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2019-12-02 18:53:11

Make Friends With Your Imperfections

We all have imperfections and there is so much pressure to get ahead these days that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s essential. Everywhere you look, there are reminders to set and reach stretch goals, to look to the next challenge, the next promotion, a bigger house, and a better car.  It might be tempting to give up, even maybe feel like you’re a failure for not having an Instagram-worthy day every day. Here are some suggestions for embracing your imperfections.   

Own your individuality and your flaws

It’s time to cut yourself some slack and make friends with your imperfections. It is not only human to be imperfect; it’s what makes you an individual.  All those little quirks, the crooked smile, the cowlick, even the frown when you’re concentrating, all make you irresistibly you.  It’s the same with skills. So you’re not good with figures, or your ball skills are lame. No one is good at everything, and no one goes through life without making mistakes.  Owning your flaws will make you more relatable as a person and more compassionate in your dealings with others. Practising some self-compassion will make you a kinder, more accepting person.  Imperfections  

Get some perspective

Learn to be objective about your mistakes and how important they are in the big scheme of things. Often making mistakes or failing can be a big aha moment.  You learn what didn’t work, you change course, and you move on.  Reset your expectations and learn to think of mistakes as stepping stones to long-term success, not as damning indictments of you as a person. The sooner you detach yourself from identifying with your failures, the better!  It’s how you respond to failure that defines you, not the mistake itself.   

Be kind to yourself

Perfectionists tend to lose sight of the real issue. Did you do your best? Did you give it your best shot?  So many things are out of your control and have the potential to support or derail your projects. If you did the best you could at the time, and you have learned from the experience, that’s enough.  Instead of locating your self-worth in other people’s opinions or the success or failure of a project, find success in how you behaved and what you did.  Make friends with imperfection by seeing yourself as a rounded, complete human being.  Imperfection is necessary to keep growing and learning and discovering new and exciting things about the world and its possibilities.   

When You Embrace Your Imperfections

Did you know that as soon as you stop trying to be perfect, beautiful things happen? It’s true!  Choose to step away from continually striving to get ahead, to achieve an impossible ideal, and you will see life open up like a flower.  Here are some of the blessings of embracing imperfection. Imperfections  

You realise your uniqueness

Tone down the critical self-gaze and suddenly those little quirks stop being flaws and start being beautiful things that set you apart and make you your own, unique, beautiful self.  No one else has your smile or your frown of concentration. No one else can write the way you do or make your style of French toast.   

You can stop comparing

Embracing your imperfections releases you from the destructive cycle of comparing yourself with other people. Your Inner Critic can stand down because being better than the next guy suddenly stops mattering.  Seeing your flaws as unique characteristics making up your self also releases you from needing external validation. So, what if you don’t have a thirty-inch waist or your legs don’t go on forever?  Real validation comes from within and what other people think or how they look doesn’t matter.   

You become more positive about yourself and others

Stepping out of the competitive measuring up changes your mindset. Instead of being judgmental and self-critical, you focus on the things you like about yourself.  And as soon as you stop beating yourself up, you become more relaxed about other people. 

You become kinder

People who are okay with their less than perfect aspects tend to be more forgiving of other people’s flaws.  When you embrace imperfection, your standards become more realistic, and in turn, you take a kinder more compassionate view of yourself and others.   

You lose your fear of failure

Once you’ve become more okay with imperfection, failure shrinks down to more realistic proportions. You can see mistakes or missteps as an inevitable part of being human.  Failure is an essential part of learning, a stepping stone on the path to success.  And because fear is no longer a catastrophic prospect, it’s a lot safer to take some risks, to stretch your challenges and who knows, even have more significant successes.   

Your self-esteem grows

Accepting that failure is okay, and that imperfection is inevitable means that you become happier with who you are and how you’re doing. It doesn’t mean you don’t work hard or stop having goals, but it does mean you are less hung up about doing everything correctly.  All your characteristics and experiences become aspects that make you the beautiful individual you are. And that’s pretty wonderful. We all have imperfections and when we learn to embrace our imperfections we become more resilient and keep focused on what’s essential. 

