Perfection versus Excellence

Do you strive for perfection or excellence?

Do you expect your self to meet the same high standards all the time? Have you noticed that  you bully your self towards perfection, telling your self off for not achieving perfection and giving your self no or little praise for a job well done?

Or for you, is it the opposite? In knowing you will not reach perfection, you often do not try your hardest or may not even try at all, thus avoiding disappointment, ridicule and the effort of a thankless task?

Perfection- a tough master

I was given a different perspective on this recently and wanted to share it with you. Perfection is a tough master and may not be the best way forward to realise your fullest potential. In many respects, perfection is a moving goal post, never fully satisfied. It is not compassionate and is often harsh. In this competitive environment, with others and your self, it is often challenging to give fully of your self, to be open, authentic and self expressive. And yet this is what you must do if you are to be honest with your self and others in your work, life and relationships.

I was at a wedding recently. One of the readings was from Gift from the Sea’ by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. As well as a beautiful message for the couple in their new adventure together, it offered a lesson to the audience about the ebb and flow of relationships, life and love. I could discuss endlessly about this so what I want to do is focus on the ebb and flow of your relationship with your self.

Emotions- an ever- changing state

So often we expect so much of our self. In the pursuit of perfection we chastise our self for perceived short comings and rarely celebrate our successes. We are all dynamic, emotional creatures, changing state almost constantly. I can feel super confident in one moment, then moments later be filled with doubt. Perhaps you are the same or similar?

Anne Morrow Lindbergh alludes to growth being the only constant to:

  • grow in our abilities, to cultivate existing ones and develop new ones;
  • strive for excellence in all we do rather than focus on perfection;
  • give our self permission to fail so we may learn and become better at what we do;
  • manage our self more skilfully when we’re feeling weaker and more vulnerable;
  • push hard when we are feeling confident and strong.

Strength- meeting life’s challenges

Our strength is not in perfection. Rather it is in noticing where we are right now and learning how to meet life’s challenges wherever we are: in our self- confidence, shyness, fearfulness, joyousness, doubtfulness, excitement and all the emotions that we feel.

Surely life success is about understanding that ebb and flow within the relationship you have with your self and learning to marry that with the vision you have for your life? This requires love, compassion, care, patience, empathy, freedom, imagination, respect, accountability, giving your self a break and so much more. In short, the qualities for a long and lasting marriage that cultivates the growth in both partners.

Excellence- living an impeccable life

The marriage with your self is a life- long relationship and it is important to strive for excellence in that relationship. So that you may live an impeccable life full of meaning and purpose as well as mistakes and learning, so that you may not be perfect, rather the most excellent version of your self you can become.

Over to you

Do you strive for perfection or excellence? How do you view your relationship with your self? What impact does this have on your life choices? How do you choose to meet life’s challenges and your personal goals? I’d love to hear from you and your experiences of striving towards your life potential.

Why not………..

If you found this article useful and interesting please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.

Time to Recharge?

Finding the things that energise you are important- nature, music, art, creativity. What energises you?

Finding the things that energise you are important- nature, music, art, creativity. What energises you?

‘Sometimes I just want a little time and space to unwind, unplug and recharge’ I often hear people say.  Another common one is ‘I need some quiet time and a place to destress’.

Do you find yourself looking for some time in your schedule when you can relax and rejuvenate? Are you finding that time harder and harder to carve out for yourself? Do you feel that down time is often in front of the TV or resting in a way that makes you more tired and far from recharged?

Rejuvenation

If you find that your rest time is not as rejuvenating as you would like it to be, perhaps it is because it is draining your energy. Resting the body and the mind is not the same as rejuvenating the mind and body. Sometimes the mind needs to relax and unplug- doing exercise or chilling out can be brilliant for that.  Other times, the body needs to recuperate. Sleep, reading a book, watching TV or chatting with friends can be the tonic you want.

Done right, these will all rejuvenate your energy because it is what your system needs right now.  We all need time by the pool or on the beach.  Chilling out in front of the TV can be a good thing. Too much of any of that can leave you feeling more tired and less motivated to do the things you need to live the fulfilling and meaningful life you want and deserve.

Connection

I believe it is about engagement.  Are you truly connecting with the activity you are doing?  Are you sinking into the moment of the experience and allowing that to energise and revitalise you?  Just a moment when you connect with someone across a room can give you all the energy you need.  There is a third dynamic as well as the mind and the body.  That is the energetic quality of your being.  It also requires recharging and is important in energising the body and the mind.  We need to spend time recharging that part of us as well which is often lacking in people’s lives.

I visited an uncle yesterday who has Parkinson’s disease. Often I see him and he is tired, with low energy and disengaged. Yesterday he was animated, sociable and healthy looking. It was a wonderful transformation. When I asked him the reason for the change he said that he had spent some time in the garden.  It is a place that always gives him joy. He pottered around and watched the flowers and the birds and it fed him spiritually.  Not in a religious sense, rather from the point of view of injecting him with vitality, calm and strength. It gave him energy to enjoy the things that matter in his life like family and friends.

