Are you a perfectionist? Do you constantly focus on tweaking your projects, your emails, presentations, your school work, or your life? Does perfectionism get in the way of you making any progress at all in your home or work life? If so, take a listen to today’s show.
In this episode of Positivity on Fire, host Jason Ramsden shares how perfectionism has taken a hold of his life, how the phrase “progress, not perfection” has surfaced in his life over the the last few weeks, and he shares some strategies for moving forward with being more focused in your work and letting perfectionism go.
Why Perfectionism will Crush Your Productivity -- And How to Stop It by Marie Forleo (marieforleo.com)
Focus on Progress, Not Perfection by Amy M. Charland (mayoclinic.org)
My Perfectionism by Connie Yanez Wellness | Holistic Life Coach
EP11: Give and Take by Adam Grant
EP04: The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
EP02: Find Your Why by Simon Sinek (audio version)
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Hi, I'm Jason Ramsden and I believe we can all work on leading a more positive and intentional life. And this show details my journey by sharing my learning stories and conversations with guests. If you want to lead a more intentional life, focus on being the best you possible. Please subscribe today. Now, let's get into today's episode. We're talking progress, not perfection today. And today's topic came about because I'm a big believer, when you hear something multiple times, you probably should listen big believer in that the universe delivers to us what we need to hear when we need to hear it. And we don't always pay attention to that. And I know there's probably some of you out there who may be listening, that aren't big believers in what the universe can and cannot do for us, or how it works in our lives. And that's okay, keep listening. This is a good episode for you to fall into here about progress and not perfection. And I say that because for me, this topic has come up multiple times in the last week alone. One of the coaches on peloton app that I use has mentioned it my own coach that I work with has mentioned it, I heard it on a podcast. I also have shared it with my own clients in my coaching practice recently, because I think it has some merit to it. So what is it? What is progress, not perfection. So first and foremost, you need to know, I'm a recovering perfectionist. And by recovering I mean, I still strive for perfection in the things that I do. And sometimes that holds me back from moving forward. I'm also involved right now in a coaching program, where I'm learning more about coaching, and I have a cohort of people. And I think for the majority of the folks that are going through this cohort with me, we also struggle with perfectionism. A lot of us have tasks that we need to accomplish. And we are struggling with shipping, actually putting it out the door so that it's ready to go. And while I find comfort in that, it's also troubling, because I'm just like everybody else in this regard, and I imagine you are as well. So I want to start today's episode with a quote, it comes from a book called quitter, closing the gap between your day job and your dream job by Jon Acuff. And the quote says 90% perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head, or stuck behind a paywall or stuck in private because you haven't clicked published or stuck because you haven't posted it on Instagram, we're stuck because it's sitting in your drafts, or stuck because it is just stuck. And now when even say 75% perfect and shared with the world could actually change somebody's life. Forget about the 90% the more that we think about something, the more that we keep it to ourselves, the more that we are separate on it, thinking that it has to be perfect before it ships, Jeff Gordon's a big person who talks about shipping your work and getting it out the door. But the more that we hold it back, we're not helping anybody. If your goal is to do that, if your goal is to change some of these life, to offer advice, or even get stuff done around your house or at your work or with projects with your, with your spouse, or your partner, perfectionism inevitably will hold you back, it'll hold you back from accomplishing your goals and your dreams. And there's a couple of things that come to mind here, right. So if you're stuck in this loop of perfectionism, where you can't get stuff shipped and out the door and to whomever it may be in your life, the endless tweaking your your non stop tweaking, tweaking, tweaking whatever it is that you're trying to finish, whatever the task may be. And if you're just tweaking what happens there is that's just, that's just comes part of being a procrastinator and also, probably more importantly, the fear of being judged. And you know what, that's okay. We all have that fear in our life. We all are afraid to put something out there that's not polished that's not complete, that's not finished in our eyes, because we feel like somebody is going to say to us, that wasn't good enough. And the truth is, nobody's paying that close of attention. They're not. And if you're doing work for other people, and you are trying to get things out the door, the most important part is to do the task and get the job done. And I'm not saying that you should do bad work, or crappy work, or less than good work, but don't let perfectionism be the enemy of good enough and I can tell you for myself I'm struggling with this right now. Big time, big time. And the reason I am is, as you know, I am getting ready to launch a coaching practice, I'm starting to work with with clients, I don't have a website put up just yet. And the reason that I don't have it put up is