I had the privilege of listening to Alicia Morales, who was my PCC Coach during my own training.
Her rich experience showed her that the difficulty she encountered most with her coachees was the self-demandingness. In reality, when the self-demand limits our development, it can also be known as perfectionism. According to my short experience, I have had the feeling that the most common difficulty I had seen so far was the lack of self-confidence, but it is completely related to Alicia’s subject indeed, as it is a consequence of perfectionism.
In companies, the “perfectionist” has a good image because these persons are responsible, organized, trustworthy and workaholics searching high performance. But what is the personal and professional cost of this perfectionism? Firstly, there is anxiety and maybe suffering because they feel tired, preoccupied and “imperfect”: they cannot enjoy neither success nor the present because they are always thinking about the future in order to get control on things and prepare themselves for every eventuality that might happen… On the professional side, they have problems making compromises -because they want to cover all the aspects and sometimes they don’t respect the timings-, but also postponing tasks or taking decisions, because perhaps it is not the correct decision, or it won’t be perfect. So they wonder: “what would happen if I do something wrong?”, or “I don’t understand why others don’t have the same rigor or exigency…”.
Perfectionism deals with self-control (including the control of your emotions, which can create difficulties in getting along with others), but also with controlling other people (therefore you cannot delegate because the result won’t be exactly the one you are expecting), and finally with controlling the world around you. You believe that “if I can make a lot of efforts, I can control everything”. Does that ring any bell or do you work with someone who is a perfectionist?
Obviously, exigency is needed first to set objectives to yourself and to others, but also to target the full potential. Benoit’s Marathon and other races (see the post on this blog) are good examples of self-demanding behaviors. However, when the self-demand is “negative” -meaning that you only see what is “wrong” and not what is “missing” and what it could be- you are dealing with exigency and not excellence. Indeed, this is how the occidental education is: how many times have you heard parents or teachers tell to children: “good work son but you failed in doing this…” or “very well but I would have done it differently…”. I am a big fan of the British educational system, where the teachers often just say: “Well done!” or “Good try!”, and that is it!
What is the good news about all this? You can remedy this situation! Today, I consider myself as an “ex-perfectionist”, and thanks to my training and to my great coach Alicia, I have learnt to give up on my limiting beliefs about what I “have to do”. I learned to get closer to excellence, to think about what I “want to do” and to enjoy the moment, because you don’t control anything and this is exactly what is entertaining!