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Are you Striving for Greatness or Addicted to Perfection?

Pre-Lakers I was an avid LeBron James fan for a myriad of reasons. I was such a fan that my kids and I named our cat LeBron. One of the many reasons I like LeBron James is a mantra he lives by — “Strive for Greatness.”  While it’s a great mantra, how do we differentiate a relentless pursuit of greatness from a raging addiction to perfection?

It may sound crazy to parallel the two, but the similarities are undeniable. Much like an addiction, perfection is fleeting, elusive, driven by fear, and fueled by shame. What many people fail to realize about addiction is that the person/process/substance of choice is never the real problem—it is a symptom of an underlying problem. The addiction becomes a coping strategy that consumes the addict. If you find yourself struggling with an overwhelming need to attain perfection or a crushing call to be bigger, badder, and better, you may want to ask yourself one question.

How is this serving ME

While an all-consuming quest for perfection may be a great benefit to others, more often than not, this quest usually serves us on a more insidious level. Unfortunately, how it serves us may be self-defeating and more mentally, emotionally, and spiritually detrimental than it is positive. The darker side of this quest often serves us by shifting our focus away from some pain of our reality. Reaching for something unattainable is a great distraction from that which we cower from, which is usually emotional pain. 

Emotions are like the boogieman under your bed. They cause you to shudder in terror, but when you shine a light on it and face the fear, it disappears.

A job well done can be very fulfilling. It can feel rewarding to complete a home project, excel at work, or know that we’re a person who is punctual and conscientious. But when does our striving for excellence degenerate into a dysfunctional addiction to perfection? When shame is the driving force.

shame

Shame is the Catalyst of Debilitating Perfectionism

As children, many of us were rewarded at home and at school for achieving “results .”Unfortunately, many also have the experience of being shamed when we don’t meet the expectation of others. Whether we received painful tongue-lashings, the cold shoulder, or an icy stare of disapproval, we may have interpreted that to mean we are only accepted and loved when we’re “successful .”With this comes the belief that we are bad, unloveable, and unworthy of love and accepted when we fall short. This belief results in shame.

We develop a false, protective self through slow and steady toxic messaging that we display to the world to win praise and avoid the pain of disapproval. When our need for love and acceptance is not nurtured, we come to live with the overpowering voice of an inner critic that is so scrutinizing and cruel it produces a level of shame and self-doubt that could bring LeBron James to his knees.

A steady diet of shame for inevitable shortcomings can grow into debilitating perfectionism. If we can achieve perfection in all we do, we become bulletproof to blame and criticize. If we become “perfect” in all our endeavors, we increase our chances of avoiding the painful re-activation of shame.

Perfectionism and hyper-vigilance come at a cost. It isn’t easy to find true joy and fulfillment when we relentlessly pursue perfection. When our self-worth is tied to our actions rather than embracing ourselves as human beings with strengths and weaknesses—we set ourselves up for being anxiously preoccupied or depressed.

The Pathway to Peace

It is liberating to loosen the grip of perfectionism, but first, we need to recognize how shame may be driving you off track. When we begin to identify the shame and become mindful of how it lives in our body, we start to get distance from it rather than being driven by it. 

LeBron James - Strive for Greatness
The Inner Critic Haunts the GOAT

Learn to observe our inner critic objectively. “Ugh, there’s that shame again telling me I that I suck if I don’t do everything perfectly…and insisting that I’m destined to become homeless and die a sad, lonely death if I make one tiny mistake.” Identifying the voice of our inner critic empowers us to silence it and diminish the power it has over us. 

Being human means failing miserably at times. We learn and grow from our mistakes by humbly acknowledging them and being compassionate toward ourselves. We are more likely to succeed when we’re no longer paralyzed by the fear of failure.

When that inner critic chimes in, rewrite the script and channel a LeBron James pep-talk. “Stop caring about what other people think! Do your best, give it all you got. If you fail miserably, it’s an opportunity to turn that into your greatest achievement. Either way, it’s a win!”

