven by the tyranny of the urgent. If we devote more time to Quadrant 2 activities, Quadrant 1 (urgent, important) will diminish because one of the most important Quadrant 2 activities is planning! Other Quadrant 2 activities are developing professional knowledge, implementing systems, and relationship building (so while someone might initially think that talking to a friend, or developing relationships in bible study or even business meetings are unimportant, to the extent you are building relationships, they are very important. Of course, some meetings are totally useless... it all depends on the situation.

I am lucky in that I don't have to sit through a bunch of boring, ineffective business meetings but I have found that sometimes meeting one-on-one is actually an incredibly important means to move a project forward, and to establish trust and emotional bonds between co-workers. I think this is why I make meeting with folks I know and like such a high priority in my travels around the world - whether friends or colleagues. I really like people, and especially the people I like. ;)

I think that I need to become better organized, and spend less time in brain-numb-time-waste activities, like Facebook. As much as I LOVE social networking on Facebook, I need to manage my work time more effectively. So that's my goal. I think that by using my time more wisely, I will spend more time able to let go of the details a bit more.

On another note, I actually did take the advice of "go for the C" in my West Texas travels (mostly due to not enough time to plan more), and we had all kinds of humorous misadventures as a result. It's all good though - everything worked out just fine! With a little prayer and some backup plans in the pocket, we had a total blast despite a rental car breakdown and inability to get a hold of two hotels (get this - when it rains, the phones go down in West Tex - For Realz). A good choice of travel companion and lots of laughter are also key! Laurie is the best! I will post some photos and blog about our trip when I get a chance. I'm off to the store to shop for my son's birthday party this weekend!

And a tease of pics to come...

A herd of bighorn sheep on Elephant Mountain.
Self-portrait on Elephant Mountain. Having a blast!
Slippery steps... The spring pool at Balmorhea State Park that stays 72 degrees or something like that year-round.
Jumpin in!
This is some sort of very colorful turtle - blue head, red eyes, orange arms... I'm not sure what species. Anyone know?
Until next time...

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