perfectionism

I used to be a wallflower .... what about you?

Stand Out Self Promotion Don't Blend Into the Background - updated.jpg

I used to be a wallflower.

Always shy and retiring, never saying boo to a goose or putting a foot out of place.

I was worried I’d be wrong, that people wouldn’t like me and that I’d get found out.

This left me constantly waiting - watching from the sidelines while other people’s careers overtook mine at what appeared to be warp speed! 

Then something happened. I worked with a coach and worked out I needed to eliminate the following:

  • the need to do everything

  • the need to be liked

  • the need to be perfect

  • the need to know everything

  • the need be right, and

  • the need be in control

When I let go of neediness, articulating my perspective, sharing my ideas or self-promoting became far easier.

I know I’m not alone. 
Every day I speak with busy executives who share a similar story and are nervous of standing out.

"What if deep down I'm actually not good enough?"
"What of someone calls me out?"

But when you are blending into the background, your pathway to leadership is always going to be a tough gig. A the longer you play second fiddle,  the bigger your fears will become.

Remember - you cannot sell a secret.  And it's important you are seen, heard and valued.

So let go of the above needs, then spend time to work out

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
— Dr Seuss
  1. What are you interested in? Find your passion

  2. Why are you doing this? Find your purpose

  3. Where will you get best ROI? Find a platform or medium that works for you

Then self promotion becomes a doddle.

And you'll be replacing wallflower with world class in a jiffy!


Your thoughts? What stops you self promoting?  Drop me a note. I'm always keen to hear your perspective. 

PS you might have noticed I've had a photoshoot done. This one features "the bees knees" and other fun ways of reminding yourself that you're actually doing okay. Looking forward to sharing more with you in coming months.

#selfpromotionmatters #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #womenofimpact


Share if you dare, to inspire another woman somewhere!

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Confessions of a recovering #perfectionist

Balance is something I’ve had to fight for all my life.

And I use the term “fight for” deliberately, because I haven’t found it easy.

As a recovering perfectionist, I frequently feel that if I can’t do something properly, I shouldn’t bother at all.

Yet this is a furphy. After all, 3 x 10 min walks around the block is better than nothing, and recent research tells us that it’s even better than 1 x 30 min walk around the block on some markers!

However back to choosing ….. throughout my career I’ve felt I’ve needed to choose between

  • Doing everything or doing nothing

  • Going at it like a bull at a gate or not even bothering

  • Strength or softness

  • The Masculine or The Feminine

  • Feast or famine

  • Flat out like a lizard drinking or lazing around on the couch .. well drinking! 🤣

  • Always on or always off or

  • Never giving up and always letting go.

My perfectionist tendencies have kept me constantly choosing between a rock and a hard place yet feeling guilty when it didn’t work out.

Balance only comes when I make peace with this part of myself and with that comes real impact.

HOW ABOUT YOU? - How do you find the balance between on and off? Any advice for others?

#womenofimpact‬ #perfectionismsucks #balanceiskey

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Are your perfectionist tendencies keeping you stuck between a rock and a hard place?

Confessions_of-a_recovering_perfectionist .jpg

Confessions of a recovering perfectionist

Balance is something I’ve fought for all my life.

I use the term “fight for” deliberately, because I haven’t found it easy and my other extreme is putting my head in the sand.

As a recovering perfectionist, sometimes I feel that if I can’t do something properly, I shouldn’t bother at all.

It’s either perfect, or it’s the worst thing ever made and everyone is an artistic failure, including myself. (Yay, emotional extremes!)
— Felicia Day

Yet this is a furphy. After all, 3 x 10 min walks around the block is better than nothing, and recent research tells us that it’s even better than 1 x 30 min walk around the block on some markers!

Throughout my career I’ve felt I’ve needed to choose between

  • Doing everything or doing nothing

  • Going at it like a bull at a gate or not even trying

  • Effort or ease

  • The Masculine or The Feminine

  • Feast or famine

  • Flat out like a lizard drinking or lazing around on the couch ... drinking! 🤣

  • Always on or always off and

  • Never giving up and always letting go.

