The one where we talk about how striving to live a perfect life is actually making life so much harder.
To view the show notes, ask a question, or leave a comment, visit www.AmyLatta.com/BWLW26.
Episode Show Notes:
We learn early on that perfect is desirable, from parents and teachers and school. But it’s not long before this striving to live a perfect life becomes a struggle – in our work, in our health, and in our relationships. So are you someone who still strives for perfection in all things? Are you someone who has thrown their hands up in the air because it’s just too dang hard?
Let’s talk about how we can find life in the middle, doing our best work we can by embracing our imperfect humanity!
What You Will Learn:
- The positive aspects of striving to live a perfect life – yes, they exist!
- The negative aspects of striving to live a perfect life
- An actual example of using my self-coaching method to think in a way that will get the result you want.
- A little insight into some of Amy’s previous jobs!
Amy’s Favorite Things Giveaway:
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(Music) Welcome to Business Women Losing Weight, a community for fabulous women small business owners so laser focused on building their businesses….they have been sacrificing their health! Together we’re going to get back your time, get back your energy, and teach you to live naturally thin.
I’m your host, Amy Latta, and I’m all in! Are you comin’ with me? Let’s take care of you so you can take care of business!
Hello, hello, my sisters! How is everyone out there in podcast listener land doing today? Well, a mini-plague hit the Latta household, so let’s just say that I have drunk gallons of Throat Coat tea and am super lozenged up in order to get this episode recorded. I don’t think I’m sporting a full-on Smelly Cat voice, but you are welcome for the extra huskiness! And, let’s all send some good vibes to my producer, Daniel, who gets to edit out all the throat clears and coughing fits that may ensue from this point on. You’re a good man, Daniel! You always have my back!
And if you love these episodes and wanna give a shout out to my podcast guy, Daniel, why not take a moment to leave a podcast review! Listen to this episode, and if you it hits a nerve or sparks an idea, tell me about it on iTunes! I am giving you all my goods, right here on the show, and all I ask is that you help other potential listeners find me! And the best way to do that, other than, oh, I don’t know, sharing with everyone you know – which, feel free to do that, too! – is to leave a review so that iTunes knows we have something good here and shows my show to more people searching for podcasts!
So stick around till the end of the show when I tell you about a fabulous giveaway I have for those of you leaving reviews! Leaving a review on iTunes is ridiculously easy if you are listening on an iPhone. You just open your podcast app, click on the podcast artwork, make sure you are subscribed! Then scroll to the bottom where it will show you the reviews, select “Write a review.” Then tap out a few sentences on what you think of the show and why others should listen.
And if you are on an Android, you can still leave a review on iTunes by downloading it to your phone or most likely your computer, and setting up your own account. Then search for the “Business Women Losing Weight” podcast, and then you can write your review! And might as well leave any reviews for any other shows you love – it means so much for us podcasters when you do that!
And I will continue to bring you awesome stuff you can use on your weight loss journey, no matter what! Like today’s topic! Back to that sickness. A flu-like virus hit the boys almost two weeks ago, each went down separately, wearing me down as I was in full Dr. Mom mode. And even though I was loading up my body with vitamin C and Enzyme Defense and slathering myself up in essential oils, that lack of good rest is what always takes me down. Now, I haven’t gotten it as bad as my boys – thanks to all my woo woo tactics – but nonetheless, we have been operating at less than ideal circumstances over here!
And it has meant so much letting go! I don’t know if you’ve checked a calendar lately, but it’s December! (Well, unless you are listening to this in the future, to which I say, “Hello Future! You’re the best!”) And there is more than one of you listening that is attempting to live a Pinterest-Perfect Christmas. Or a Hallmark Channel Christmas. Or even recreating a Christmas like what you experienced in your childhood.
The perfect decorations.
The perfect family Christmas card photo. (Uh huh, I am looking at you!)
The perfect family activities to make sure we capture the season just so.
The perfectly wrapped presents under your perfectly decorated tree.
The perfect balance of enjoying the treats of the season while also striving to look thinner than you did last year.
Uh huh. So how’s all that going for you?
