Overcoming Perfectionism

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I love the line from Mary Poppins where she describes herself as “practically perfect in every way.” It’s a standard that many of us aspire to (including myself and most of the people I coach).

The problem is that none of us are perfect. Overcoming perfectionism means taking action, even when we know the results will be less than stellar. It also means having realistic expectations for ourselves and our loved ones.

Yesterday I was watching a TV show in which the couple had some serious marital problems. The wife was carrying the load of their relationship and the husband was slacking off. In the end, she decided that she loved him as he was. And that their marriage was “perfectly imperfect.”

I had never heard that expression before, but it is a great way to recognize our limitations. Life would be pretty boring if we were all perfect (whatever that is) and each person was the same. I think that, if we’re going to be judging the people around us, “perfectly imperfect” is a much nicer label than most others we choose.

Today, blog about a part of your life where you’ve overcome perfectionism. Or share how you accepted a situation as perfectly imperfect?

My family won’t let me adopt a dog

I had this illusion that, when I grew up and had a family of my own, I would be in charge. My kids would line up like little soldiers and happily take orders. And my husband would be excited to make every one one of my wishes come true.

It didn’t work that way. My children (now young adults of 17 and 19) and my husband are all very independent and vocal in their opinions. I don’t think any of them have ever agreed with me, about anything, without a heated discussion.

That’s exactly what happened on Monday night. My dear little dachshund, Bella, has now been gone for more than three months and I miss her terribly. I want to adopt another dog. Sure, we have two other dachshunds, but they’re not Bella and they don’t snuggle next to me on the couch. Like my kids, they do not look at me with adoration and think I’m the center of their universe. (That role belongs to whoever is feeding them.)

I saw a dog posted on the Dachshund Rescue of North America  website and fell in love with her. She was tiny, had some challenges, and reminded me of Bella. She stole my heart. I really, really wanted to adopt that dog.

Not so with the rest of the family. They felt two dogs was enough. (It is.) And that we really shouldn’t adopt another dachshund, which is a breed prone to problems. (We have the medical bills to prove it.) And that wanting to replace a departed dog with a similar looking animal is creepy. (No it’s not.)

With no buy-in from the rest of the family, I had to say no. I’m hoping that a wonderful family will adopt her soon and I can let go of the feeling that she’s waiting for me. So if any of you are looking to support an awesome organization or to welcome a canine companion into your home … please check them out. Hopefully your family will be more agreeable than mine.

Today, blog about something you wanted to do and why you didn’t do it.


Are painfully high heels required for success?

Womens shoes heelsI spent the weekend at a business conference in New York City. All of the speakers were wonderful, polished and humorous. The women were also wearing very high heels. And it made me wonder if ankle-breaking stilettos were a part of success that I’d overlooked.

I don’t wear high heels for three reasons. First of all, I had ankle surgery about 15 years ago and my left ankle is too unstable. Secondly, I’m six feet tall, so I don’t need to be any farther above most people’s line of vision. Finally, I’m just not willing to wear uncomfortable shoes. (I think the fashion-trumps-comfort idea went away before I turned thirty.)

But the experience made me wonder about my speaking career. Is it possible that I’d be more successful if I was willing to wear higher heels?

I’m mostly kidding. But there are often “high heel” equivalents that we blame for holding us back. This might be the lack of a dedicated home office, the need to upgrade our computer, or a lack of formal training in our field. However the real truth is that it’s not the shoes or the training — it’s the story we tell ourselves.

Today, blog about something that you think is holding you back.


Rubber Stamp Envy

pile of stampsWhen my daughter was in preschool, I met this wonderful mother who was a big scrapbooker. She had her own scrapbooking room with an amazing collection of stickers, paper and rubber stamps. Her scrapbooks were beautiful and a far cry from my organizational method of throwing photographs in a drawer or box. She became my hero. I wanted her beautiful home and her organized life.

So I bought scrapbook supplies. And rubber stamps. And paper. I didn’t mind the scrapbooking, but it was never really a passion for me. My passion was actually buying rubber stamps.

Fast forward a decade and I had hundreds of unused rubber stamps in my basement. Many of them were in two specially purchased display cases that made me smile when I saw them. But my pleasure was mixed with guilt at the space they were occupying in our crowded basement. Finally I sold the cases and a bunch of stamps at a garage sale, then listed the rest of them on eBay. My scrapbooking days were officially over.

It was hard letting go of my rubber stamps. They represented an opportunity to be creative and to memorialize my kids’ childhoods. But the truth was that I’d outgrown them, and what I really needed the space for current life.

Today, blog about someone who you admired and really, really wanted to be like.