My perfectionist tendencies have kept me constantly choosing between a rock and a hard place, and feeling guilty when things didn’t work out.

Balance will only come when I make peace with this part of myself and with that comes real impact.

CONFESSION TIME - Does this sound like you? How do you find the balance between on and off? Do you have any advice for others? Or do you need help with this?  Drop me a note and let me know - ablesing@amandablesing.com - or share to inspire another woman somewhere.

#executivewomen #womenofimpact #lookoutCsuitehereshecomes 

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Perfectionism - is it the main cause of Imposter Syndrome?

Perfectionism is a curse isn’t it? A raison d'être for some, or creeping up on others when they least expect it!

I believe we women create a rod of perfectionism for our own back, holding ourselves to exacting, unforgiving and unrealistic standards.

We want to -

  • cook like Masterchef,
  • have a house that looks like Vogue Living
  • create a career that REALLY counts
  • and then, we wear ourselves out at the gym trying to “look good nekid”

I’m exhausting just thinking about it!!

In some of the wisdom traditions perfectionism is seen as a form of self harm or violence - not only against yourself, but against others as well.

I know it leaves me depleted, with a severe case of imposter syndrome and then leaning out and not trying any more because I’ll “never be good enough”.

What about you?

And - is there another way?

>> YOUR THOUGHTS -  Are you a recovering perfectionist? ? How do you deal with your perfectionist tendencies? Or are you one of the lucky few who missed out on that permutation?

COMMENTS WELCOME VIA LINKEDIN

#leadingwomen #womenofimpact #career #personalbranding

 

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

The #1 Secret for Women Wanting to Create a Career that Counts

By now you’ve probably gathered that I’m not a big fan of The Myth of Hard Work or the Cost of Perfectionism. In fact I suggest that if you are reliant on one or both of these strategies as your fallback tactics for career success then you’ll probably find you are well behind the eight ball compared to others just like you. 

In a nutshell, hard work keeps you focused on buckling down and pushing through mountains of work, possibly wearing yourself out in the process, but also undermining your own ability to create innovative new solutions, find shortcuts, or maybe even question if the work has to be done in the first place.

And perfectionism as a strategy also wears you out and keeps you focused on the detail, not the big picture. It keeps you over delivering and playing small rather than “having a crack at it” and finding quick wins, feeling the exhilaration of “flying by the seat of your pants” and learning new things fast, or embracing failure and mistakes as an incredible learning tool. 

Being bold is not about being right, being perfect, or knowing it all. Rather it is about marshaling resources, information and people. It involves seeing problems as opportunities, occasionally flying by the seat of your pants, and ultimately being willing to fall flat on your face and know you will survive.
— Dr. Valerie Young

So what else could you put in place that might replace (or compliment) working hard and perfectionism?  What’s the #1 strategy you can put in place that will keep you stretching, aiming high and feeling supported all at once?  Easy - its strategic networking and in this instance I call it an Ambition Network.

Networking is not a new thing but men and women do tend to network differently. Hazel Walker is a speaker and author on the topic of networking, Business Networking and Sex, not what you think.   The book is humorous but it does help you understand that there are some very real gender difference. There is real impact of having conversations with friends, peers and those more senior about career, opportunity, strategy and ambition.

I conduct many of my mentoring sessions in foyers of big hotels. My observations of the different conversations that men and women have are pretty eye opening and I wonder if the different ways we network is one of those critical issues. Maybe instead of paying lip service to that saying "ambition is not a dirty word", maybe we should actually start believing it and having open and strategic conversations about our BHAGs and more importantly how we might get there.


My recommendation is an Ambition Network to the Power of Three - three friends, three colleagues, three industry movers and shakers. This is not scientific, but a rule of thumb. And if a rule of thumb makes you more likely to do something about it then - it's effective.

Three ambitious friends

·      These friends are as supportive of each other as you want your friendship circle to be, but also happy to give you honest feedback, call you on your sh*t and tell you that you’ve whined about “that bad boss” long enough and that it’s time to move out, or move up.