The ability to reframe your perspective and rewrite the script is extraordinarily freeing! It gives you the power to find pleasure and meaning in activities regardless of whether you succeed or fail in any initiative. Each person needs to find their own balance and path. The key is to apply ourselves wholeheartedly without getting too attached to results. Strive for greatness while letting go of the burden of being obsessed with perfection or a specific outcome.

As you become mindful of the shame and fear that may be driving the cruel burden of perfectionism, remember that you don’t need to be perfect to be loved and accepted. When you feel compelled to displace the balance of your life and push painfully hard for perfection, make sure the compensation is worth the cost. Your self-worth is priceless, and you are worthy, loveable, and valid just as you are.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that LeBron James is an anomaly. And in my humble opinion, like most grotesquely overpaid professional athletes, he is very much addicted to perfecting his gift. But even he does not promote insist you strive for perfection; his mantra is Stive for Greatness. And even LeBron embraces and reframes his failures along his journey.

One last video… Addicted to Perfect

 

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20 Questions to Welcome 2020

A New Year’s Eve Reflection

  1. What was the most kickass thing that happened to you in 2019?
  2. What was the most kickass thing you achieved in 2019?
  3. What was the most lackluster occurrence in 2019?
  4. What was the biggest obstacle you overcame in 2019?
  5. What are 3 adjectives to describe how 2019 has changed you?
  6. Who has made a positive impact on your life in 2019? (make a list and thank them NOW, before you get “too busy.”)
  7. Who has made a negative impact on your life in 2019? (write those names down, metaphorically vomity your thoughts and feelings onto paper and light that sh!t on fire!)
  8. What was your biggest OMG WTF moment in 2019?
  9. In what way(s) have you grow mentally?
  10. In what way(s) have you grow emotionally?
  11. In what way(s) have you grow spiritually?
  12. In what way(s) have you grow professionally?
  13. In what ways have you developed health and wellness this past year?
  14. In what ways have you degraded your health and wellness this past year?
  15. What have you procrastinated the most with this past year?
  16. What have you squandered the most time on this past year?
  17. How have you grown in your relationships with others?
  18. What was the biggest life lesson in 2019?
  19. What is 1 thing you tolerated in 2019 that you should have eliminated from your life? person/process/emotion/action/thought 
  20. How do you intend to become a better human in 2020?

Happy Reflecting!

Cheers to a Kickass New Year!

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Helping One Person At A Time

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.” ~Mother Teresa

I’m not easily starstruck or impressed by others, but I do have a shortlist of those whom I greatly admire and Mother Teresa is the frontrunner. The above quote is one of my favorites!

Yes, Mother Teresa is my hero!

You have to love a woman who can influence the masses by focusing on one person at a time!

Lizzo is pretty high on my list, too, so it’s a pretty diverse list of rockstar humans. While she comes in behind Brené Brown, Dana Morningstar, and the Dalai Lama—mad props to Lizzo for owning her awesome. 

Feelin’ Good As Hell

I’ll be devastated if Lizzo ever stops playing the flute, goes “keto” or gets a boob job and porcelain veneers.

On those days when I feel a little less-than in my 46-year-old skin, I put on Good As Hell, do a (slightly graying) hair toss, check my nails, and embrace my fine ass self. As I should!! 

Because of Lizzo, I feel no shame when I throw down on copious amounts of sweet potato fries. And I no longer feel compelled to do 5,000 kettlebell swings afterward.

Lizzo has done for the self-esteem of women what Mother Teresa has done for the poor, sick, and hungry. And while Lizzo is also helping the masses, she has managed to do so by focusing on loving one human wholly—herself. We can all afford to cultivate more self-love because you can only love someone else as much as you love yourself.

Back to Mother Teresa…

What I love most about Mother Teresa is the value she placed on helping one soul at a time.

I feel like I am of a dying breed who still sees the value in trying to change the world ONE HUMAN at a time.

