If we don’t act, we say to ourselves, we can spare ourselves the anxiety of having to face a less-than-perfect self.
If we do act, and it doesn’t go well, we’re forced to acknowledge we’re not perfect and risk shame, guilt, and other uncomfortable emotions.
But once we choose to realize that perfection, procrastination, and blaming are no-win situations, we can move forward.
In his book, Good to Great, author Jim Collins discusses the attributes of great companies, one of which is the ability to “face the brutal facts,” as he calls it. Only by objectively assessing performance and being willing to make adjustments did these companies excel.
And, of course, this doesn’t apply just to companies.
One way to rein in fear and improve any aspect of our lives is to muster up the courage to look at our shortcomings in the cold light of day.
Don’t take this lightly. Performance assessment is critical to success. And, when we think about it, honest, continual review is a no-lose proposition.
We can congratulate ourselves for what went well — celebrating the small wins — and we can identify necessary changes for improvement. Over time, we will recognize our progress.
The more we move through all aspects of our lives with a review mechanism in place, the less intimidating fear will become.
Think about the rock group, U2. After every concert they meet with their manager to talk about what went well and what needs work.
The U.S. Navy precision flying team, the Blue Angels, does the same. After a performance, the pilots assemble to analyze the flight, reinforce what went well, and discuss what could be done better.
It’s not a coincidence that U2 and the Blue Angels are considered among the best in the world in their fields.
We get the nerve to face the facts about all aspects of our lives by reflecting on them, making notes on them, and getting feedback from people we trust.
Face the facts. Commit to making steady improvement. You will be changing your relationship with perfectionism before you know it.