·      Remember, ambition is not a dirty word. These friends (male or female) are ambitious and talk about their ambitions with you without fear of being judged “greedy”, “bossy” or “getting too big for their boots” and vice versa.  If you want to create an app one day - talk about it. If you want to become the CEO of a mining company, lets talk about it and what steps you might need to take. Make sure these friends are positive people rather than "negative Nellies". Glass half full is a far better perspective when encouraging each other to aim high.

·      When was the last time you sat down with a bunch of girlfriends and talked about how you would make our first million?   Maybe it’s time. With ANZ telling us that women earn approx. $700K less than men over the course of a career, maybe we should talk about money, negotiation tactics and strategies that work. 

Three peers, colleagues or managers – possibly in your own organisation although not necessarily, and either male or female. 

  • Once again the informal arrangement you might have with these peers and colleagues is that BHAGs are definitely encouraged.
  • Tips on how to navigate uncharted waters, introductions to movers or shakers in extended networks, even supporting each other to go for the same promotion – because it’s not a competition, but an opportunity to step up and work on your technique for landing a promotion in a safe environment, and may the best woman win.  After all, the more “no’s” you get the closer you are to getting the “yes” so get cracking on a bunch of stretch opportunities with the challenge and support of your peer network.  
  • These people will keep their ear to the ground for opportunities for each other, champion each other in meetings, put each other forward should the opportunity arise and to help mitigate the negative judgements about women singing their own praises, will sing your praises (and you theirs) should the situation warrant.   Trust is key so choose well.  

Three senior industry people – possibly outside of your current company, male or female. 

  • Yes it’s wise to be connected outside of your immediate organisation to the movers, shakers and thinkers of industry.
  • People who you admire, mentors in other organisations who you might meet at your association conference or industry networking events.  
  • People who have been there, done that, and are looking for opportunities to give back to younger generations or those who have yet to get those serious career achievements under their belt. 
  • You might call this group your coaches, mentors or sponsors or you might not. The terminology doesn’t really matter.
  • What does matter is that you don’t cut yourself off from the outside world in your attempts to do good work within your own organisation. Stay connected, reach out and reach up. Make sure that others outside of the organisation also know about the good work you do. This will be cash in your credibility bank gaining interest at some stage. 

So do you need to formalise these arrangements?

If you mean business, then yes. That will keep you accountable. But you don’t have to. What about:

  • Monthly catch ups for your immediate group of friends.
  • Monthly to quarterly catch ups with peers and colleagues.
  • And quarterly to six monthly catch ups with more senior industry figures.

The approach

  • I suggest a “can I buy you a cup of coffee?” approach. A coffee takes just 30 mins, so no-one feels pressure and it doesn’t feel like hard work. Imagine being stuck at lunch for someone with an hour when you have nothing in common and they aren’t really being helpful?  
  • Dorie Clark is a consultant, former US presidential campaign spokesperson, and the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. She offers a range of advice on how to get in touch with movers and shakers in industry.  Well worth the read.  And persistence is key.

Thank you

  • Be grateful. As you know, we’re all busy. Time out of someone’s day to give you career advice with no obvious reward is pretty generous.
  • Send thank you notes to acknowledge time spent and advice given.  Also, let people know as to your progress and where or how their assistance has helped.

Reciprocity

  • Always offer to be of assistance in some way. Adam Grant of Give and Take fame educates us that giving contributes to your success pathway anyway.
  • If you’ve got extended networks on LinkedIn, be sure to ask if you can offer to introduce them to someone in your networks.  
  • If your more senior industry person doesn’t really have a great LinkedIn profile, why not offer an exchange? You help them get setup and show them how to get their first 500 connections easily and they give you career advice every few months. Don't limit yourself to LinkedIn. I know quite a few people who would like to dabble in Twitter given the confidence. Go wild.
  • And why not write them a testimonial or recommendation on LinkedIn. It’s totally up to them to decide whether or not to display it anyway, so its’ the thought that counts. 

