Get Up And Walk The Walk

Apr22_2013_19400881_BusinessManOnTightRope_ErnstAndYoungReport_II2122481961“When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year old girl. Then I say, ‘Bitch, you’re Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.’” -Lady Gaga

I absolutely adore this quote. It applies across the board–you don’t have to be a Grammy-winning superstar in order to hold yourself accountable to walking your walk.

(While not particularly fond of the word “bitch,” I’m a wordsmith & word-bender, so I think any word has its place at a given time. As in, “Bitch, you’re [insert your name here], you get up and walk the walk today.”)

Just try it–say it to yourself. Personally, I really like the b-word at the beginning, but if that’s not your thing, replace it. (In my opinion, it just doesn’t ring the same when I say “Silly goose, you’re Jess Morrow, you get up and walk the walk today.” But do your own thing.)

Interview

Hope you’re enjoying the warming weather as much as I am …

Today, I’m so pleased to be sharing this space with the wonderfully talented Tamara P.–a talented writer who also coaches other writers. She’s got some real words of wisdom to share here on perfectionism–why we get stuck in it, and how to get out.

Perfectionism. Woo! Scary!

It’s like the collective has decided to name a new bogeyman, and perfectionism is it. The amount of stuff out there about perfectionism and its role in failure or never starting something you want to start is overwhelming!

There are workarounds, workshops, playshops for the workshop-averse, e-books, treading gently around your perfectionism, blasting through it, meditating on it and ignoring it. We accuse others of trying to be perfect, and secretly harbor the desire ourselves…or perhaps that’s just me…

And yes, perfectionism can be a paralyzing force. The more it’s chased, the more energy it takes, the more focus and time. I struggled in service to perfectionism for years – firstly as a classical ballet dancer, always in pursuit of the perfect line, then later, as a mother, gardener, partner, lover.  Pursuing the unattainable. There’s a reason that it’s the pursuit of perfection: it’s because you can never catch it.

But listen to me for a minute. I had a realization the other day, and I want to share it with you. I was meandering in the garden, thinking about words, ideas, and writing, as I do, and suddenly I realized that perfectionism can be your greatest ally.

I think it can be used for good, not evil. If you’re stuck, thinking that nothing you do will ever be the p-word, that you just won’t measure up, perhaps you’re dreaming wrong. Listening to the wrong tune, following the beat that just won’t get you anywhere.

What do I mean? I mean that if you have a vision that you haven’t taken action for, you may just not care enough to get off your chair and do something about it. Perfectionism holds you back until your dreams are so big that they just won’t wait anymore. When your dreams get this big, you won’t let perfectionism get in your way. If you want something so badly that it hurts you not to start it/work on it/do it, THEN you’re past perfectionism and on your way.

So now I look at perfectionism as an ally. It tells me when I’m dreaming small, when I’m capable of so much more than just what I’m looking at in front of my nose. Writing that dreams big, ideas that are so huge it seems your house is too humble to contain them, these are the things that get born from listening to perfectionism. If something is easy to reach, we try to make every step of it perfect.

A big dream, a big goal or idea that we see as ‘harder’ to reach – that somehow doesn’t have to be as perfect when realized. Because it was big! The perfection lies in actually reaching the goal, not the perfection or otherwise of the means by which it was reached.

So my answer to the ‘problem’ of perfectionism?

Dream bigger. Get hold of your biggest dream, and work on that. Step by step, day by day. Keeping your eye on the big dream will hold your perfectionism at bay, precisely because your dream is so big. I can’t wait to see what you’re capable of if you give this a shot!