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Perfectionism, Fear & Taking Action

I am insanely impressed with people who take make decisions and action.  Sure, there’s always some planning and organizing involved, but at the end of the day, they take action.  They want something: maybe a new career, maybe it’s a fitter, healthier body, to pursue a dream to travel, and they do it.  It makes me bubbly inside; I get so darn excited!

Take my good friend Crystal Hassel.  It was less than 6 months ago that we were doing a bike workout together and she brought up the idea of opening up a yoga studio in Garrison Crossing.  Today, Studio B Yoga and More opened their doors and ran their very first class.  That’s huge!

Then there’s my friend Brooke from Red Deer who decided to put together a fantastic recipe book of over 300 healthful recipes for her clients at 360 Fitness, and really anyone else who wants some great, delicious recipes to nourish their body.  Here’s the link if you want to check out what they’ve done.

As a fitness coach, I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who take action every day.  They make the leap to get help and get their life on track.  I couldn’t be more proud.

Of course, you don’t want to take action and say yes to all opportunities in life.  You need to be deliberate in your choices and take action on the ones that align with your purpose in life.

What I find very fascinating about taking action is that we can be phenomenal action takers in some areas of life, but not others.  For example, a successful business owner can be driven and successful in career and relationships, but can never stick to a simple health and fitness routine.  It’s on again and off again, or maybe you’ll wait til ‘someday’ when the kids are out of school and the spice drawer is organized and the grass is cut…

I, for example, have no problem working out and eating regularly, and run a successful fitness coaching business, but spent a heck of a long time before I wrote my first blog post and invited my friends to like my Fan Page.  Right now I’m figuring out Elance and being stalled because I didn’t know exactly how to post for a job.  A week ago I ordered some equipment to start a pod cast, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on me getting out my first episode.

Does this resonate with you?  The one thing that get in the way of taking action on the things we truly want is fear.  Fear of uncertainty, of not knowing the outcome.    Fear of failure.  Fear of success.  Fear of the ‘what if’s’.  It’s much easier to stay safe and not to try than to face fear.  The fear of being vulnerable and exposed.  Perhaps the greatest cause of fear is the need to be perfect.  The fear of showing our flaws when we don’t do something perfectly.  The fear of failing because we believe everything has to be perfect.  Perfectionism is the enemy of progress.

How do we overcome fear in order to live the life we want to live?  To be the person we want to be?

I certainly have not perfected the process of overcoming fear, but I’m working on it.  I can sum up the #1 lesson I’ve learned from experience, from my coaches, and from others who have gone through the process:

Think of what you want as a process rather than a end goal.  It’s a journey, not a destination.

What does this mean?  Instead of looking at what you want to do (let’s take my simple Elance example) as a end goal: I need to I post the job and find the right person for my job, it can be a process: I need to post a job, and find someone for my job.  I may need to turn around or take another route, and that’s okay.

A process means that you don’t have to everything right the first time, or ever.  Each mistake is an opportunity to learn and to grow, it is not a failure.  Be grateful ‘negative feedback’ that you get (ie. “Now I know never to do that again” or “that certainly didn’t work”) as that’s how we learn.

This mindset is crucial for success in all areas of life, and yes,  especially health and fitness.  How many times have you ‘fallen off’ your diet plan because you didn’t reach your goal, or because you didn’t do follow it to a tee?  Then, you go waaaaay off track, with no desire to get back on til Monday so that you can start over with a clean slate?  On a journey, you get the opportunity to simply assess what happened, how you felt, and learn from it.  You didn’t fail.  You’re not a failure.  You just learned something about yourself.  That’s all.  Simple.

Each time I come up against a barrier and my coach tells me “remember, you don’t have to do it right the first time”, I feel relieved.  The pressure is off and I can progress forward.

You’re allowed to make mistakes.  You’re supposed to make mistakes.  If you never make mistakes you’ll never have the opportunity to learn.  A life without learning would be so boring.

Here’s what the journey really looks like:

Success graph

One more thing- as you take action, don’t do it on your own.  Have support.  Every challenge I have conquered, from biking across Canada to starting my own business and hiring staff, to learning how to nurse Jacob, to posting a job on Elance, I have had support.  Build up your network of mentors and cheerleaders to help you along the way.

I am so grateful for he support I have had so far with launching this blog- the likes and shares, positive comments, and signing up for my insider list.  Admittedly, I feel very vulnerable and naked as I start this new journey.  Thank you for being my support network and cheerleader.  And thank you for being on this journey with me.

Happy with being a work in progress,
Your fan,