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2019-11-25 21:56:08

Build Meaningful Connections With Others

Whether you're talking about developing resilience, managing stress, or finding greater life satisfaction, building meaningful connections are a must. You and I and all humans have a basic necessity to connect with others. These interactions lend meaning and happiness to our lives. Too many people succumb to the misconception that the ability to connect with others is an unteachable trait that belongs to only a blessed few. The reality is that the ability to build meaningful connections is under your control. And it comes down to a matter of emotional intelligence. Matthew Lieberman at UCLA conducted some research that shows being social and connecting with others is a fundamental human need similar to food, shelter, and water. [caption id="attachment_14551" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Click the image to download the full infographic[/caption]  

Social Pain

Lieberman discovered that the social pain we feel at the loss of a relationship originates in the dorsal posterior insula. That is the same part of the brain as physical pain. We are designed for survival, and the primary function of this area of the brain is to alert us to threats. Think about that and you realise how powerful and important social connection is to us.  We are hard-wired to be social creatures. Taking a moment to reflect on our daily encounters can help us determine whether the interactions we have with others constitute meaningful connections.  Countless interactions occur with family, friends, teachers, coworkers, service providers, baristas, children, neighbours, and coaches. The list is literally endless.  connections  

Impossible And Exhausting

It would be impossible and exhausting to make a meaningful connection at every encounter, yet enhancing our awareness and ability to improve relationships leads to many benefits. Connecting with the person who makes my latte? You must be joking! Give me a reason why I should.  Meaningful connections support our well-being in a holistic sense. People in positive, supportive relationships gain a greater sense of self-worth. And the better quality relationships at work, then the higher your work satisfaction.  The research conclusively shows we experience overall health benefits such as reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.  It is also shown that caring behaviours, which are evident in meaningful connections, release stress-reducing hormones.  No wonder that a phone call with a friend helps us feel more relaxed, confident, and content.  

Convinced Yet?

It is easy to make meaningful connections because they can occur in any interaction and are not limited to your most profound relationships. Whether it is working on a project with a coworker, supporting your partner through a difficult time in their career, or coordinating snacks with another rugby parent, qualities such as compassion, honesty, respect, support, and positivity enhance every interaction.  Interactions create meaning when something personal happens. We bond instantly over a shared experience that conveys respect between two people. Here are some easy ways to enhance the quality of your connections:  

1. Opportunity

You increase opportunity by allowing yourself to be available to interactions initiated by others. Start your day with the intention to improve your meaningful connections.  Develop the broad intention to enhance relationships throughout your day or define specific groups of people with whom you desire to strengthen your bonds.  When and where do you feel least connected with others? When you identify the when and the where then you can develop ways to make meaningful connections with those people.  

2. Open-Ended Questions

When interacting with others, asking more open-ended questions creates an opportunity to discover common ground, learn about someone, and begin to establish a bond.  Open-ended questions invite information to be shared. It is a way to demonstrate your interest in listening to what they have to say.  "What is important for you to accomplish in this?"  "What is your ideal vacation?"  "What's the craziest thing you have seen in your job?"  These are examples of conversation starters.

3. Listen 

Listen intently to what the other person has to say and respond with interest, banter, or empathy. Preoccupation with your own day can preempt your ability to stop and listen.  Demonstrating that you care builds respect and invites reciprocity. When someone feels heard, it creates a sense of value and meaning.  

4. Greeting  

When you give a warm greeting establishes an instant connection and acknowledges another person's existence.  It signals to another person that you are approachable, which may lead to continued communication or sharing.  

5. Variety

Connecting with a variety of people throughout the day and throughout a lifetime helps expose us to new ideas and new activities.  With each person, we experience something different such as a new inspiration, new information, or a unique bond that helps bring out different parts of our whole being.  

6. Your Inner Voice

A massive thing that keeps us from connecting with other people is we're thinking too much while the other person is talking. Instead of really listening.  We become so focused on how what the other person is saying is going to affect us or on what we're going to say next that we fail to hear what's being said. While we hear the words loud and clear, the meaning is lost. You must quiet this inner voice if you want to connect deeply with people. It is not a big deal if you forget what you were going to say or if the conversation changes direction before you have a chance to make your point.   

Internal Soundtrack

If your goal is to connect with another person, you have to shut off your own internal soundtrack long enough to focus on what they're telling you. The good news is that we are hard-wired to connect with each other; we just get in our own way.  Every time you meet someone new try these strategies.   They are simple. They will enhance connections at all levels, including those with our children, our spouses, our coworkers, even the barista who makes our latte.  These enriched interactions with others not only increase your health and happiness but provide a deeper meaning to our lives.  