In summary

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The key is to start unpacking your goals, dreams and possibilities and talk about these things openly. Acknowledge that guidance and wisdom are key as are the people you hang out with. 

I recently read “Good Enough for the Bastards: Courage, vulnerability and credibility” by Anita Krohn Traaseth. Anita is a highly successful business leader in Norway, the former Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Norway and the current CEO of Innovation Norway. Her story is about "the girl next door" and her journey and exploration of career, business, ambition, leadership, life, balance and ….. sleep.  More importantly she acknowledges the critical importance of networks, input from mentors and sponsors and championing by those already on the journey.  But if you don't tell people that's what you want, how will they know?

And my advice? Help others to help you. Don't make it hard for people to help you by not following up, delaying on things you were going to send or do, or playing small. Instead make it easy for people to help you, by being brave, being clear about your goals to make a difference, and not selling yourself short.

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCsuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition

AmandaBlesing
  •  I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and art of amping smart and savvy.
  • I mentor busy professionals to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game.
  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so

 

 

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Change your mindset or change your role

Last month I wrote an article on the cost of perfectionism that must have hit home as it generated quite a bit of response from my readers. If that was you, thanks!  Letting go of my need to be right, is part and parcel of my thought leadership around embracing your inner expert.  If you've seen me speak or are part of my mentoring programs then you know all about that.

One of my favourite pieces of positive feedback thanked me for my regularly delivered “truth bombs”.  I loved the term so much I’m now motivated to deliver even pithier ones!  So here goes.

But I was disappointed as that particular article also received the highest number of unsubscribes I’ve had since I started – and I had to deal with my hurt ego.  

LetGoOfPerfect

One of the things when going out in business on your own (and some of my clients are) is identifying who is your ideal target market. Perhaps in the first few years it’s tempting to try and be all things to all people, however there is a down side to this approach. When someone who is in fact not your ideal client rejects you, it seems to hurt even more, because you’ve already jumped through all sorts of hoops and turned yourself inside out trying to win the business.   Whereas the clients who are your ideal fit are attracted to your authentic voice; there is a mutual attraction, they are open to the ideas and solutions you propose and it’s easy. A win win for both. 

It's just like dating

In fact, it’s a lot like dating.   I remember years ago my younger sister who was/is far wiser than me in many things, gave me some tough but valid advice.

“Never date someone who’s not your ideal, because when they drop you, it hurts so much more!” 

Thanks sis! 

And yet when you finally find your ideal partner - it's oh so easy and you wonder why you bothered with all those Mr/Ms Not So Rights.

And enough about me, let's get back to you.

The perfect role?

So sometimes we take on roles that are not perfect or ideal to start with - then massage them, work hard in them and try and polish the role into shape.  Then when the going gets tough with possible negative workplace culture issues, redundancies or even a personality clash with a boss or peer, we feel incredibly hurt yet (wait for it) .......... hang around even longer and try and make it work.

My take? When the role is right, it doesn't really feel like work. You are focused, you deliver results, you are happy and you enjoy it so much that you can't wait to get back in there on Monday morning.  Life's too short to be trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and quite possibly the feeling is mutual.

Stuck in a rut?

So if you’re stuck in a rut, or you find yourself in a role that’s not your “perfect fit” -  instead of being passive and waiting for something else to come along, or perhaps working even harder because you “should be able to make this work", perhaps it’s time to take a different approach.

  1. Carve out some quiet reflective time,
  2. Work out what’s important to you about work,
  3. Identify the drivers that keep you stuck in a role that isn’t ideal,
  4. Ask yourself - "how much is enough?"
  5. Then do something about it - change your mindset, or change your role - the choice is yours.
“I wished I stayed in that mediocre role for longer” - said no-one ever!

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #lookoutCsuitehereshecomes #feminineambition

AmandaBlesing
  •  I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and art of amping smart and savvy.
  • I mentor busy professionals to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game.
  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so

 

 

If you like this article, please pay it forward by sharing it with your network by clicking the little sharing icon below.