I am exhausted just thinking about all of that perfectness! Right? Feeling a little anxiety stirring up in the body!
Here’s the kick in the pants. Some of you are still trying to achieve all that perfection, and some of you, fully understanding that it’s not even possible, completely throw your hands up in the air and embrace the chaos instead.
Gotta tell you guys. Both options sound pretty damn dreadful. The answer to perfectionism is not Don’t-give-any-fucks-ism. Life is not Perfection or a big flaming pile of shit.
What a visual that is! And at the holidays, even!
Yes, Santa, I can’t be perfect, so how about a big flaming pile of shit under the tree this year.
Life is not an all or nothing game.
It’s not Perfect or Why Bother. Like pretty much everything in life, the reality lies somewhere in between.
So let’s crack open this topic of trying to live a perfect life – what are the upsides, what are the downsides, and is it even an ideal to strive for. And most importantly, how this Perfectness thing must be talked about if you are trying to lose weight. Because it is directly related to your health!
So first off, yes, let’s talk about the upsides of perfectionism. Of course there are upsides! We wouldn’t strive so hard for it if we didn’t get anything out of it. True story – any bad habit you have has an upside, or you would not be doing it. Let that baby sink in. It’s totally true. Anything you want to change, there is a reason you haven’t yet – you get something out of it!
Emotional overeating? Why, you never have to deal with the shitty emotions that lead to the overeating. You don’t have to take responsibility for those emotions. You can eat whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want.
Sticking with a client you know you should really fire? They are paying your bills! Maybe they offer a chance to do a project you want to add to your portfolio. Maybe this client has connections to other potential business. Trust me. There’s a reason you struggle to just out and out fire a crappy client.
Same with trying to live a perfect life. You get something out of that.
Maybe it’s the incredible sense of accomplishment when you hit the impossible goal. Holy crap, you can do amazingly hard things! You can set up impossible expectations of yourself and even meet them sometimes! You feel on top of the world when you knock something out of the park. And let’s get honest here, if you are a perfectionist, you have probably done exceedingly well for yourself. Because you won’t do anything without it being the absolutely best. In fact, a handful of you are listing to that and saying, “Yes! I know! So what’s the problem?” That’s coming up, but for now we are focusing on the benefits of living a perfect life.
Not only that, but we often get public recognition for being perfect. I can still remember seeing “Perfect Work!” on the tops of my papers in school. YES! Not only did I meet my expectations of myself, but someone I admire and respect sees it, too!
Maybe you get an actual award from your industry, or maybe it’s just an attaboy from others on the team.
I remember back in my photoshoot producing days – have I told ya’ll that? One of my jobs in my previous life was a photoshoot producer for a women’s fashion catalog. Sounds glamorous. But it was grueling work. 16 hour days shooting on location, coordination of all the staff, permits, logistics, food and snacks. Not to mention the actual work of making sure the right outfits were being shot on the right days.
Something always went wrong. You can to cross every T and dot every I, and invariably, something still went wrong. Probably because there were 1000 moving parts. But on those rare unicorn days? When you knocked out 18 shots and everything went off without a hitch and everyone was happy?
Wow. The entire crew just loved me. You did a great job! It was a perfect day, way to go, Amy!
Other people admire a person who seems to have it all together all the time. From their point of view, you are to be admired for all you can accomplish, and accomplish well!
In weight loss, we are often rewarded for being perfect. If I eat completely perfect, down to the morsel, more times than not, the scale will reflect my effort. I will lose weight when I am perfect!
A perfectionist never accepts failure for themselves.
And that is where we start the downsides of living a perfect life.
Because a perfectionist never accepts failure for themselves.
Which is such a source of struggle, because failure is a part of life. Not everything works out the way you planned, not matter how driven, prepared, and diligent you are.
During my event planning days, I could do all the work ahead of time, lining everything up that I could, but at some point, whether it was a fantastic or awful day, was out of my hands. I mean, I could try to keep everything perfect, no matter what was happening, but it didn’t look pretty. A lot of sleepless nights, too many drinks after a long day, and finding somewhere to go cry when I felt helpless.