2019-11-04 10:47:18

The Cost of Perfectionism

It might come as a surprise to you to hear that perfectionism is not a virtue. It might just be the thing that's holding you back. Wait? What? But isn't perfectionism seen as a good thing? Don't perfectionists do a fantastic job? And what about that interview advice? You know the one that suggests you say your weakness is perfectionism? According to the latest research, perfectionism is not such a good thing. Here are some of the proven costs of it.  

Perfectionism is bad for your physical health

There is evidence that perfectionists are at a higher risk of several chronic diseases. Diseases like diabetes, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and high blood pressure. In part, this is due to their high levels of chronic stress. Perfectionists have greater difficulty coping with chronic illness and as a result, are pessimistic about their chances of recovery.  

Perfectionism is bad for your mental health

Your average perfectionist is likely to be suffering from low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. If you're a hard-core perfectionist, a lot of your time is spent judging yourself and finding yourself wanting, no matter how hard you try. Perfectionists tend to see the glass half empty. If they score 95 on a test, they beat themselves up for the 5% they got wrong. And chances are they only got a few answers wrong. Because perfectionists can never be good enough, they fret and worry and blame themselves into a state of constant stress. And continuous pressure harms us physically and mentally. perfectionism

Perfectionism harms relationships

Perfectionism is not something you want to look out for or find in a life partner, friend or colleague. They can be nitpickers, nags, and bullies. Nothing is ever good enough, and mistakes are seen as massive failures. Perfectionism makes you less compassionate and patient, more critical and judgmental.  

Perfectionism lowers creativity

If you're a perfectionist, you are more likely to stick rigidly to the rules and have to do everything "the right way". That's not a recipe for creative flow or finding innovative solutions to problems. The perfectionist mind tends to be closed to possibilities and risk-avoidant. As a result, innovation suffers.  

Perfectionism lowers productivity

The perfectionist is committed to everything working out correctly, with no errors and zero deviation. That might sound great for being goal-oriented but makes you less likely to take action, especially the bold steps that are sometimes required to breakthrough. Being a perfectionist often goes hand in hand with procrastinating. This often leads to "writer's block", crippling stage fright, and other forms of performance anxiety. Unless a perfectionist can guarantee to do something one hundred per cent right, they'll find it challenging to do it at all. Convinced that perfectionism is a hollow and costly pursuit? Let me add this thought; life presents enough challenges without us fabricating our own. As an alternative, I suggest that it is time that you embrace your imperfections. perfectionism

Embrace your beautiful imperfections

Everyone seems intent on ironing out imperfections, from using social media filters on selfies to consciously curating their lives. It appears that any level of fault is intolerable, and failure is a catastrophe. And for most people that is just setting yourself up for an unhappy, unfulfilled life as the mirage of perfection moves further and further away. Here are six good reasons to stop chasing that mirage and learn to embrace yourself as you are, imperfections and all.  

You stay focused on what's important

Perfectionists tend to get derailed by the slightest mistake or little thing that doesn't go right. They agonise over details; they get in their own way. If you keep your eye on what you want to achieve, not some unattainable ideal, you'll be much more likely to reach your goals.  

You'll be more compassionate

Once you've stopped judging yourself for every little thing, you'll find it easier to be kinder and more compassionate towards other people. You'll be more patient and not get irritated by quirks or habits where previously you might have reacted. Embracing perfection makes you a lot less reactive all round.  

You'll feel lighter and happier

Making peace with your imperfections relieves you instantly of a whole bunch of stress. Your Inner Critic can stand down and put its feet up, allowing you to relax and get on with your life, unburdened by not feeling good enough. Liberated from the need to be seen to be perfect, you'll feel a lot happier and more content with who you are and what you've got.  

It's easier to stay in the present

If you accept yourself for who you are, it becomes much easier to stay in the present and feel grateful for your life. Instead of anxiously chasing future goals or beating yourself up for past mistakes, you can be comfortable with the here and now, knowing you're doing your best.  

Your relationships will improve

Being a more accepting person will strengthen your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Accepting that imperfection and mistakes are a normal part of life means that you become a lot less ego-driven, and judgmental. You might even become a role model for others!  