For me, nature always has this effect.  I often take trips to the coast and the local countryside to walk and feel the power of nature. It sets me up for the next important step in my life if I feel I need a little pick me up. Others write, some read.  I know people who visit art galleries and museums for the same affect and inspiration.  Something that I have been known to do in the spirit of learning about new things that inspire and invigorate my spirit.

Recharge

The annual holiday is one means to unwind and rejuvenate- and we all need these little sprinkles of joy and reenergising to keep us at the top of our game. And let’s face it- you deserve it! You work and play hard- which may be fulfilling and demands a lot of you. So make sure you make time and space to feed your self spiritually.  Keep those energy levels up for the next step in the adventure.  And because that adventure keeps unfolding, you want to set aside time on a regular basis to keep your self recharged.  You can say you do not have time.  By taking time, by making it important, you will feel the benefit it provides.  Continue to recharge your energy so that you have strength, motivation and inspiration for the entire journey ahead.

It becomes about prioritising.  Life coaching is an excellent vehicle to set aside some time and focus on what is important.  It ensures you can make informed decisions about your life on a daily basis, based on the bigger picture.  So that you can live the meaningful and fulfilling life you want, you want to say “no” to drudgery, tiredness, stagnation, poor health, financial constraints and disharmony and say “yes” to inspiration, vitality, creativity, health, wealth and wellbeing.  Recharging the batteries in a timely and effective way is an important part of that “yes” process.  Try it and see and let me know how you get on.

Over to you

What do you do to rejuvenate and power up? Where do you find the time and space in your life to have those important few minutes when you can recharge? How does making the time for your self feel? I’d love to hear from you and share your ideas and experiences. Who knows…. it may be inspiration for some one else. The tonic they had never thought of to make a huge difference in their life.

Why not………..

If you found this article useful and interesting please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.

You’ve got that nagging feeling

With clarity of life purpose comes the power to take action and live on purpose

With clarity of life purpose comes the power to take action and live on purpose

Do you notice how in spite of your success in life, there is a nagging feeling inside that there is ‘something more’? A career, a calling, a thing you feel you must do and then you will feel a sense of contentment, like you have arrived.  That feeling is the desire within you to live life on purpose.

You may push the idea away, saying that it is foolish- you have a good job, family life, friends. Why would you rock the boat or risk that security to follow such a crazy dream? Maybe you think what you have in your life should be enough and that you are selfish to dream bigger and go for something more?

And yet, regardless of these ‘common sense’ and ‘sensible’ arguments, the idea keeps returning, jabbing at you or sticking pins into you.  That purpose continues tapping you on the shoulder and reminding you that it is there.

Living life on purpose

I know these feelings. I have been there many times in fact. When I had a successful career in science at Cambridge University, I founded a martial arts centre and later gave up my career in science to pursue that path more fully. The martial arts centre runs in Cambridge to this day.

Later I discovered I had more to give and started life coaching, firstly as an additional strand to the martial arts training I offer and now as a stand- alone business as well. Each step has been a step towards greater fulfilment and self- expression of my gifts, abilities and desire to share.

And what I discovered in taking those steps in my self is that I had many of the skills already. Those I did not have I developed along the way. Once the feeling was strong enough and the message clear enough, I found the courage to take that first step and then the next and so on. The worries of ‘not being good enough’ and ‘I’m afraid to take the risks’ still surface and I know will continue to surface along the way. They are challenged and made weaker every time I take a step towards living my life with more clarity and purpose. In later blogs I’ll share how I got that clarity and how you can get that clarity too.

Over to you

I’d love to hear your story about how you took that step towards realising ‘something more’ inside. Perhaps you have not taken it yet- what does it feel like to hold on to it and to contemplate taking that step? Whether you’re teetering on the edge, free falling or standing safely on solid ground at the bottom of the cliff, or the top, let’s share our stories and support each other in realising our potential. Is it change in career, a new hobby or relationship? The possibilities are endless.

Why don’t you……….?

If you found this article useful and interesting please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.

And if you’d like to talk to me about gaining clarity and taking steps to get rid of that nagging feeling so that you can live your life with more meaning, fulfilment and purpose, please contact me in privacy and confidentiality on +(44) 7980 204946 or at david@potentialitycoaching.co.uk

The Impact of Choices

You make choices every moment of every day.  Even by not choosing you are deciding NOT to take action.  All is choice. So, the life you lead right now is a product of your choices.  The question is, are your choices taking you closer or further away from the things that are really important to you?

Being clear about what is of value to you gives you clarity.

Being clear about what is of value to you gives you clarity.

It does not have to be the huge things that this affects.  Although the answer to this question will influence the quality of your life.  As well as the path you take upon that journey.  Each step along that journey also has a flavour, an ambience and a resonance.  That either aligns with the things that you value in life, or it does not.