Trying to live a perfect life increases anxiety and depression, overwhelm and obsession. What happens to a perfectionist when they set that impossible goal, and then everything goes wrong on their way there?
A perfectionist will try to continue to control everything, long after their control of the situation is gone.
We can’t control before things come to us and we can’t control things after they leave us.
I couldn’t control my children getting this flu-like virus.
I couldn’t control when both of my children – both. Of. them. – sneezed in my face and I felt the water droplets hit my lips. Yes. That happened. Twice.
I can’t control the quality of my voice when I am fighting an upper respiratory infection.
If I did, then trying to aim for perfection in this podcast recording would be near impossible.
And that desire for perfectionism will be met with anxiety and stress, because I would be trying to control the uncontrollable.
And, think about how this spills over into your relationships. You can only take responsibility for yourself, right? But someone striving to live a perfect life may try to control others to get them to do what is needed so that things are perfect. And as I’ll often ask my clients, “How’s that going for you?”
Usually, the answer is “Not very well!”
A perfectionist may become difficult and angry – and when people aren’t in awe of you because you produce such amazing work, they may be terrified of you! Ha! Sorry, suddenly just thinking back to another old job and that boss – who either adored you or verbally abused you, depending on how perfect your work was. Not unlike an abusive boyfriend, working for this person really tore me down, because I hadn’t learned how to set boundaries or how to stand up for myself or how to take responsibility for my own emotions. Oof. All that negativity of that “let’s be perfect” work atmosphere is coming back to me, and I can feel an increase in my anxiety right now!
And something I noticed then, that I still am working through now, is that perfectionism can lead to procrastination. Ding ding ding. Hi, I’m Amy, and I am seeking treatment for being a procrastinating perfectionist. Thank goodness for coaching to help me with this!
Even from the earliest days of schooling, when I brought home an A, my dad would ask, why wasn’t it an A? That teacher that wrote Perfect Work on the tops of my papers. And I learned when applying to college that perfect grades got me more scholarship money. But I was terrified I couldn’t be perfect all the time. So I would put things off. I would wait until the last minute and then cram for my tests. Terrified that I could not live up to my bosses expectations, I would put off projects until right before deadline. I prided myself that I did my best work at the 11th hour. But really, I now know that it was fear of not producing perfect work kept me from even starting until I had no choice but to do that work, under much more pressure. Is this landing for anyone out there!? I know I am not the only one!
I am still working through this. Even now. Just between me and you, I struggle every week with this in writing these podcast episodes. Producing this podcast has been an exercise in my perfectionist/procrastination love triangle I have going on. I know exactly what I want to say each week, I can’t wait to share all of my knowledge with you all. But in the moment to sit down to map out my episodes, my thoughts start cranking up.
I am going to leave something out.
I might get something factually wrong.
If a psychologist listens to this, they might say I’m shilling up a big load of bull.
This episode might be too long.
This episode might be too short.
I’m not sure this title is compelling enough.
I’m not sure this description really captures what I’m talking about in this episode.
Super helpful thinking, right? So let’s break this down in our thought model. For those of you new to the show, I coach my clients using the self-fulfilling prophecy model. Which essentially means that what we think about our life is what we get out of our life. The actual circumstances have much less impact on how our life is going than how we think about those circumstances.
So we start with the C line, which is the circumstance. There is no descriptor here, there is no good or bad. It is just what is happening. And every single human being would agree.
The T line is your thought, what you think about the circumstance.
The F line is your feeling, how you feel because of what you are thinking. This is a one-word emotion.
The A line is your action, what you do when you feel that way.
And the R line is your result, what happens when you do that action.
And that Result you get always confirms the thought that started it all
So if you think “I’m never gonna lose weight,” you’re probably never gonna lose weight!
The awesome thing is that most of life’s problems can be solved by that little self-fulfilling model. It just takes practice in learning how to use it, discernment in learning the difference between a circumstance and thought about that circumstance, and this is work I do with my clients. This is the work that my coaches do with me!