A bit odd considering this is coming from a girl who suffers from a severe addiction to “more.” Whether it be kettlebells, sweet potato fries, shoes, or wine—what I suffer from is a disease of “more”! I call it moreitis. (While moreitis is not an official word, I believe it should be a formal diagnosis and warrants being added to the DSM.)

Regardless of my moreitis, I still have the wherewithal to know the gifts I have been blessed with are best shared on a smaller, more humble scale. This is likely the only area in my life where I haven’t felt compelled to push for more, more, more. Perhaps because I strive to be led in this area by something outside of myself. Whatever the case may be, I hope I continue to stand firm in this.

Again, back to Mother Teresa! Here is another one of my favorite quotes from MamaT:

“I never look at the masses as my responsibility; I look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time – just one, one, one. So you begin. I began – I picked up one person. Maybe if I didn’t pick up that one person, I wouldn’t have picked up forty-two thousand…The same thing goes for you, the same thing in your family, the same thing in your church, your community. Just begin – one, one, one.”

Mother Teresa

I just love that! She helped sO many people, but her focus was never on her legacy or achieving international fame. And I am confident she never strategized about how to generate a passive income or run group sessions.

Her purpose was pure, and that gave her the power to help so many. One soul at a time…

I will refrain from details about the ugliness I have seen veiled under the guise of “helping people”. All I will say is that I’m disenchanted by the direction businesses are going with group everything—training/coaching/healing. There seems to be a trend of turning every single helping profession into a McDonald’s.

It seems the masses are capitalizing on where the healthcare industry is failing. People are ready to invest their time, money, and attention to new solutions since the cost of healthcare is so perversely overinflated. It saddens me to see how many hugely talented professionals are selling out for the sake of generating more revenue. 

I understand why, though. For those of us who have big giant hearts on our sleeves, we are walking targets for the opportunist! And no matter how great your intentions, it can be hard to make ends meet when your sole purpose in life is to help people. Our kind rarely set out to “make money.” We offer fee scale discounts and service exchanges. We volunteer our time to those who don’t have the means to pay for our services. We open our businesses and hearts up to those at their rock-bottom—all for the sake of helping them reach higher ground.

I LIVE for the gratitude expressed to me by those whom I have had the honor of helping! One human at a time…

That’s all fine and good, but we still have mortgages to pay and mouths to feed. Unfortunately, AT&T and Capital One do not accept gratitude or good intentions as payment. 

This conundrum has led me down a few rabbit holes myself. When an opportunist dangles a carrot that promises financial security, and a passive income for doing what we love, it’s tempting! Unfortunately, anyone who has taken the bait before knows how sharp that hook is…and how hard it can be to get unstuck!

Getting “unstuck” is something I have so much experience with, I’ve made a career out of it.

Getting unstuck is hard, but possible! A little guidance, support, and accountability are invaluable to this process though. And in such a vulnerable state, having a person’s undivided attention is imperative. That is why I do what I do.

So mad props to my tribe of helping professionals who sometimes find yourself struggling to make ends meet because there is a Reiki franchise opening next door to your the Wellness Center. Please keep at it! Channel your inner Mother Teresa, and cling to the teachings of the Dalai Lama. I’m a believer in Karma! Keep doing good, and the good will come full circle.

The impact you have on the ONE soul in front of you holds so much more value than a diluted and scripted version of you. Remember why you started this journey, believe in the good you do, and hold onto the faith that all things are possible when you align yourself with what your true purpose is. 

And to my people who see the value in my breed of healers and helpers, THANK YOU! 

I too have been seduced by the shiny new pop-up wellness gimmick found on Groupon more times than I care to admit. Who can turn down a good bargain, promising gimmick, or a quick fix? However, I always find my way back to what matters most—the professionals who retain their integrity and continue to place value on helping one human at a time.

Technology enables me to provide one-on-one, personalized coaching that fits into your busy life. The majority of my coaching is done via phone and occasionally via video. This allows us to connect when you need or want to vs. when you can squeeze self-care into your already packed schedule. 

