I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July. Backyard barbeques, swimming and fireworks are always so much fun. It’s a great time to catch up with family and friends for rest and relaxation. It’s the best time to rejuvenate.
Mike and I decided to take a last minute trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. We’re meeting my in-laws to go Jeeping, rock climbing and to take in the magnificent sites. We are headed to Arches National Park. We’ve never been to that part of the country before so we are really looking forward to it.
This is our way of turning over a new leaf. We’ve been trying to travel more often. A couple of years ago we made a few major decisions, which led to us downsizing our life significantly. We decided to simplify so we had more time for the simple things in life. We now have more time for sitting on our deck, riding our motorcycle or taking our jet-ski out for a spin. Another example would be this trip to Utah.
All of that sounds great, but it wasn’t always that way. So, in the spirit of transparency I have a confession to make. It is truly my dirty little secret. Making the changes I’ve described didn’t come easily to me. Why? Because, I am a perfectionist. I am especially a “business professional” perfectionist. I have spent much of my adult life working morning, noon and night to make sure that everything in my business was professional, well-maintained and quite frankly P*E*R*F*E*C*T.
I know, some of you are saying, “Karen, what’s wrong with that?” Well, there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with it but when it becomes all-consuming then it becomes a problem. A couple of years ago I had an epiphany. I realized that nothing is EVER perfect. Therefore, striving for perfection can be a tireless job that is never fully accomplished.
I have owned several different businesses in my life and my mode of operation was always the same. Jump in with both feet and work, work, work to get everything running smoothly and professionally. I would never see the benefit of hiring an assistant because I was sure that he/she wouldn’t do things how I would do them. (I never considered that I might actually learn something from an assistant.)
You’re getting the picture. I have been a work-a-holic perfectionist that had to do everything myself for years. Once I had my epiphany and realized that no matter how many times I refined a lecture, critiqued a marketing strategy or planned for upcoming events, my work was never done. I could fine-tune until the cows came home and just when I thought I was finished I would change something all over again.
So why am I telling you all of this? It’s because I care about you and I don’t want you to fall into the same false belief that I did. I thought that the closer to “perfect” I was the more my clients would like and trust me. Truth-be-told though, it is the complete opposite of that. My clients, (and your clients), want us to be authentic to who we really are.
Does that shock you? It did me at first. This concept was first introduced to me by one of my business coaches. She had a similar story as I do so I could really relate to what she was saying. The clincher came when she asked me if I would like her as much if she was “perfect”? When I thought about it, the answer was “no I wouldn’t”. One of the things that I liked about her the most was her authenticity. I liked that she told me exactly what she was thinking and I liked that her delivery wasn’t always perfect.
My goal today is to model for you my recently acquired, not-so-perfect, lifestyle. One thing I can tell you for sure is that it truly is a lot less stressful. My illusion of gaining perfection is a distant memory. Now I find pleasure in just being myself. No professional perfection necessary. Wow! Talk about a relief.
If you have a tendency to strive for perfection then I ask that you think about a few things:
- Perfectionism tends to make you appear stuffy to your clients. It can, at times, make you seem unapproachable.
- Your clients want you to be real. They want to relate to you and your story. The more authentic and transparent you are the more you will build a relationship with them.
- Who do you feel more comfortable working with? Someone that is structured and finds it hard to go with the flow OR Someone that is honest, open and shares who they truly are with you?
- Look closely at the people in your industry that you admire. What is the quality about them that draws you in? I would bet that part of the attraction is their authenticity.
- When you are living an authentic life, and are not striving for the illusion of perfection, you will be a much better role model for your clients.
As we continue to get to know one another better my goal is to always be a great role model for you. Serving you in an authentic way is my highest priority. Our relationship builds in an accountability factor for me that I really appreciate. I know that as the trust-factor grows between us the only thing I want to do is keep-it-real.
So if you are a “perfectionist wanna-be” and can relate to my story please join me in the less stressful world of “I used to be a perfectionist wanna-be”. In this world it’s acceptable to stumble on your words, crack a joke and even tell a few stories about your personal life. All of those things remove a huge weight from your shoulders and will leave you feeling freer than ever to enjoy life and share who you are at the core with your clients.
Nothing would make me happier than you sharing how this article affected you. Did you feel a shift in your mindset ever so slightly? Are you going to be able to let your guard down to let the world in to see who you really are? My wish for you is that this article made you stop and think for a moment about you and your business.
Again, Happy Fourth of July!
To Your Success