So if I am a perfectionist and I need to write my podcast. Let’s think how this perfectionist thinking leads to procrastination and struggle.
The C line, or circumstance, is Write my weekly podcast.
I have all kinds of thoughts about my podcast, and through some coaching – asking myself Why, So what, and what am I making that mean? – I can sum up most of those thoughts with the generalized thought of ‘This has to be perfect for me to be taken seriously.”
So if I am thinking “This has to be perfect for me to be taken seriously,” that makes me feel…anxious. Very common feeling when riding the perfectionist train!
So when I feel anxious, what kind of action do I take? Me? I typically retreat – anxiety frequently leads to inaction. So I don’t write my episode, I put it off.
That gives me the result of no new episode, proving that I am not to be taken seriously.
Here’s the super fun part about trying to be perfect!
It leads to anxiety, which leads me to inaction.
Which is procrastination, right.
So then as my deadline looms, my thinking shifts to, “I’m running out of time to get this done!”
Which leads to another not helpful thought model.
The circumstance is the same. Writing my podcast episode.
The thought has gone from “This has to be perfect for me to be taken seriously” to “I’m running out of time to get this done!”
“I’m running out of time to get this done!” leads me to feel overwhelmed.
When I fell overwhelmed, guess what I do? Yep! I shut down! ACK! Do you see this negative circle I am creating?
Which gives me the results of still not writing my podcast episode and definitely running out of time!
I’m so stressed out just thinking about this!
Eventually, though, because I have to do have it done so that it comes out at 5am on Tuesday mornings, I end up doing it under complete duress. That’s exhausting, by the way. And I don’t have to operate that way.
We do not have to function under this perfectionist ideal.
So what can I think instead? How can I let go of Perfectionism and still create amazing work?
Well, what if I have to let go of perfectionism in order to create amazing work?
Wait, what? Yeah…
Understand this. When you strive to live a perfect life, to embrace perfection, you are denying your humanity. This human experience is full of failure and flaws and stumbles and falls.
You are only human, after all. I love that song by Rag’n’Bone man, by the way! “I’m only human, after all.”
We toggle between this, “It has to be perfect” and this “Give me a break, I am only human!”
You are only human. Being human means being imperfect!
It’s how we learn, it’s how we grow.
Our failures have so much to teach us about ourselves and about our relationships with others.
We learn what not to do, how to improve our performance.
If I strive to put out perfect the first and each and every time, where is my opportunity to fail and to grow and to learn?
Living a perfect life denies me the opportunity to live a human life.
And living fully in my humanity is always going to result in an amazing life of work.
So let’s go back to that thought model.
What if the circumstance is still writing my podcast episode.
And instead of thinking “This has to be perfect for me to be taken seriously,” what if instead I thought “I have something helpful to say and my people can’t wait to hear it.”
Wow. Everything just shifted inside of me. I physically feel lighter.
Because I have something helpful to say and people can’t wait to hear it, I feel excited!
When I feel excited, what action am I gonna take?
I‘m gonna write my damn podcast episode, get it recorded, and sent over to my saint of a producer, Daniel, and every Tuesday, a new episode will come out.
And if I focus each week on “I have something helpful to say and my people an’t wait to hear it,” instead of “I have to be perfect in order to be taken seriously,” by letting go of the need to be perfect, I’m actually going to put out better work, under less stress!
Do you see this coming up in your eating? In your health goals?
If I can’t eat perfectly, why bother?
I have to put off my weight loss journey until I can be completely perfect.
I can’t put in 100% in this workout, so I won’t do one at all.
The most comment way I see perfectionism hurt your weight loss goals is when we do stumble.
And this theme showed up so many times this week with my clients.
One client summed it up so succinctly when she asked, “How can I learn from my mistakes if I don’t regret them?”
And I’ll tell you all what I told her and even shared on social media.
You do not have to meet your stumbles or mistakes or messing up or however you describe it, you don’t have to meet that with regret. Or shame. Or disappointment. Remember that our feelings will create actions, and how much positive action can you take if you are feeling regret and shame and disappointment!