because I'm nonstop tweaking and tweaking the way the navigation works. I'm tweaking the look and feel of the pictures, I'm tweaking the content. And the truth is not having it up, is not helping anybody. It's not helping me gain clients. It's not helping me, let people know that that's what I'm doing now that I'm moving on from my current position, my current work, and it's definitely not giving people the opportunity to reach out and work with me. And I would imagine, the same is true of you may not be a website, it may be something else. It may be you love to paint, and you do it for yourself. But you don't post it, and you don't put it out there online. I think it's important that if you're if you're a creative in a way, and you want to share it with the world, do that find that find a place to be able to do that. It may be that you're working on a project at work, and you're trying to make sure that it the slideshow looks good that the information is there. And you probably if you're working on that right now, or you have been this past week, you're probably tweaking with the colors and the font, rather than the contents of what you need to deliver to the person on the other end. And I get it, I'm in that spot myself. So what I've started to do is take a few more risks be a little bit more open. For instance, you know, I don't have to have a polished script, and polished content. When I post on social media, I'm starting to do that. If you follow me on Instagram over at positively underscore Jay, I do a daily brain dump of my meditation in the morning and my reflection. And I just go with it, I go with it. I don't spend a lot of time tweaking it. And looking at it and perseverating over it. I just publish, I publish I spend maybe 10 minutes getting my thoughts down. Then I go about doing the tags and the in the hashtags and all that and then just let it go. And you know what people aren't hopping on and telling me that it's not good, that it's crap. No, they appreciate that. I'm out there putting myself out there. And I share that with you so that maybe perhaps it'll give you the focus the energy to drive whatever it may be, to actually do the same thing. Don't hold back. If you are trying to get your work out into the world, go ahead and publish hit the publish button, or the send button or whatever it may be. Again, I'm not saying that you should put something out there that's, that's not quality. Okay, that's not quality because quality is important. But there's no such thing as perfect. So how do we go about removing the barriers to perfectionism in our lives? Now before I do that I want to share with you a Instagram post I came across it's by Connie on as wellness. If you don't know Connie go check her out. Again Kati on as wellness posted in the show notes as well so you can check her out. She is a wellness and anxiety coach. But she recently posted on topic about perfectionism. And I want to share it with you to kind of set the stage Kenny says my perfectionism, the tool that brought me so much success and the boulder that held me back for most of my life. This love hate relationship I have with my perfectionism is the reason why it took me so long to admit that I needed addressing how could something that was bad yield such positive results at times? Was it my perfectionism what gave me such attention to detail? Should I thank my perfectionism for the quality of work that I put out isn't my perfectionism what keeps me motivated and focused. And the truth is the perfectionism made Connie, miserable. And what changed is she began to invest in herself, she began to fill her cup up first, she began to do things that brought her joy. And she began to release the grasp on perfectionism in our life has been changed for the better. And I share that with you because I want you to understand that we're not alone. It's not just me talking about perfectionism here and being a recovering perfectionist. It's other people like Connie and others out there that have the same concept. And I think there's some tips and tricks that can help us move forward with trying to be less of a perfectionist and actually ship our work and be better at what we're trying to accomplish in our lives. So we'll get into that in just a second. So hold tight, and we'll be right back. Welcome back, to make any progress in your perfectionism and in your thinking while we were taking that short break, hopefully so hopefully it is put your mind mind to work. Hopefully it has put your mind to spinning about how you might go through having a different mindset around being a perfectionist. So in doing a little bit of research for today's show, I came across a website of Marie Forleo. And I had not heard of Marie before. And it's odd that I haven't she has an amazing site with lots of great content. But one of the things she's put up here is about progress, not perfection, I want to share with you some of the tips that she shared here, because I think they're an amazing way for us to kind of frame the rest of today's show. So here we go. Tip number one is prioritize important work over urgent work. Tip number two, be willing to start small and sucky. Tip number three, train your brain for progress. Tip number four, reset to focus your energy. Tip five, start before you're ready. And finally, just a gentle reminder, if you wait to get it perfect, you'll never get it done. So let's dive into each of those particular tips right now. Alright, so back to number one prioritize important over urgent work. And you're probably saying to yourself, hey, everything is urgent work. There's no such thing as uninjured work, and my job. And I get that you're saying yourself? So much of my work, I'm so busy with things that