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Get Noticed for the Right Reasons

I read an article recently by the Naked CEO on how to get head hunted, with being head hunted positioned as the holy grail of recruitment processes.  Sure, to be head hunted is a pretty exciting and lucky thing to happen, however it's not the only way to get ahead or create a career that counts. Plus, if we all wait around to be lucky, very few people would be going anywhere any time fast.  

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity
— Roman philosopher Seneca

There are quite a few other things that need to happen in the background in order to attract attention from future employers and recruiters alike. Things like getting past the gate keepers so that you are even in the running for an opportunity to WOW everyone with your stunning interview skills.

DropPerfect

For women however, sometimes our socialisation gets in the way of us talking up the great work we've done and the results we've achieved. Maybe we assume this is simply "part of the job" and nothing unusual. Or somehow we've intuited that if and when we get this self promotion piece wrong, we lose in the likability stakes - and yes, it's a delicate balance. So let's learn from a bunch of experts about their top tips for getting noticed - for the right reasons.

Dorie Clark is a consultant, former US presidential campaign spokesperson, and the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. I was privileged to meet Dorie at Michael Port's Heroic Public Speaking course (HPS) in Fort Lauderdale, USA, February 2015.  I've kept in contact with her ever since and she inspires me immensely. If anyone knows how to stand out - it's Dorie! 

Dorie's #1 tip for standing out?  I'd suggest the importance of content creation. If you write frequently and authoritatively on your subject of choice, people will start coming to you as an expert, because every Google search will lead back to material you created. That shifts the power balance; when you're a recognized expert, people come to you and you can name your price.

Emma Graham is the Practice Leader - Digital Marketing & Creative (Recruiter) at Morgan Consulting - in Melbourne Australia.  In fact, Emma's advice backs up Dorie's advice really well.

Emma's #1 tip for standing out from the crowd? Have an opinion, express that opinion and in turn to be seen as a thought leader. Whether it's as a subject matter expert in your field, or as an expert on how to use a particular piece of software within your business, or being known for having the best network.

Nikki Beaumont is the CEO and Founder of Beaumont Consulting (Sydney Australia) which she established in 2001. I met Nikki earlier this month when I spoke to some of her clients in the association sector. 

Nikki says: To stand out you have to get yourself in front of the interviewer in the first place!

  • Write a really well written cover letter, that's personalised and relates directly to the role advertised. Make direct links back to the business and other elements that may not have been touched on in the advert but can be found by doing a little bit of research.
  • A bit of flattery also goes down well too, it's true. For example one candidate recently wrote in an email cover letter to me "Having read through your website and some of the amazing testimonials in there from clients and candidates, I am now even more impressed with your business and would love the opportunity to meet you in person". How can you resist that? Of course it all has to be backed up with the relevant skills and attributes for the role, but it certainly shows that the candidate really is keen, and has done some research.
  • I would then expect some follow up within 2 to 3 days if we hadn't contacted her first. The candidate then has the chance to convince me over the phone as to why they should get an interview with me. There have been a few instances where I have discounted a candidate based on their resume alone, but then after a conversation with them I have brought them in for interview and indeed hired them!

Petra Zink is a recruiter with Hudson Recruitment in Brisbane Australia, and also the International Director of Women in Digital – an international NFP network, aiming to connect women in industry, empower them and upskill them and also provide mentoring.  

Petra says: Women don’t put themselves forward enough. Learn to be more assertive, confident and trust your skills and ability to learn on the job.  You need to get used to promoting yourself. Also learn to value the work that you do and the results you deliver. In my experience when it comes to recruitment, men frequently ask for $20k more at negotiation time! You can do this too. Also, be sure to keep networking and staying in touch with things outside of your industry. 

Vivian Simonelli has worked in recruitment for many years. She is the Managing Partner/Principal Consultant at Ellis King in Melbourne Australia, and also a committee member at Women in Mining and Resources Victoria (WIRV).

Vivian's #1 tip to get noticed?  Prepare well. Research the company you are applying to, understand the role and prepare examples of your experience and knowledge against the KPI's outlined in the position description. Know your strengths and speak confidently. Present well and wear business attire to the interview. In short, be professional.

