ARE YOU A PERFECTIONIST?
 It could be the major thing holding you back from success not only in your fat loss but in all areas of your life.

The majority of people who come to me for help tend to be perfectionists or borderline perfectionists.

We go through life thinking being a perfectionist is a good thing. I mean, striving for perfection--how can that be bad?

Well, striving to be better is just fine, and useful.

But striving for perfection sets us up for failure and more accurately, it sets us up to FEAR failure.

When we believe that we *need* a certain outcome (e.g. have so-and-so pay us a compliment, lose 20 lbs and keep it off, etc) in order to "be good enough" we immediately set ourselves up for stress, disappointment and perpetuated victimhood when we don't achieve it.

How stifling!
  
“Striving for perfection sets us up for failure and more accurately, it sets us up to FEAR failure. ”
Being a perfectionist is about having expectations, for yourself and others.

Perfectionists try to control outcomes, and when they inevitably cannot, they fear the resulting failure, so they end up playing it safe, staying small and perpetuate their victimhood.

This might be confusing to you because we tend to think of expectations in a positive way...besides, without conviction of what we want to happen, we just won't do anything, right?

I would argue that this is actually not the case and that having expectations for ourselves and others does not make us more motivated to achieve, and in fact, it can set us up for disappointment and eventual DEmotivation to keep going.

Ok, let's back up. What is the expectation?

It's an assumption that if we do x, y, and z, that we can be certain of a specific outcome.

This is how our world works: We study hard, get good grades and get into a great college. We act a certain way and certain people find us attractive or worthy.

We set a goal, systematically implement certain steps and achieve the desired outcome. Usually, this is the case with many things...until it's not. 
  
Until life inevitably throws you a curveball.

Take fat loss. Some think it is unfair that 2 people on the same meal plan can end up with completely different results and that there are no guarantees about your results.

You need to take your time, STRUGGLE with it a bit, learn, grow and get better. That's the ONLY way to move forward in any endeavor, which goes against the conventional, predictable, expectation-driven way most of us interact in the world.
 

You have probably heard the phrase, "There are no guarantees" and you may have glossed over it.

But I want you to think about this further and start taking it to heart.

What do you mean there are no guarantees!!? How can we possibly move forward without expectations??

Without KNOWING what's going to happen?

Without trying to CONTROL what happens??
 

 Ok, I get it. The idea that there are zero guarantees turns our world upside down.

And though many times, we can predict what will happen, it is never a given, and the second we assume to know what will be is the moment everything can change.

Examples: getting a divorce, losing a job, losing a loved one, a struggle with fertility, something shocking happens to rock our worlds--something we never could have predicted.
 
Control is an illusion.

And yet we struggle for purchase on it.

We *need* to have it, mold it and use it to seemingly move forward. TRUST is the opposite of control.

And I would argue that when you trust, you have THE MOST control because you realize anything can happen at any moment, and you don't fear that--you "are ok" with, whatever happens, resting easy in the knowledge you truly can handle anything life throws at you.

How liberating!

Learn to fail or fail to learn.
  
If I'd told you a month ago that embracing your failures would help you lead a richer life and have MORE control over your own reality, you probably wouldn't have believed me. You might have a better idea now, but still, this concept doesn't sit well with us. How can doing something poorly help us succeed?
 
Many perfectionists are scared of failure because we make it mean that we are not good enough. If we fail at something, it means we suck. Maybe at that moment, but not ultimately. Why? Because the greatest opportunities for growth and learning happen via failure.

The key component here is RESILIENCE--the ability to be 100% honest with yourself about something you do not do well and say, I am going to try again-- You end up figuring out a new way.
 
We understand this when it comes to children and sports, right?

We understand the idea of losing and how it can build character for children.

We say, well, it's good for kids to experience failure and losing on the sports field because it makes them better.

They appreciate the wins more, they're more motivated to work hard, they get mentally stronger, etc.

So why would this be any different with us adults?

  
 Perhaps we justify it because we think that adults should "know better" or "have it figured out by now."

But the truth is that we never stop learning--we will never get to a point where we "get it" 100% of the time.

And life is funny because the second we rest on our laurels and think we have it all figured out, life throws us a curveball. It's happened with me--and it feels like a slap in the face!

But looking back, I'd never wish for something else, because I know that every struggle, obstacle, failure, and mess-up has helped me grow, learn, change and get better. Fit By Faith and this program you are in would never have existed had I not experienced a lot of failures.  
  
But that process is a CHOICE. Many people fail once and then stop.

THESE are perfectionists.

They think, If I can't win, I won't play. How tragic.

They lack resilience because they find the temporary discomfort of failure more devastating than going through the process of learning the lessons, growing and getting better.

They'd rather not try and risk failure then go through the pain required to reach endless possibilities. I'd argue that missing out on the latter is much more painful in the long run.
 
You owe it to yourself to stop shying away from opportunities because you fear failure. Because that fear is getting in the way of you reaching your potential and living a more fulfilled life. Lean into the struggle, and I think you will find that you can take it. You can handle anything.

One key characteristic of a perfectionist is that they use failures and mistakes to prove that they are no good. They EXPECT (there's that word again!) that everything can and should go smoothly.
 
Besides the fact that we are learning that having expectations can only get us in trouble, this statement should indicate a red flag for you. How can everything possibly go smoothly all the time? And yet the perfectionist mindset is such that, "If we can just control situations enough, nothing can go wrong." Um...wrong.

Things will always come up--struggles, challenges, obstacles, failures--BECAUSE we simply cannot control everything that goes on. And we certainly can't control what other people do and say. It's futile.
  
Let's take this control thing one step further...
 
If we take a moment to think about controlling situations and by extension other people...don't we WANT other people to do EXACTLY what THEY want to do?

If we love someone or care for them, shouldn't they be given the opportunity to do what they need to do for them? And don't YOU deserve to be offered the same courtesy?

Who are we to say that someone else is acting wrongly? How can we possibly know what is best for someone else? Some things to think about...
 
When you introspect and ask yourself these questions, you can usually see that trying to control someone else or a situation is not only futile but UNFAIR to the other people.

Perfectionists tend to have a very rigid way of seeing the world--there are rights and there are wrongs. Not to say that people shouldn't act kindly and certainly, we don't want people stealing, murdering and hurting others. But I am referring to the fact that people will always do what they do.

That's really the ONLY expectation you can have.

And as a perfectionist, trying to control others, situations and even YOURSELF 100% of the time, ends up leaving us frustrated, disappointed and miserable. Because we just can't. No one can.
 
I think our number one goal in life should be “I do not want to be miserable”. So how do I achieve that? By going with the flow. By staying flexible. By giving up expectations for others. For giving other people the benefit of the doubt. By forgiving others for not being perfect.

For forgiving OURSELVES for not being perfect. By being "ok" with what is. Because the alternative is trying to control things that are uncontrollable.

Instead of sticking to perfectionist rigidity, let's begin to understand that obstacles, struggles, frustrations, challenges are an inevitable part of life (whether we cause them or they are caused by someone else--doesn't matter).

They happen whether you want them to or not. And when they do, we have a CHOICE (there's that word again! :)). We get to CHOOSE to make them mean we are a failure and then give ourselves permission to quit and welcome misery. OR, we can make them mean that we still have some learning to do and dive in headfirst.
 
It's your choice: Fail and get better. Or fail and give up.