Perfectionism vs Healthy Striving

High Performance Leadership Requires Understanding the Difference

In days gone by, it was enough for a leader to be the one who knew the most in the room. Today’s leadership requires levels of self-awareness, emotional and connectional intelligence that many leaders have not had the time or awareness to develop.

Personal and professional development that assist a leader’s capacity to see “the potential in people and processes and the courage to develop that potential” is a journey; well worth your time and attention. One of the most significant challenges for leaders of today is to become aware of and managing what we believe. Our brains are busy making sense of so much information. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about ourselves, the people and the processes in our workplaces that are not 100% true.

As leaders, raising our level of self-awareness helps us to check beliefs or stories that may or may not serve our organization well. One pit that many of us fall into, particularly if we are not aware that the pit it there, is perfectionism.

Understanding the difference between perfectionism and healthy striving requires careful examination.

Perfectionism is a “self-destructive and addictive belief system”.
Healthy striving is a motivation that comes from a very different place and fuels the health of individuals and organizations.

Perfectionism is “armour”, a defence mechanism, that has a way of hiding our best selves. It drives behaviour that ends up creating disconnection.
Healthy striving has the reverse effect, empowering our most authentic voice, resilience, and greater connection in the workplace.

The difference is subtle and isn’t necessarily observable.
Our long term health and capacity as leaders depends on understanding and leveraging this distinction.

Take your leadership and your organization to the next level with new thoughts, tools and awareness.
Explore new ways to lead, parent and manage your relationships both in and out of work!


The Joy Thief

An Important Lesson for High Performance Leaders

You want to be relaxed, confident and happy at home and at work, right?

Happy, healthy workplace cultures are challenging to find and take work to create.

Take a couple of minutes to read and contemplate on this life and emotional intelligence hack.

I’ll start with a story.

One spring morning while I was out riding my bike I noticed what a fabulous morning it was. Beautiful.
All the fields I rode past were lush green and the road was a beautiful ribbon. I thought to myself “This is really a beautiful moment. I am having fun!”

Then it happened.
I got scared.
I thought, “What if a car hits me?
What if I get hit in the head with a rock?”
Fear struck.
I wanted to get off the highway. I became flooded with thoughts of my demise.

This time I noticed.

This time I didn’t let fear steal my joy.

This is not an unfamiliar conversation I’ve had in my head. I feel joy and then I feel fear. What is going on?

This is really counterintuitive thought and took me months to wrap my head around. This time I noticed it and stopped the thinking process.

I’m not alone in this. Can you relate?

Joy is one of the most vulnerable emotions we feel…. so, we “dress rehearse tragedy” #BreneBrown to try to prepare for it. The trouble with that is that we give up being in the moment. We trade joy for fear.

Fear is sometimes helpful. It can keep us safe.

However, fear also keeps us from enjoying the things that bring joy.

Think about it….
You’re at work and you feel the exhilaration of being productive, motivated and effective. Then a co-worker asks you a hard question. Instead of seeing the question through the lens of joy, you experience the question as a threat. You move into fear and become defensive. Instead of having an opportunity to connect, fear can initiate disengagement, acting out, separation and blame.
And this undermines your joy and your effectiveness.

Appearing cool, rather than expressing the fullness of joy is another way that we disengage. We’re more concerned with what others think than experiencing the fullness of the moment. Fear robs us of joy.

When this happens, we’re no longer mindful and in the moment, we are living in the future, a future we don’t know exists…. and that can spark anxiety.

Staying present is so important to effective leadership. And most of us don’t have a clue that we’re jumping into the future when this happens.

Joy is essential for our resilience.

When do you experience joy?
When have you dress rehearsed tragedy?

The alternative is to stay in the moment, to embrace the joy, as beautiful and as vulnerable as it is.