Margie Stewart is a former Management Consultant and Executive Recruiter - also based in Melbourne. 

Margie's #1 top tip? Be supremely confident in your ability and don't under sell yourself. Easier said than done as we are often conditioned to be humble and expect people will know how great we are! 

So there you have it. Waiting around for someone to tap you on the shoulder is in fact a bit of a myth. You need to be doing a whole heap of work in the background in order to make that luck happen. 

I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.
— Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

 So, go on, why not start preparing for your lucky break right now!

Vive la révolution! 

#ambitionrevolution #lookoutCsuitehereshecomes #feminineambition

•  I work one on one with smart 'n savvy women to keep them agile, ambitious and focused on making a difference.

•  I work with organisations who are working on empowering women into leadership roles.

•  My book Step Up, Speak Out & Take Charge is due out mid 2016.

 

Curious about how I can help you in 2016? Pop me an email

ablesing@amandablesing.com.  

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

The Cost of Perfectionism

To be clear, this is not an article about having it all. Instead this is an article about the cost of perfectionism - and having it all and perfectionism are two very different realities - and in fact perfectionism is one of the biggest hurdles in your journey to having it all! Instead, this is an article about how perfectionism can be detrimental to your organisation and your role. But perhaps more relevant to you, perfectionism is damaging your career and your relationships.

The cost of perfectionism is far too great for women - we need to learn another strategy

Some of you know that I also have a passion for yoga and teaching yoga. In yoga philosophy perfectionism is seen as a form of violence (ahimsa) - both towards yourself and others, and we need to work on letting it go and "getting messy on the mat".  But unless you carry that awareness with you off the yoga mat and into your daily life, its very hard to keep a lid on it. 

We're constantly bombarded with messages on striving to be better, look better and have more.  In fact, I've got a line I like to use - you might have heard me say it before:

We strive for a perfect house, perfect kids, perfect career PLUS we wear ourselves out in the gym because we want to look good naked ......... No wonder we’re all exhausted!

So what does the cost of perfectionism mean? Well I tend to lump perfectionism right up there with procrastination and working too hard.  While most people know that procrastination is not a good thing, most of us assume that hard work and perfectionism are great tactics.  I tend to put them in the same bucket especially as they frequently go hand in hand.

A couple of years ago Dr Jason Fox mused hilariously about "procrastifectionism" and oh, how it resonated.  The state of inertia caused by procrastinating AND being a perfectionist can bring you to your knees and is not limited to women.

And if you read my article of two weeks ago you'll see why I don't consider working hard to be something to be admired. In fact, in my opinion hard work is one of the greatest myths perpetuated on women at work. It not only wears us out and keeps us busy playing small, but it's flawed and side tracks us from innovating, tackling BHAGs or taking up opportunities that might be presented to us in addition to our regular schedule - to name just a few.

In fact, I’m tired of being told we need to continue to work hard at gender equity. I say we need to work smarter - because working hard hasn’t got us very far to date!
— Amanda Blesing

Check out the model below to see how these three behaviours of perfectionism, procrastination and hard work intersect and interact .

The downside of relying on perfectionism as a strategy to get ahead

  • Inertia and time wasted are byproducts of perfectionism and procrastination,
  • Resources blowouts of time, money and energy are byproducts of hard work and perfectionism,
  • A sense of deep unworthiness or not feeling good enough (shame, guilt and fear) are the outcomes of working hard and procrastination. 

You can read more about the costs of perfectionism by psychologist and author, Pavel Somov, Ph.D. on Huffington Post.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

So what might it look like? Four examples to name a few

  • When you have a project deadlines that you miss, because you are still polishing up the details,
  • You have a critical deadline that you actually make but it nearly kills you to meet it, because your perfectionist tendencies got in the way of finding a short cut or a more efficient solution,
  • Your first ever published article takes more than one month to refine - thereby delaying the launch of your business (oh right, that was me!), or
  • When you don't apply for a role that looks great because you only meet 3 of the 5 criteria.

