Have you been chasing your idea of perfection? Does it end up making you feel that, no matter how hard you try, you’re just not quite cutting it? Perfectionism is a factor all too common among lawyers (as well as other professionals and business owners). Each of us has an idea of what constitutes a “perfect” life — perhaps it’s living in a particular neighborhood, looking a certain way, acquiring an array of material possessions, reaching certain accolades or having your spouse and children do the same. I am 100% in favor of having a vision of what you want your life or career to look like and going for it full throttle. But, there’s a fine line between going for the gold and chasing perfect (special thanks to Ann Forno for coining this phrase!)
Here’s part of a message that I wrote to a Platinum Client that may help you understand the difference:
I realized something about me that may apply to you too. One way the Resistance (i.e., self-sabotage as per Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art) shows up in my life is by SO wanting my future vision to manifest that I am utterly unable to be present in my current life. I get unhappy about not being “there” that it can ruin the present, which then leads me to be unhappy now. I then beat myself up for not being “there”, put undue pressure on myself, get depressed, and then get lethargic. When I am lethargic, I don’t have the energy to do the work. Plus, all my negativity brings about more negative stuff (via principles of Cause & Effect or Law of Attraction). The Resistance WINS. It wins because I give up. It wins because I feel as though I can’t experience any joy until I got “there”. I now see what I have been doing, and how it was the Resistance all along. I don’t think you are as extreme as me with this. But, I offer this so you can learn from my mistakes. One huge reason it took me so long to get to where I am today in my business (& I have a way to go still) is because I kept falling into a pattern of Resistance where I got so miserable, I would derail myself.
So, lesson learned: celebrate what you have now – even the crap — because it is a stepping stone; acknowledge all that IS working, especially things we take for granted living in the USA (like an abundance of food, clothing, shelter, etc.) ; keep doing something that will move you toward your vision DAILY; and most importantly, take time to take care of yourself. When you don’t, you risk succumbing to the Resistance. You will reach your goals faster if you can enjoy the ride now without going into either extreme: the extreme of chasing perfect and the extreme of complete indulgence.
Where do YOU stand? Are you chasing perfect? If so, then I invite you think about how the incessant chase of perfection only delays your ability to accomplish your goals AND makes the journey less fulfilling. Instead, commit to doing some of the actions outlined in the second paragraph of the aforementioned note. You’ll be a lot happier and as a result, you’ll reach your vision of success faster. I’ll leave you with this quote:
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.” ~Albert Schweitzer