The pursuit of perfection

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Over the last few years, I have sold my house, moved, launched my full-time business and left a job I held for over a decade. With all the change in my life, I have both my motivational days, and my exhausted days.

All this change has led me to thinking a ton about happiness. Am I completely happy, or is happiness just fleeting?  I must admit there are times I feel content one minute, and then frustrated the next. There are days things don’t seem to be happening fast enough; things don’t seem to be going my way and I get down. Does this mean I’m not a happy person?

I began to search for articles on happiness. One author described happiness as “the ability to pursue meaning in your life.” That if you have meaning, then you have happiness. This felt good, but then I wondered what about the days I’m not in the mood to “pursue” anything. After all, aren’t these the days I’m probably just having a down day?

Another article mentioned that happiness was “doing” things like exercise to release endorphins, hanging with friends for connection, and meditating to release relaxing, soothing and beneficial neurotransmitters.

Of course, all of these things are scientifically proven to increase happiness, and I agree are beneficial. However, is happiness sustainable? What happens on the days I’m traveling and can’t fit in exercise, or my kids are begging for breakfast and there is no time for the morning meditation ritual?

I began to realize a repetitive analyzing pattern going on in my life, and it didn’t just start and stop with happiness. I felt like I was constantly wondering if I was perpetually happy, optimally healthy and continually successful.

The reality was that my bar is raised so high, that on a down day, I feel guilty for not being energized, motivated or accomplished enough. Then I feel sad, and begin to wonder if am happy enough.

Wow, I thought – what a crazy, vicious cycle. It felt like the pursuit of perfection was actually making me unhappy.

I began to wonder how I could be successful without the pursuit of perfection. This pursuit is what has driven to succeed me my whole life. It’s what has helped me achieve goals, climb the corporate ladder and launch a successful business.

Thus began the breaking free of the perfection pursuit, and I must admit I’m the happiest I’ve been in years.

What shifted?

First, it was forgiveness.

  • Forgiving myself for having an unmotivated day
  • Forgiving myself for occasionally derailing from my ultimate journey
  • Forgiveness for feeling tired, not sleeping well or saying no to a client

This alleviated a ton of pressure I was putting on myself. I felt better already.

Next, it was gratefulness.

  • I began a morning ritual to state everything I was grateful for. The little things began to add up fast.
  • It’s amazing how quickly we dismiss all the wonderful things that are going well in our life.
  • The focus on lack is enough to keep us feeling unhappy. The focus on “have,” however, is exciting and liberating.

Then, it was trusting.

  • Trusting that I am exactly where I needed to be – That somehow my lack of motivation was for me in the moment
  • Trusting, that there was a lesson, an opportunity to be learned that could ultimately propel me forward
  • Trusting – that my passion, strengths and life purpose where still all very much alive and present

After that, it was allowing.

  • Allowing tender moments with my kids
  • Allowing down times to regroup
  • Allowing my body to heal from lack of sleep

This allowing took even more pressure off and I began to really enjoy my day, my time, no matter how “unproductive”.

Ultimately, it was letting-go.

  • Letting go of the need to control outcomes and know my final plan.
  • Letting – go of living life how others think it should be lived.
  • Letting – go of the pursuit of perfection.

It was only then that I began to experience pure contentment and, ironically enough, felt more motivated, successful and HAPPY then I had in years.

How do you experience happiness?

Would love your inspirational thoughts below….

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