have to get done. housework, schoolwork, work, work, emails, anybody feel like you can't get out from underneath your emails? But is that work that you have to do? Is that work you need to do? Is it work that you want to do? Is it urgent work. And think as well, you know, sometimes you'll sit down at your job and say, you know, I need to carve out time time to do this time to work on my emails, I need to carve out time to clean the house, I need to carve out time to do whatever tasks that you think are urgent. And the truth is you can fill your entire day with a to do list. And it'll never get done. There's always something else to be done. And the truth is, you'll never find these magical, if you will, pockets of time to get things done. I was I was working with a client the other day. And during the course of our conversation, they said, Well, I just need to find a day, an eight hour day, maybe I'll have to take leave from work to get these things done. And through the course of our conversation, we got to a point where I helped them realize that it's not about eight hours, you have to chunk it, you have to chunk that time down, all the way down to you can you write a simple task down, that you can complete in 15 minutes. And that's all you need to do that day. And make sure it's not an urgent task of someone else, make sure it's an important task to you. I'm going to say that again, make sure it's not an urgent task for someone else. But that it's an important task for you to get done to make progress in your own life in your own work. So how do you recognize the difference between urgent and important work? urgent work usually comes in the form of a notification on your phone, on your desktop or on your laptop? Because you have notifications turned on? You think they're important, but they're not. Is that Facebook message important? Is that tweet important? Is that text message important is that email that has just come in important? Probably not. If you go back and look at them, most of them are not important to what you need to accomplish in your day right then and there. And the more that you hop on the bandwagon, or the more that you are a slave to your notifications as they pop up. The more you respond to people quickly, they'll expect a quick answer from you. So make sure you set some ground rules for yourself. Turn off the notifications, set it in your calendar to check whatever it may be that you have to check your emails, your messages, your texts, your voicemails at certain intervals throughout the day. release yourself from the calling of the notifications on your phone or your desktop. And just remember, urgent work gets done because it's urgent. It just doesn't have to be done right then in there. What happens when you focus on urgent work, important work for you. And the work that you're doing gets put off. Now number two, be willing to start small and sucky. What I interpret that to mean from Marie Forleo is that you're not going to get things right right out the gate. We recently got a peloton bike. I've done two rides so far got here earlier this week. Am I going to be top of the leaderboard? No, a I'm out of shape. I've been working towards that. But I'm not in bike shape, it's gonna take time for my body to acclimate, I need to take it slow, I need to make progress and not have to be perfect or expect that I'll be perfect. And the truth is, I'm 50 Plus, I'm probably never going to be a top of the leaderboard. And that's okay. But if I'm making progress in individual goals, where my output increases, or the number of laps that I do in a 20 minute session, or a 30 minute session is more, I'm making progress. And that's the more important part. And you need to look at that the same way, like whatever you're working on progress, even 15 minute chunks, baby steps, tiny steps moving forward is more important than trying to envision a perfect product at the end of whatever it is that you're working on. Alright, number three was train your brain for progress. And how do you do that? How do you sit down and say, Okay, here, I'm going to train my brain? Well, first of all, think about when you have the most energy when you in your day feel like you can make the most progress at any given time. And typically, that happens in the morning, we our brain is full of capacity. And throughout the day, that capacity dissipates, and probably more. So now that a lot of us spend a lot of time on zoom, we get to the end of the day. And the capacity for our brains to function in in a good way or a creative way is almost gone. So if there's something that you have to work on, project, something creative, something that is going to take your full focus, do it first thing in the morning. And while you're doing that creative work or being that focus work in the morning, turn your phone off, turn the notifications off, shut everything down. So that you can focus and use, the best part of the day when your brain is is at its peak to do your best work, you can save the urgent emails and texts and notifications for after lunch. Trust me, things will still get done, you'll still manage your day, and the urgent task will still get done in the time that they need to get done. But uh, number four was reset, to focus your energy. And I love that Marie actually breaks the reset down into five specific things that you can do to reset your energy. Those are one our review your day. And she says make sure you plan breaks in advance. So get something on your calendar, guess what, if it's on your calendar, it exists. If it's not on your calendar, it doesn't exist. I know this is huge for me. If something doesn't get put on my calendar and meeting, a conversation, a task, something that I need