Ditch perfectionism, be clear about what you want and take a bigger risk next year – try these five ways to cultivate success
It’s the end of the year and we start assessing what we have and haven’t achieved in the past 12 months. If you started 2015 filled with big plans that haven’t materialised, now is the time to work out why.
Below I explain the five mindsets and excuses that stop us living our dreams and how to overcome them in 2016. Recognise yourself in any of them?
1. ‘I’m busy and still not getting the results I want’
You may also be saying ‘I work so hard and couldn’t do any more’, or ‘I had every intention of success and I’ve failed’. Sounds like ‘The Workhorse’ mindset – constantly striving for more is celebrated in our society, where being busy is seen as a good thing. The things to watch out here are having your career success define you and the fear that slowing down will put you at the risk of losing your ambition or failing.
When my clients are in their Workhorse mode, I see them being frenetic, saying there is ‘not time’ and a feeling that they are too busy (and important) for family or friends. To combat this you need to understand ‘healthy productivity’. Check your sleep, alcohol, and sugar consumption. Are you overdoing it here? These are common crutches for intense workaholism. Relax and think about what it would mean to thrive in your work rather than just survive. Make next year about managing your energy. Once you’ve worked out where your peaks and slumps are (and what causes them) use this knowledge to achieve your goals.
2. ‘It has to be perfect, otherwise I’m wasting my time’
Meet ‘The Perfectionist’. Over-idealised expectations and having to be the best at whatever you do can kill your dreams. Some of the downfalls of perfectionism: setting your standards so high, you don’t take action, not letting anyone in lest they find out you’re not perfect after all – doing so much by yourself, you appear over-controlling, and mistrusting others to do a good job. Instead learn to say ‘it’s good enough’to yourself in your daily tasks. It’s difficult to give up perfectionist habits, so be patient. Brene Brown’s books on imperfection and vulnerability are a first step to understanding what motivates the need for perfection and how to address it. You can even experiment with being messy: eat with your hands in a restaurant or wear your clothes inside out to work.
3. ‘I don’t know enough yet’
Not being good enough, smart enough, qualified enough are the traits of ‘The Little Girl’. We procrastinate by asking everyone else what they think about our dreams, we make up 101 reasons why we will fail or make the wrong decision, we are fearful of others’ judgements – so we stay in hiding. Come out and claim what you want. Next year for you should be about bold action and turning up that little flame into a raging fire. Know your own beliefs and goals – not what you assume others want for you. Make more of a statement in your appearance and stand tall in your posture, no shrinking down.
4. ‘I want it but I don’t deserve it.’
This comes from a deep belief about your self-worth. If you go through intense periods of losing focus on your dreams and falling into a hole of worthlessness, you’re in “the punisher” mindset. This can feel isolating. Your goal for next year should be to heal. What I say to clients who are in this position is that there is wisdom in the struggle. That deep belief you have about not being good enough is probably the key to finding what really drives you. I struggled for 20 years with an eating disorder, without it I wouldn’t have the passion to help other women improve their relationship to their self. Be kind to yourself. Make a commitment to treating yourself the way you would a loved one. You will start to see your mentality change to ‘I want it and I deserve it’.
5. ‘I will never be as good as someone else, so what’s the point?’
Comparison is the surest way to shut yourself. Women are particularly prone to holding expectations of what a woman should be and comparing to others. In a talk at the iCan Leadership conference, Elizabeth Gilbert said: “I can’t look to my grandmother’s life or even my mother’s life for very many clues on how to live mine, because my life is so radically different from theirs that it’s almost like I came from a different species.”
What I find with clients who compare is a sense of panic that they aren’t doing it ‘right’. So, if you relate to this, a way to free your dreams for 2016 is to ‘come out’ with your gifts and talents. This is about leadership, raising your voice, digging down into the depth of your soul and being clear on what you have to say – and saying it. Connect to others who share your values and beliefs and go to them for advice and support to fuel your flame.
Nikki Armytage is a life coach at The Life Stylist. Find out more about limiting mindsets, ways in which we self-sabotage and take advantage of her New Year 50% off coaching offer.
This article was written by Nikki Armytage, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 16th December 2015 07.17 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010