Motivation & Perfectionism
Can I be really honest?
Over the past week, I have REALLY struggled with motivation.
As an entrepreneur, that's really difficult for me to a) recognise in myself and b) admit to myself.
I share loads of content about using initiative, seizing the day and making things happen.
My role as a Life Coach centres around energising other women to go forth and pursue their dreams. To help them look within and find the answers. To help them understand why we do the things we do.
So how can I admit to myself that yesterday I spent 1hr 15 mins lost in the scroll on my phone?!
I just felt lost in the invisible fog in my brain. It's like I was there but totally tuned out. I felt no urgency to do anything, really. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, and every time you pause, they respond with a vague "hmmmmm...." and don't seem to have been listening at all? That was me! But that was me in response to my own attempts at being productive or even planning to be productive!
I was frustrated, but then couldn't be bothered to do anything about it.
Every now and again I'd attempt to half do something, but make excuses for myself in my mind like "Well I haven't got time to finish this once I start, so I will just leave it for now" or "I don't actually need to do that until Thursday so may as well do it then..."
What was happening?
And then I remembered. I'd not been here for a while, but I had certainly been here before. I was procrastinating BIG TIME. You've probably all heard of procrastinating, putting things off until a time in the future. But it was only last year that I was lucky enough to stumble across a podcast that really helped me to understand what I was doing, and why.
The podcast was by Sam Laura Brown, and it is called The Perfectionism Project; I highly recommend it.
Anyway, having listened to this and learnt more, I discovered I was a perfectionist! Now, this was as much a surprise to me as it will be to anybody. In the past, I'd always assumed a perfectionist was someone who took an immense level of pride in their work, was always presented immaculately and had really high standards.
Nope, none of these rung a bell to me.
But actually, perfectionism is different. I've taken this extract from the Human Mind Owners Manual by Joeel & Natalie Rivera as I think it explains it well:
"The perfectionist: It pushes you to do better but even when you do better you still feel like you’re not good enough. There is always more you should be doing. Mistakes and setbacks must be avoided or quickly moved past. It pushes you to seek external validation, achievement, status. Acceptance by others is of the utmost importance. It probably even stops you from taking action because you’re afraid to fail. Tends to say “I need to do better” or “I’m not good enough”. If (your Bob) is a Perfectionist, you can tame it by focusing on activities that will help you judge yourself less, such as growth mindset, over- coming indecision, and overcoming inaction."
In summary, my procrastination occurs as a result of worrying about failure. Perfectionists tend to withhold effort, so that when they don't achieve their goal, they can console themselves by saying "Well I know I didn't go for it 100%, so no wonder it didn't work!"
Imagine pulling out all of the stops, investing time, money, energy etc, to then not reach your goal? That would be totally crushing... Whereas, if you just hold back that tiny bit, you've always got that as an excuse.
Who's listening thinking "Oh my goodness...I totally do this!!" and who's listening thinking "Why on earth would you do that to yourself?!"
We are all different, but being honest about who you are and why you do the things you do is an important part of managing your life and your path to success.
This morning, upon reflecting on this, I made a conscious choice to snap myself out of it. I didn't know how long it would take me to get back into flow, but knew I needed to start somewhere.
Action creates clarity!
I began to journal on how I wanted to feel at the end of the day, and the end of the week. I craved a feeling of accomplishment.
As I wrote I started to feel excited about the prospect of ticking items off my list. I started with making a delicious brunch ( 2 ingredient pancakes - banana & eggs, absolutely delicious if you've not tried them...) and envisioning success.
I felt more encouraged and moved onto the second thing on my list.
Then the third.
Then the fourth.
And honestly, I began to feel more energised the more tasks I completed.
I realised that I just needed to begin to get out of the slump I felt I was in.
So, if you are anything like me, and go through period of immense procrastination, the trick is to just find the motivation to do the first task.
Now, I have previously been an advocate of "Eat that Frog", the concept of making the first task you do the trickiest, biggest, scariest thing on your list to get it done and dusted. And sometimes, this works an absolute treat.
But I also know when you're stuck in the brain fog, imagining eating the frog just frightens me and promotes even MORE procrastination! To break the cycle, it can often be doing the kindest, most enticing thing on your list to get you going. So go and make the pancakes and envision achieving your goals with every bite!
If you continue to feel stuck and are really struggling to make any sense of what you want, this can be a bit more deep rooted. In this case, it might be really helpful for you to talk to a coach to help un-pick the web of confusion.
If anything I've mentioned here resonates with you, and you fancy having a chat with a fellow perfectionist, let's talk! I offer free 30 minute discovery calls to discuss how Life Coaching can help you to identify and achieve your goals. I'd love to hear from you, so don't hesitate to book in with me here.