What if you could meet all your stumbles and mistakes and messing up with love. Unconditional love.
It would be so much easier to pick yourself up and keep going!
Think about a baby learning to walk. The trip and stumble and face plant all the time. We don’t taunt them. We don’t shame them into getting back up again and keep going. We love them. We show them support. The harder the fall, the more we love. So here’s the deal. You are no less worthy of that level of unconditional love than a baby.
No one looks at a baby when they are born and questions its worth. And nothing you can do in this life ever takes that worth away from you.
So rather than striving to live a perfect life – with your diet, with your relationships, with your work – strive instead to show yourself unconditional love and know that no matter what happens, you will just get up and keep going.
We aren’t actually earning grades for scholarships or trying to get gold stickers on our work. We can put out B- work. We can put out the best work we can and get the job done and keep going.
That doesn’t mean we don’t strive for good or even great. But that doesn’t have to be Perfect.
So. Take a deep breath. Don’t worry about the perfect wrapping paper on all the perfect presents. Don’t worry about creating the perfect season with all the activities with your kids. Your presence with your family is all they really need. Your presence that is not filled with anxiety and depression, but love and excitement.
So how are we going to apply this week’s information in your life? For this week’s action item, take a look at your week. What is something you really need to be done with that you are still trying to make perfect?
Let it go. Put some imperfect things out into this world, knowing that you have done your best and it’s time to move on.
Maybe it’s a modified eating plan for the month.
Maybe it’s being okay that your kids wrap the family’s presents, with botched corners and all.
Maybe that means sitting out on an activity or two for sanity’s sake.
Maybe that means not yelling at your kids to get the perfect Santa picture and instead just embracing what is real life.
Real, imperfect, human life.
Okay, so this week’s review of the week is from my friend Jessica Garbarino! She wrote, “Amy is amazing in the way she can phrase many of the thought processes that I have tried to work through when trying to lose weight. She gets me and the struggles I go through as a businesswoman to balance my work life with taking care of myself. Looking forward to learning as much as I can and apply the mindset changes Amy talks about!” Ah, thank you, Jessica! Jessica is building a financial coaching business called Every Single Dollar, so be sure to connect with her on Facebook, because she is not only an accountant and financial planner, but paid off over $50,000 in debt and kept it off. She has lived what she coaches! Amazing!
And thanks to her review, Jessica is entered to win the box of Amy’s Favorite Things!
Amy’s Favorite Things is a giant box of Treat Yo Self – things that any business woman trying to lose weight might need. Products I love, most of which are items from other badass women business owners such as yourself!
And – there will be only one box! Yes, only one box!
And you can win it!
Here’s what you do! I am tracking all the reviews I get for the podcast on iTunes and for my business on Facebook and Linkedin, from now until January 1st.
One review gets you one entry; leave a review in two places, you get five; and leave a review in all three places and you get TEN entries! That’s super fun math!
I already have one person with all 10 entries! Who is going to join Deborah Stowers!
I am so excited about what is going into the box, and you can get a preview by visiting www.amylatta.com/favoritethings!
I will leave the links to leave reviews in the show notes and on the Favorite Things webpage to make it easy, but you can easily knock this out in just a few minutes!
Leave a review here on iTunes, right from your iPhone. And look up the Amy Latta business page on both Facebook and LinkedIn. You will need to connect with me on LinkedIn in order to leave a recommendation.
You must email me at email@example.com with your entires – your name, your review titles, email address – so I can keep track of entries, and because iTunes names are often nicknames, and I have know idea who some of you are!
So get your entires in! I will draw a winner on New Year’s Day, 2018.
Alright, my Grown Ass Women! I believe in you. Are you ready to take the next step? Download your free Business Woman’s Jump Start to Weight Loss – yours completely free, just go to AmyLatta.com/quickstart.
And share this episode with someone who needs to hear this. Let them know that there is help, there’s another way, and we are a growing tribe of Grown Ass Women who have their back.
Alright, you have been listening to Business Women Losing Weight with life and weight coach Amy Latta. And until Next Week…let’s go do Epic Stuff.
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