You get a different perspective on life

Once you accept that flaws and mistakes are a normal part of the human experience, you will be more resilient and grounded. You become more aware of the bigger picture, and that life's not all about you. Perfectionism is not the virtue we are led to believe it is and to pursue it extracts a high cost on us. But we can change, we are more than the habits we do. We can embrace our imperfections and live an outstanding life.

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How To Build Resilience, Your Competitive Advantage

Make Creativity Your Superpower

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2019-11-04 10:15:17

Know Your Sentence

I stumbled upon a wonderful post called: What Is Your Sentence? in Daniel Pinks blog. This is how people would talk about you. Or more precisely, how YOU want people to remember you or describe you when you are no more.  Know your sentence is a simple way to identify what your purpose is.  While it is a favourite theme of Daniel Pink, he acknowledges in his book Drive the idea originated with Clare Boothe Luce who was a businesswoman and one of the first women to serve in the US Congress.   Luce expressed her concern to President John F. Kennedy that he might be in danger of trying to do too much. And as a result, would lose focus.  [caption id="attachment_14029" align="aligncenter" width="400"]your sentence Click the image to download the full infographic[/caption]

One sentence.

She told him early in his presidency that "a great man is one sentence."  What she meant is that a leader with a clear and strong purpose could be summed up in a single line.  This concept is useful to everyone, not just presidents. Your sentence might be, "He helped raise three children who became healthy, happy, adults." Or, "She invented an app that made people's lives much easier."  For example, Prime Minister Winston Churchill's life could be summed up as, "He saved Britain in it's darkest hour."   

So what is your sentence?

Have you thought about your sentence? If you have, that is amazing! If you already have a sentence, please share it with us in the comments section. And if you don't, then it is time to do that.  One time, Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a story using only six words. Many thought this impossible, even for the great author.  But not for Hemingway, the next day Hemingway produced this, "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn."  

A mighty challenge.

It takes time and effort to distil down the essence of what you're trying to achieve in a short and memorable sentence. Reducing life to a handful of words is a mighty challenge.  Why is it so bloody difficult to sum up your life in one sentence? After all, articles have headlines, brands have tag lines, and even Twitter limits you to a few characters. Does it feel too cheesy, morbid, or limiting? Is it reminiscent of a dating profile or a tombstone?  It might be a little bit of all of them. We consider ourselves multi-dimensional beings with professional and personal lives, not to mention family, friends, hobbies, and interests. How is it possible to capture all that in just one sentence? your sentence

So what is your sentence?

Begin by focusing on what is most important. There is no right and wrong or good and bad. But there is ONE thing that probably defines you more than anything else.  One Sentence for one defining moment. Creating a six-word memoir is a useful exercise in self-analysis. More so if you apply the process to reflect upon your results and your goals.  Did I achieve what I set out to achieve?  Did my results stand the test of time? Did I help others to succeed?  This simple yet complex exercise works well as a form of aspiration, that is, how do you want to be remembered? This is powerful at any point in your career, but the sooner you do this, the more time you have to make changes so that you can become the person you are capable of becoming.  If your sentence is aspirational or a goal not yet achieved, then ask yourself, "How might I live up to my own sentence?" You may be familiar with the story of Alfred Nobel. A wealthy and successful man who was recognised for manufacturing explosives that killed people more effectively than anything previously.   

An accident.

One day, there was an accident that blew his plant up. Everyone, including the press, thought he had been killed. The next day, the newspaper headlines told of the dead man who made dynamite that had killed so many people. Nobel was not at the plant that day, and he was shocked to see how he was remembered by the press.   He made an immediate decision to change his life. Thus, the Nobel Prize that we all know today was created. The one sentence of his life changed just like that. Consider these fundamental questions to help you consider how you would sum up your life in six words or less.
How can I help?  What is my influence? 
As humans, we are motivated to work for goals greater than ourselves. We achieve great things through the efforts of others. They must create conditions for others to succeed.  Summing up your purpose in a few words challenges you to think about what work and life mean to you and how you influence the people around you.  

So what is your sentence?

The reason for doing this now and delaying is that once you decide how you want to be remembered, the entire focus of your life changes You then concentrate on the essential things that will help you achieve what you have always dreamt of. I know, this will put some people off, but believe me the sooner you do this, the better your life will be. I promise. If you are struggling to come up with your sentence, don't despair, enrol in the free webinar, 5 Ways To Perform At Your Best. Dare to dream. Follow your passion. Be outstanding each and every day.

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