How Success Lies Beyond Being Perfect and Playing by the Rules
Oh, boy. This is not the topic I had planned for this week, but the unfolding of this blog post has been such a big shift for me and actually so fun, that I had to share it with you.
I overbooked myself this week and found myself at the point where I needed to write something for this space. I thought to myself, “Oh, no! I’ve run out of time to come up with something good enough.” Then, “Well, I can’t cop out and run another archive post this week.”
I paused for a moment, and then realized how much Learned Distress® was lurking behind those two statements. (Learned Distress is the feeling we all absorb early in life that there’s something wrong with us being just the way that we are. This negative feeling becomes the automatic, generating force behind all of our moments and situations that don’t feel good. Learned Distress makes us feel that in order to survive, we have to be a certain way.)
So, here’s my short list of what ran through my head in relation to this situation:
1. My own past articles aren’t interesting enough for anyone to read a second time (or perhaps even a first time).
2. Writing something good enough takes a long time, and I don’t have enough of it right now.
3. I’m breaking my rule that I should always write something original every single week.
4. I’m deviating from my plan to write articles each week this month that will be helpful to people suffering from holiday stress.
5. Because I’m falling down on the job, I’m not perfect enough, and I’m breaking (self-imposed) rules, you won’t like me.
6. If I publish what I’m writing right now, you’ll think I’m really crazy, because, although I don’t require it of anyone else on the planet, I still must be perfect, especially if I’m espousing to help others overcome their problems.
If I break down the above into the raw Learned Distress, it looks like this:
1. I’m not perfect enough (good enough). (Numbers 1, 2, and 6 above)
2. I’m not following the rules perfectly. (Numbers 3 and 4 above)
3. I’m not getting people’s approval. (Number 5 above)
These three feelings are basic pieces of Learned Distress that we all grapple with in some way, or another. Some (like me) are immersed in them and feel their demanding presence often. Others survive by keeping these feelings buried and by denying their power. Yet others keep one or more of these things buried and feel the remainder intensely.
Here’s the good news. 13+ years ago, when I began my own Quanta Change work, these feelings would have crippled me, and I would have both lost a lot of sleep over this and canceled all of my other plans, so that I could make an attempt to write the perfect blog post that would conform to all my rules and make you happy. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would have felt all of this at a level of 14.
But, as my clients often say to me, something really weird happened. Last evening, instead of applying nose to grindstone, as I usually might, I went to a party and then accepted a dinner invitation. To be fair, I was figuring that I could cancel tonight’s plans, instead, and work on it, then. But, the weirdness continued. I decided to keep tonight’s plans to go to a concert. And, as I made that radical decision, this blog post started forming itself in my head. Now, I’m coming to the close of it in plenty of time to publish right on schedule. It has come together more easily than any of the topics I had thought I might write on (and was struggling with in the past couple of days).
And, when I check in on my worries that I’m not good enough, I’m not following the rules, and I’m not going to get your approval, these burdens suddenly feel much lighter. I didn’t plot out any of this “write the blog post plus keep all my social plans” success. I didn’t visualize it, nor did I try to manifest it. If you had suggested two days ago that there was a way for me to write a new blog post plus keep my social engagements (and even add one!), I would have laughed at you.
My conscious, daytime Quanta Change shifting work this week has been around allowing myself to succeed. (This shifting is how one tells their brain the specific change they want it to make for them.) But, I didn’t work hard to achieve this success, nor was I even thinking or hoping that my daytime shifting work would apply to the writing of this week’s blog. It just happened, as this part of the Quanta Change cycle always does. And, it has been fun!
Do you feel the pressure to be perfect, to follow rules perfectly, or to get other people’s approval, either right up in your face or lurking in the background? Do you fear that success can only come when you achieve one or more of these things? If so, I offer my own experience to you as evidence that things really can change in meaningful and dramatic ways, and I hope that you will experience the same kind of fun shift that I have in the past couple of days.