To see if telecoaching is right for you, click here to schedule a 30-minute consultation with me.

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Finding Gratitude In Hard Times

Have you ever struggled to find gratitude because you were in a funk feeling beat down by life?

How do you find gratitude when life is looking dark and gloomy?

There is always something to feel thankful for! 

Sometimes you need to look harder for things to feel thankful for than others.

While the rest of the world is shifting their focus to gratitude and excitement for the holidays, it can feel forced when you are struggling with lackluster circumstances, depression, loss, grief and/or loneliness. 

As a mother, one thing I have come to learn is that for some, gratitude is a natural thing. For others, it is something that needs to be developed, cultivated and honed. In any case, gratitude is very much a practice and well worth the focus.

Here are 6 ways to find gratitude in the hardest of times:

Contribute

Find a way to give back to your community by volunteering. We all have a gift to give and one of the most valuable gifts you can give is your time and attention. You may comfortable cocooning in your snuggie wrap, whilst streaming Netflix and wallowing in self-pity, feel grateful for those comforts as there so many who don’t have heat or roof over their head. Spending a few hours at a shelter or soup kitchen will give you a big dose of gratitude for what you do have. It’s easy to feel thankful for a full belly after spending an afternoon with those who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Journal

Take a few minutes each day to jot down what you are thankful for. One of my favorite tools for doing this is my Panda Planner! It is an amazing planner for those with ADHD too, but what I love most about it is that there is a focus on daily gratitude, weekly gratitude and what you are looking forward to. There is also a place for affirmation and how you plan to improve tomorrow. When you slow down long enough to think about it, you will be amazed at what you come up with!

Mindfulness

Be mindful of the energy you bring into your space and search for the good in every moment. What you look for, you will find more of!  Even on our worst day, there is something to be found if you bring your attention to it. Don’t lose sight of the beauty and wonder of the present moment. Even if there is a tornado ripping through your backyard, observe the power and beauty in it and find gratitude for your homeowner’s insurance! Some days you have to look harder than others, but there is a silver lining in every storm!

Look for the Lessons in Lackluster Experiences

Every dose of adversity eventually brings a blessing! Had someone said this to my 11 years ago, perhaps I would have disagreed. Today, however, that truth is undeniable to me. No one aspires to be a victim of abuse, divorcé, single parent or become alcoholic. If you work hard enough though, all of that adversity can undoubtedly become an asset. By no means do I want to overcome such things again in this lifetime, but I have walked through enough adversity to know firsthand, this is true. Depending on what you take from it, you can choose to be a victim or a victor. I’m an effin’ warrior! You can be the hero of your own story too… It’s a choice.

Disconnect

Try unplugging from social media and all other forms of media that leave you feeling less-than or riddled with fear and anxiety. Scrolling through social media and the news is about as uplifting as observing a massive trainwreck. There is morbid curiosity that pulls us to it but resists the impulse as little good comes of it. If you spend your time comparing your innermost feelings to someone else’s facade, you are destined for a decline in mood and gratitude. Additionally, if you are watching reports on disasters and catastrophes all across the world, it will make it hard to see the beauty right outside your door.

Breathe!

Our emotions alter our breathing patterns. We breathe shallow and quickly when stressed out or anxious. But if you change your breath, you can change your mood! How amazing is that!? Take a few moments to slow your breath and do some diaphragmatic (belly) breathing while focusing on a positive memory, though, mantra or object. You have the power to change your mood and emotions by controlling your breath. It’s a superpower—us it!

To learn more about diaphragmatic breathing, read Breathing and Anxiety to learn more.

Protect Your House

There are some people who have the ability to suck the life out of us. I call them Energy Vampires. Try taking a hiatus from negative people and make a very concerted effort to surround yourself with positive people. If you don’t have any in your life, find some! I personally love elderly people and children. It’s hard to engage with either age group and not get some sort of positivity. All you need to do is make eye-contact, make them feel seen and heard and smile. Amazing experiences usually follow. Some of the most positive and incredible conversations I have had have been with total strangers.