Writer and founder of my8dayweek
Success is about a higher calling.
She’s calling you out of the mundane, calling you to your better self.
She wants the best for you. She wants you to be proud of your achievements.
She wants you to look back with a sense of satisfaction and take steps forward into better practices, and better habits and for you to walk with confidence, taking ownership of where you find yourself in life, in each and every season…
On the flip side, …is chasing perfection.
We may think that perfection is the aim of the game. But in reality, the fact is, being a perfectionist can hold you back in life, ramp up your anxiety levels, and prevent you from achieving the stamp of success – personally and professionally.
OK – hold that thought.
We have to unpack this word – success.
Success is often defined as the ability to reach your goals in life, whatever those goals may be. And it is definitely different for any B.O.S.S. Taking ownership of where you are in life, calls for slightly differently packaged goals, milestones, mission statements and game plans.
In some ways, a much better word for success might be “attainment”, “accomplishment”, or “progress.” It is not necessarily a destination but a journey that helps develop the skills and resources you need to, thrive.
Your definition of success may vary, but many would define it as being fulfilled, joyful, safe, healthy, and loved.
So, what can you do to boost your chances of achieving these attributes of success? What are some of the habits of successful people?
Well, let’s make things clear: There is no single right way to be successful.
What works for you might not work for someone else. But there are definitely a lot of commonalities and ways to achieve “success.”
In a nutshell, we need to plan our path, and then aim for progress over perfection.
Progress is a healthy word.
It takes us places. It means we are on the way to our end results. One step in front of the other. Getting closer towards our often-elusive goal.
Slowly but surely, slow and steady wins the race. Progress is The Slight Edge (also, an awesome book, I highly recommend by Jeff Olson…)
Jeff Olson teaches that success is built over time by committing to simple, small, daily disciplines.
Olson states that the number one obstacle to achieving our goals is neglecting to take the small actions that support them. Small actions repeated, creating the real edge and the real big wins.
So, let’s talk about what gets in the way of progress and our path to success.
BIG, SMALL and MINOR ROADBLOCKS
When you hit a roadblock and things have not gone well, you need some important life hacks. We will unpack 3 hacks you can apply when things appear to go horribly wrong.
1. Practice the “pause and reflect” method after a setback #PressPause
You know that terrible feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something hasn’t gone the way you expected? It can make you want to stay in bed all day, scream, or cry, disconnect from socials and just try to forget what went so terribly wrong.
And instead of the pity party, (with you, yourself and I), try this:
When something doesn’t pan out how you planned, imagine yourself hitting the “pause” button. Before you make any rash decisions or allow your emotions to overtake you, take a deep breath and find a way to pause the clock for a bit. (For me, this often means window shopping or a cafe catch up with a girlfriend, but you do you. Find out what works for you.)
Use this time to reflect on what has happened. Think about why whatever you were hoping for didn’t work out, and consider what parts of it were successful after all. Do a proper debrief. And don’t skimp on the details.
Details are the analytics you need to properly unpack your “move” and learn to flex, tweak, delete, alter or fix.
When you’ve reflected on it for a considerable amount of time, move on to thinking about, “What next?” ‘What’s the next best step forward?”
Remember: one step at a time.
One foot in front of the other. Progress over perfection.
Take it slow – you might be surprised how often the best answer is, “I need to have a break and come back to this later.” That my friend is a heck of a lot better than throwing in the towel!
Hang in there, and move on with your important takeaways, that guide you to do better next time.
I call these takeaways awesome notes that end up in your personal Playbook — for future reference when something else similar comes up, which rest assure, it will in due time.
This is such a critical step that makes winning second nature, taking the blows, picking yourself up from defeat, and implementing something you know works well for you. Coaches use a Playbook because it allows the plays to be effortless and success leaves clues. All. The. Time.
2. Understand that: Behaviours stem from our beliefs
While our behaviours may feel like they’re random, springing up out of nowhere unexpectedly, they are anything but that. Our behaviours are tightly wired to beliefs that we hold about ourselves and the world around us. These beliefs are stories we tell ourselves. Like many stories, they hold weight and power but are not always inherently true. Knowing the truth, the lies, the half-truths, is so important as they shape our reality and impact us in major ways, subconsciously and consciously.
Unpacking those beliefs and stories can be challenging. As children, we all take on various beliefs in order to make sense of the world around us and find our place in it. We may for example become high performers to please parents with high standards. We may become people-pleasers to make sure that those around us like us. We may become aggressive or dismissive in order to defend boundaries that were violated or threatened when we were younger.
Perfectionism is tied to a belief. If we believe that we can and should be perfect—our behaviour will reflect that belief. And when we inevitably fall short of perfection, we don’t question the validity of the belief—we blame ourselves for not living up to our standard.
“There’s something wrong with me.”
“I should have been better.”
“I should have done/said that.”
“I am not good enough.”
Regardless of what our stories might be, they are just stories. Nothing more. And, every story can be rewritten. (That is a powerful, liberating thought right there!)
3. Take two steps forward, one step back
The power of the mind: Train your mind to accept that there will be some setbacks from time to time. By doing this you are more prepared psychologically. #FailingForward
Recently, my coach did not give me the response I needed. I wanted her encouragement and her kind words, but I was met with something that didn’t sit well. For half a day, I felt uneasy about our exchange of words.
Thankfully, the next day, I used the words to motivate me to do better. I looked at times when I was not following a process she had taught me and I dived straight in to find my weaknesses and to resolve the issues that were on my plate. It was time to revisit my game plan, and I realised I could not blame my lack of progress on her, or what she had said.
I decided instead to be a keen learner and study what I was doing wrong, and why it had failed. I learned the principles behind progress over perfection and shifting dynamics on a whole new level.
I took an inventory, and this gave me what I needed to pick things up, on a positive note, and file me for what tasks I now needed to do with my notes from my playbook. I had something positive to work with, and I allowed her words to be motivating words, instead of discouraging words.
I have seen how as adult learners, we usually approach new material as “oh, I already know that” vs “what gaps are there in my learning that I need to fill.” We skim over material that is relevant to where we find ourselves to be right now, because we basically think we know it all.
I have seen how I have approached being coached by others like this as well and it had set me back. Now, I want to be a diligent student and not fall into this trap. Getting back to basics is what I preach about and I also have to remind myself to take onboard too.
And now, as I’m in a leadership role, I use that example to teach better practices, and show that we can move on from mistakes. That ‘failure’ has become one of the most useful tools in my tool-belt. I also remind my students that we are all teachers as well as students.
The steps backward aren’t fun at all, but they are often gifts in disguise. Embracing them, rather than fighting them, is welcoming a progress mentality. We can still move forward, as two steps back, one step forward is ultimately progress.
And, it’s no doubt, progress over perfection.
Granting us grace for the day. Grace to do better without feeling bad over what we didn’t perfect the first time.
So, dot the I’s and cross the T’s – that you know full well how to do.
And allow yourself space to get things wrong, but not stay wrong, hurt, miserable, confused or defeated, for long.
Pick yourself up. Like a kickboxer, going for the next round.
That’s the best way forward. Be a fighter, and play to win.