Have you ever been in a situation where you had an article, or a script, or a presentation to finish, and you couldn’t reach the end because you felt it wasn’t quite right, wasn’t complete, wasn’t perfect enough?
Perhaps, the deadline had passed and your frustration to finish the piece was already making your hair stand up on end?
And then, came the Sirens telling you to do one more edit, one more re-write – just one more. And you can’t resist, you want this one to be your best, better than perfect. The more you re-write or re-work it, the less satisfied you become.
–You can’t plough a field simply by turning it over in your mind. – Gordon B. Hinkley.
The Monkey with a Critical Eye
Then, the self-critical eye grows bigger and the ticking clock beats louder. The monkey on your shoulder digs in deeper.
It is the moment when you start to look around and see how everybody else is doing. When you ring the boss and ask for another day. That instant when you give up and say, I am not good enough, I can’t do this anymore!
It seems that the conveyer belt of perfection spins faster daily, and the race towards achieving the crown of glory becomes more crowded and more intense. It is almost like you can see it running ahead of you rolling out of control.
We all want excellence and the recognition that comes with completion. We are all aware of that sublime feeling of satisfaction when the presentation is over and we are showered with applause and smiles. Or, when an editor accepts the book that you have been struggling with for months, and then calls you to say Steven Spielberg wants to make a film from your book. Or your latest Live Stream that brings you new clients.
I blame the Babylonians and the Romans
The annual event of making New Year’s resolutions has been practised by many societies for centuries. It was the Babylonians and the Romans who made promises to their respective gods as the New Year began, to payback debts and return borrowed items. And so, the New Year’s Resolution curse commenced. As someone amusingly put it: New Years resolutions are a bit like babies: they are fun to make but difficult to maintain.
Yet, every January, the invisible accountability man comes calling. He then, hands you your personalised list of things you must stop and start during the next 12 months. By February, the majority of us have cursed our way back to binge drinking the most expensive Gautier Cognac VSOP, hourly. Almost celebrating our failures. We convince ourselves that it was unrealistic, impossible, even ridiculous, impractical and illogical, and for sure, it will never work. Then, it becomes I can’t do it I haven’t got the willpower. I am not good enough. You see the connection?
Deadlines create Dead Lines
Deadlines are scary, like a dead end street, a solid brick wall or a windowless room. Many people just obey them because all they see is the pay check dangling a few centimetres from their eyeballs. Fear of failure knocks on the door again. Yet, others testify that deadlines give structure and discipline.
My observation is that over a period of time those deadlines become self-destructive. Burnout sets in and soon enough illness comes calling.
We have seen numerous times, how sports people become strangled by fear of not being strong enough or fast enough, and a week or a day before the big competition, a shoulder is sprained, a bone is fractured, a muscle pulled. Same thing happens to actors and musicians striving to be the best, and paralysed by comparisons and competition, fall into drugs and alcohol. Singers and speakers develop sore throats 2 days before a show. We are ingeniously skilful at self-sabotage.
Satisfaction is a Double D Thing!
Unfortunately, in all my years of learning, I have never found a school, college or university that teaches, as part of its basic education, the development and exercise of decision-making and self-discipline.
Discipline is often associated with punishment. And, we are told, a lack of discipline will surely lead to sanctions, forfeiture or perhaps, a beating.
-Discipline is giving yourself a command and following it with an action – Bob Proctor
On a daily basis, we make decisions about our clothes, food, which road to walk down, movie to view, time to go to bed. We plod along all day deciding whether to go right or left.
But when it comes to the Big Bucks, the important issues, and the valuable decisions, we begin to falter, hesitate and back off. We find it hard to believe and trust in our ability to decide.
If only we were encouraged to exercise our Decision Muscles. If only our early education inspired us to make choices and act upon them.
-Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment – Jim Rohn
Practise makes you Proud and Confident
Once you recognise that you have total control over your super fit and flexible Decision Muscles, you learn to trust and believe in your choices. And, the real reward (for exercising your Decision and Discipline Muscles) is that whatever decision you make, it is right! There is no such thing as a bad decision!
Look at it this way. Do you send the email, blog post or article today, or wait and do another edit?
If you send it today and it is accepted, celebrate.
If it is rejected, ask why. Then, you can learn and see what more is needed. If you remember that there is no such thing as failure only feedback, then you know your Double D muscles (Decision Making and Self Discipline) are in good working order.
I leave you to contemplate on the wise words of Brian Tracey.
There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines.
Georgia Varjas is a speaker coach who helps female entrepreneurs really Step Up & Stand Out through developing excellent writing and speaking skills, so they can be heard, understood and believed.
She offers free advice and learning in her Facebook Community
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