(And what you can do to overcome them!)
If you have ever tried to achieve something big - actually, if you have tried to achieve ANYTHING that you could call 'an achievement' then you will know what I'm talking about.
Every time you step into the ring you know you're going to take some hits - but if you know what's coming, you can better prepare yourself, to not just endure the onslaught, but counter the attack!
Let's get training!
Negative Force 1:
Wait, what! Perfectionism is my friend! Isn't she?
The go-getter, successful version of yourself that you are trying your hardest to live up to, is a perfectionist - right? Gets everything just right. Never misses a step. Hits his goals - all without breaking a sweat... At least that's what we think...
We think the Perfectionist part of our self is the part that helps us, because it is constantly 'raising the bar' and who knows how we'd end up without it... (are you picturing an unkempt version of yourself that looks more at home on a park bench than the Business and Parents Hall of Fame? :)
If you think that it's the perfect-self, aka - the self-righteous self, that is the key part of you that is keeping you on track and meeting at least SOME of your goals - then you'd be wrong.
The Perfectionist Self actually spends most of its time (in our head) setting impossible standards and the criticising us when we fail to reach them.
If I was to be honest, it's the perfectionist version of myself that has kept ME from publishing this blog and literally hundreds of others like it, because I wasn't 100% happy with the way I read the audio version or the number of examples I included, or the size of my list and "shouldn't I wait until I've got more people on the list to read this stuff?" aaand on and on it goes.
If you're reading this - then you know I did it!
No more excuses - hit publish.
How many New Years Resolutions get tossed in the bin around the end of January? Even if we had got off-track in the last 30 days, a rational approach would say - "I've made some mistakes but I've still got 11 months to go! The year is young!" But not Perfectionism. Perfectionism says - well, you tried, but you failed.
Recent research from the University of Memphis for Jon Acuff's new book: 'Finish' reveals that setting high, lofty goals actually demotivates you in the long term. (1)
Perfectionism is the enemy of achieving your goals.
One of Jon Acuff's solutions for getting rid of Perfectionism is to drastically cut your goal in half.
By reducing the goal, you maximise your chance to hit your goal and (importantly) set a new goal and hit that one too. Success is a by-product of consistency and perseverance NOT a one-time achievement that drains all our energy.
Negative Force 2:
Riding on the back of Perfectionism comes Shame.
Shame researcher Brene Brown defines it as:
"the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection"
Shame is harder to spot than Perfectionism but they often travel together. Perfectionism struts around raising its high and lofty banner well above everybody's head, but Shame sneaks around quietly in the dark and undermines your confidence and momentum from the inside out, like cancer.
Once Perfectionism has got you to set an impossible goal, Shame will arrive with: "Oh boy! Wow! Aren't YOU a high achiever now?! Hmmm, no. You're not are you. Come to think of it, didn't you fail last time you tried to do this? Oh yes, that's right - that was so humiliating wasn't it?"
And we feel that sinking feeling.
Like someone has reached into our heart, felt around, bumping every past wound as they did, then ripping out the plug that holds our confidence... We can almost hear the lurch as the last dregs of self-worth wash away, down the plug-hole - leaving us feeling empty and completely exposed.
"You will NEVER be any good." says Shame.
We need to deal with Shame if we ever hope to meet our potential.
Going back to the definition - Shame tells us that we are unworthy of love and belonging - so the antidote to Shame is going to be any activity that affirms to us that we ARE worthy of love and belonging.
Often a heartfelt conversation with a friend can do the trick.
Working with a coach or counsellor can help too.
Any spiritual practice that awakens our perception to our intrinsic worth as a human being will help.
Shame cannot stand being exposed, so learning to be emotionally vulnerable and share our struggle with others puts us, not only in the place where we are expanding our courage, but also amidst fellow pilgrims all trying their best to live authentic lives and who admire us for being open and honest.
Ironically it is our fear of being unworthy of love and belonging that can give us the most profound sense of being loved and at home with others.
Negative Force 3:
I only came across this concept recently in an interview of Steven Pressfield by Marie Forleo.
Steven describes the force of resistance as a natural force that any creator will experience as they sit down to do their creative work. Any of us who have planned to get started on something like a blog or a book and then found the urge to declutter all the office cupboards instead (because who can work in an untidy office!), you know exactly what I'm talking about!
I think the solution to overcoming Resistance is similar to the solution to overcome Perfectionism because I think that Resistance is proportional to the size of the task that we set ourselves to achieve.
If you can reduce the size of the task, then you will reduce the push-back of resistance as well.
And just being aware - being aware that resistance IS going to push back, will also help you to push through it when you need to.
That is why coaching can be so helpful, because most people have a challenge when transitioning from looking at the bigger vision of what they want to achieve and the small steps to take along the way to getting there. It's like we can only hold one of these perspectives in our mind at once.
The bigger vision gives us motivation, but the detailed, step-by-step perspective gives us the practical guidance we need to actually make it happen - and so coach can help you to transition between these 2 different perspectives, usually helping you with whichever one you struggle with most. Some of us are natural big-picture thinkers - others of us love the detail - but in order to achieve any big goal, you need both.
So, there you have the 3 negative forces that WILL come against you as you try to reach your goals.
The SAME 3 forces that come again me and my clients as we get serious about creating a better life.
What are your goals?
Is Perfectionism? Shame? or Resistance standing in your way?
Now, not only are you aware of them, which gives you an extra edge, but you also have 3 strategies that you can use to fight back!
Reduce your goals in the short term to win in the long term
Connect with others who remind you of your value and expose Shame when it tries to bring you down
Break down your tasks into small chunks. Minimise resistance.
If you are interested in learning more about any of these concepts - you can click on the link to:
Or you can
with me and I'd be more than happy to chat with you about how lifestyle design coaching can help you live you life to the full.
(1) - Finish - Give yourself the gift of done. Jon Acuff Penguin Randomhouse. 2018.