to do somebody I need to touch base with something that my wife asked me to do, or something my boss asked me to do or something somebody asked me to do at work. If it doesn't exist on a calendar in a slot doesn't exist, it's probably not going to get done without a reminder from those people. And the other thing along those lines, Is that why you're setting things on your calendar, make sure you block time for yourself to refocus. Say I'm going to work for 90 minutes on this particular task. First thing in the morning, great block of five to 10 minute break when you're done. So and then block your time out to do the next part of the project. The more you start to chunk your day into manageable minutes, and things that you know you're going to work on. I think the more success you'll have. The Aeon reset is easy to remember, if you put it on your calendar, you set an alarm triggers your mind. Okay, It's break time, I once heard about somebody who was writing chapters for a book. And they said they're going to spend basically 90 minutes doing it, they're going to work for 42 minutes, they would set an alarm, take an eight minute break. They would work for 42 minutes, set another alarm and take a break for eight minutes. And then they would move on to their next task for the day. And if you're writing a book, or managing tasks in that way, I think is brilliant. You folk who you can focus for 42 minutes, even I can focus for 42 minutes, as long as there's a break coming, and then a reset the acid reset step away from your screens. And that goes back to the point about notifications. But definitely no email, no web serving. Close all your tabs only have open what you need to have to work on that particular project. save those other tasks for when you have your five or 10 minute break in between your focus tasks. And why does this help? Well, if you spend all your time on screens and flipping your mind is going to want to say Don't forget you got to check this tab. Oop Don't forget to check that tab. Oh, and as a reminder, you got 10 tabs open over here you need to pay attention to the more you cut those off, the better. You'll be And not being distracted while you're focusing on your main task. The second Ian rest exercise, I love that she uses that phrase exercise. And what it means is exercise and hydrate, drink water, go for a walk, get up and get out, move around, get your body going, whatever it may be a walk a dance, jumping jacks, even to go around the house, across the street, across the campus at school, whatever it is, take the time to do it. And then the tea in reset is to back in, you're done. With all of that you've taken your break, it's time for the next task, shut everything down, except what you need to focus on for this next segment of time. And focus and move forward. And then finally, number five was start before you're ready. And I know that may sound counterintuitive. Start before you're ready. But what it means is, you'll never be ready to start. So start now. Stop listening to this podcast if you have to. If you're listening to this podcast, because you are putting off doing something else stop, go and do it right now. Because the truth is, you'll never be ready. So if you have goals, you have dreams, you have a vision for what it is you want your life to be like or you have a mindset about what a particular project or task is supposed to be like when you're done. You're not going to get there unless you start doing the work. And this is true if you don't think you have time. If you don't have what you believe is the money to do it. You can insert any number of excuses into a blank spot of I can't start now because x y&z but you can, and I'm going to take my own advice, I'm going to start moving forward, I'm going to start letting go of my perfectionism around what something may or may not look like to somebody else, because all that is, is a figment of my imagination. It's something I believe people will see. And the truth is, I've said it before, they're not going to pay that close attention. They are not going to fault you for putting something out the door that you believe is not perfect to you because you're not going to see it the same way. The only people who are going to think it's not perfect, or yourself that in the little voice in your head that keeps telling you, Jay, it's not good enough yet. Don't let it go. Jay, it's not good enough yet. Don't let it go. And the truth is, gotta stop listening to that inner voice. You have to stop listening to that inner voice. You just have to go for it. I believe you can. I have full confidence in you. I'd love to hear about what you're working on. Come connect with me on social media. Go to direct.me slash Jason Ramsden, come find me on Instagram or LinkedIn. Come find me on the show's sites, wherever it is that you prefer to connect. Come on, let's have a conversation. I'd love to be involved in learning more about what you're working on what's keeping you from moving forward, the struggles you've had with perfectionism. Let's have a conversation and get rolling. And I'll close out today's show just like I always do. Thank you for being here today. Again, your time listening to this podcast does mean the world to me. It is so important to me for you to be here. I just appreciate it. And as always, remember, be well be happy, be you and until next time, may your quest for positivity begin today. If you liked today's episode, please go to pod chaser.com search for positivity on fire and leave a five star rating and review. For more on my positivity quest. Follow me at positivity underscore j on Instagram or Tiktok or engage with the show by visiting direct dot mean slash Jason Ramsden. Have an amazing day.