The value of delivering average

Years ago I was challenged by a really smart manager to try and "deliver average" every now and then because it was not just better for my own stress levels but also better for the business unit. It was probably the best advice I've ever received.  It was such a release to finally realise that I wasn't being paid to deliver perfect. I was being paid to deliver a result.

Why deliver a Rolls Royce product when the client has only paid for a Toyota?

In fact I remember being fascinated by a team who loved to deliver excellence in educational design - and yet their clients had only paid for a cheaper solution. In this instance:

  • Perfectionism and striving for excellence were getting in the way of profitability,
  • Not only was this drive for "excellence" costing the organisation to service the client, but it meant there was no room to move when and if a higher quality product was required,
  • Additionally, there was an opportunity cost - because everyone was so busy delivering the "excellence" there was no-one out scouting about for new opportunities, or new development techniques, and staff were worn out all the time because they were on this continual never ending roller coaster ride of over delivering.

Rules of thumb

  • Perfectionism and having it all are two different realities,
  • Perfectionism and results oriented aren't the same either,
  • People promote those who deliver results and get things done, not simply for doing things perfectly,
  • Organisations of the future will require agile problem solvers, rather than those who can execute a procedure perfectly,
  • Perfectionism is exhausting, unproductive, expensive, undermining and causes inertia - where effortless ease, confidence and a bias towards forward momentum, might be far more helpful!
  • The perfectionist runs the risk of finding themselves redundant as new innovative software solutions emerge that can deliver perfect with more precision, far faster and with less cost to the business,
  • Delivering "average", failure practice and the rejection game are some of the tactics I use to get over my perfectionist tendencies - along with meditation, journalling and reframing to keep me flourishing.

Your thoughts?

So where do you see perfectionism getting in the way?  And more importantly, what strategies do you deliver to help you let go of perfectionist tendencies? Comments in the box below. Thanks for sharing.

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution

 

  •  I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science andart of amping smart and savvy.
  • I mentor busy professionals to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game.
  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

The Secret Key to Optimising Success for Women

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Late last year my mentor (Christina Guidotti) asked me to reflect on what I would need to be successful. This was at a critical time when I was establishing my thought leadership practice, was seriously short on income, and really long on things like ambiguity, uncertainty and the unknown.  

When I actually wrote down all those factors that I correlate with success,  I found I was already there!   But what brings this into stark perspective, is that I was the person most surprised to find this out.

Image inspired by  Demetri Martin, the  author of a book called This Is A Book .

Image inspired by  Demetri Martin, the author of a book called This Is A Book.

Sometimes as women we get so focused on perfectionism, feelings of inadequacy, the trials and tribulations of the journey, comparisons, expectations and obligations, and we forget to keep sight of the end goal, the big picture, what's important to us about the places we work, the places we live, and to ourselves.

In fact, there is some interesting science around now to back up what until recently has been purely theoretical. 

 Jill M Goldstien, PhD, Harvard Medical School, used MRI scans to compare male and female brains. One of the findings was that compared to men, women have larger volume in the  frontal cortex  which is involved in many of the higher cognitive functions such as language, judgment, planning, impulse control and conscientiousness.

Women also have larger volume in the limbic cortex  which is concerned with emotional responses and the types of behaviour that these areas are involved in are impulse control and emotional intelligence.

On a positive note these areas contribute to a female brain’s key strengths of intuition, collaboration, self-control, empathy and some worry.   On the negative side,  this may explain why women have “busy” brains that won't stop worrying, assessing risk, seeing all the rough patches and comparing.  

When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. Our sense of worthiness—that critically important piece that gives us access to love and belonging—lives inside of our story.
— Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfections

If we can simply let go of performing, perfecting, pleasing and proving, we will ultimately feel far more confident, capable and worthy of the leadership roles and opportunities that come our way.  Neuroscience proves we have the capacity, and that in fact, some of these traits are highly desirable leadership qualities.  So we simply need to head on out and claim what is rightfully ours, lean in, not lean out, and just get on with it.


Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution  #womeninleadership

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months