When my wife and I got married, we made a purposeful commitment to have a wedding celebration that honoured the things that we felt were important to us: family, children, close friends, fun, good food, elegance, homeliness, beautiful surroundings in nature….. the list goes on.  The day was beautiful.  Along the way to organising the day, we were faced with decisions that were full of often overwhelming choices.  It was challenging.  On the whole we did not allow ourselves to become distracted from what we felt was most important.  At times we made choices that others did not like.  These moments were dealt with in a compassionate way and for the most part people were very understanding.

Clarity makes Choices easier

Being clear about what is of value to you gives you clarity.  Taking a little time out to reflect on what is important may be invaluable to you to make sure you are moving in the right direction.  This can be particularly important when faced with the fast pace of modern business and personal lives.  Living aligned to your values helps to keep you focussed and energised.  It may even give you the confidence and belief that you are heading in the “right” direction.  Even when you are not necessarily totally sure of where you are headed.  The beauty and wonder of life unfolds in its own time.

You build your future here and now.  So make sure you are building a future that is full of the things that are really important to you.  As these things change, you will change your future accordingly.  Being aware of the process keeps you in touch with the shifting sands of your life and its passions, drives and motivations.

Determining your Values

So how do you know what your values are?  One such way is to connect to a “peak” experience.  A moment when things felt perfect and you were in the flow.  I had one such moment at my wedding:  looking out over the small crowd of loved ones who had come to celebrate our special day with us, the venue, the setting, the games, the music and feelings of connection that came with it.  When I make choices in my life I do so in reference to these values.  They inform my choices, creating my present and my future and building a past that I am becoming increasingly proud of.

Your turn…..

I’d love to hear your stories of how value- based choices have enhanced your life.  How have they built great memories and helped to create wonderful futures for you and your loved ones?  It is the unfolding of your potential in its many forms that helps to create a life of meaning and fulfilment.  Live it well.

Why not………..

If you found this article useful and informative please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Growth happens outside your comfort zone

Growth happens outside your comfort zone

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “Do one thing every day that scares you”.  In this age of super human heroes in movies, fearless warriors in computer games along with the facade and bravado that people often display in every day life to show that they are fit and strong enough to compete for the greatest successes in their personal and professional lives, the idea of doing something that scares me is overwhelming.  It feels like I have to be this perfect ideal.  That shows no fear and never makes mistakes.  It feels like I have to up the ante each time.

Who can compete with that?  I certainly can’t!

Comfort Zone

The idea of doing things daily that seem to require super human heroism on my part often means that I don’t do anything.  Over time this has a negative impact on my self- worth and self- esteem.  Then someone introduced me to the idea of stepping out of my comfort zone just enough so that it was a challenge.  And importantly, not so much that it felt like over whelm.  I began to use Mrs Roosevelt’s saying in a way that enhanced my life.

Public Speaking- a common speak out of your comfort zone

Let me share, if you will, a personal example with you.  I have always had a strong aversion to public speaking.  What is interesting in that for years I have felt that I should do it.  I have written lectures TED style, courses to be delivered to classes over 6- 12 weeks and video scripts.  I’ve never been able to deliver.

On a recent CPD course it occurred to me that perhaps I was setting my sights too high in the first instance.  Perhaps the talks on video and in front of classes would come.  Even a TED talk.  For now though I felt like I needed to take a small step to prove to myself that it was possible.  So I did.  Although there was a sense of fear and anxiety there was also a sense of feeling alive.  It felt on the edge, challenged and at the same time manageable.  The feeling of success was elation and then what followed was a calmness and serenity that had eluded me for years.

I had avoided the stress of public speaking and other such things that made me feel anxious.  It was always accompanied by this gnawing feeling that I should be doing something more.  Now I had taken that step, mustered the courage.  It felt great to have taken myself to the edge of my comfort zone and survived.  A little melodramatic granted but that is how it felt.

Yin and Yang, pressure and serenity

In Taoism, the Chinese speak of Yin and Yang.  These are the polar opposites of right and left, up and down, masculine and feminine, light and dark.  Taoists and ancient Chinese understood that these concepts work in balance and in cycles.  In fact, there cannot be one without the other.  Just as darkness gives way to light, so challenge and the accompanying pressure to perform give way to a sense of calmness and serenity.  This is exactly what I felt.  It is strange to me to think that in order to feel serene I have to earn it in a way by stepping out of my comfort zone.  It is by this law of nature, as the Taoists would say, that things move forward and grow.  Humans are no different.  We are still subject to this natural and universal law.

“Do something every day that scares you”

Then, the serenity gives way to the gnawing feeling again and I know that I must move on and challenge myself again.  As Eleanor Roosevelt reminded us, this cycle lasts about a day.  It stops us becoming complacent, stagnant and bored and encourages us to be ever vigilant and searching, moving forward and engaged with the act of living and growing, in pursuit of achieving our full potential.

Pass it on

Did you find this article useful and interesting?  If so, why not pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word?  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.