I’ve been wanting to introduce you all to one of my favorite people in the blogosphere, Alejandro Reyes, for quite a while. Alejandro is one of the kindest, most helpful bloggers I have met in my few months I’ve been in this space. He has some really interesting viewpoints and constantly expresses them in the form of amazing analogies on his own site, EnsoJourney.com. (check out one of my favorites about his brother’s entertainment center)
It is my pleasure to have Alex here today to talk about doing your best and avoiding the pitfalls of perfectionism. Please welcome him with open arms just as he did for me when I joined the world wide web!
Go for it, Alex!
Good decisions don’t make life easy, but they do make it easier. -Larry Gelwix
Have you ever felt you completed something, but you could have done it better? It happens a bit more often than we would like.
For me, the words above are a constant reminder to do my best every time.
Who is Larry Gelwix?
Larry is the coach of a rugby team called Highland Rugby. He teaches kids how to be super focused on and off the field. He has an unbeatable record of 404 wins and 10 losses in 35 years of coaching. Insane, right?
I’m not a sports fan and maybe you aren’t either, but we can learn from Larry a lot more than just how to play rugby.
A central aspect of his coaching is to always do your best, which means you will live a life without regrets.
What does it mean to do your best?
To do your best, you need to focus completely on what you are doing. Really simple idea.
If you are going to try some burpees for today’s routine, the idea is that you will focus on doing them with all you’ve got. Really feeling the effort, and enjoying each and every moment out of it.
As you can see I never said anything about results or goals or anything like that. It’s just about being the real you.
If you focus on the results, you are already moving your mind away from the real moment, from experiencing the full activity.
Your “best” changes constantly, so rather than focusing on a set amount of improvement, instead concentrate on improving, PERIOD. The rate of improvement will be up to how you feel in the moment.
This way, failing to meet your predetermined expectations won’t kill your momentum.
For example: As I am writing this post, it’s taking me a lot more time to focus because I have a cold, but I’m still doing my best. It may take me more time, but that’s only because I’m a bit weaker than usual.
If you keep in mind that your best changes every minute, you will be able to acknowledge your top performance with kindness. That’s what we are aiming for.
But we need to avoid one big pitfall: Perfectionism.
Avoiding the perfectionist pitfall
Doing your best is not the same as doing everything perfectly. Perfectionism will sap your energy and leave you feeling all bad.
Perfectionism comes from setting up expectations that are insanely high and unrealistic.
But you are smarter than that, you know your limits and how strong you are.
Let’s imagine for a minute that you are trying one of the most advanced routines that Amy has shared with you. You start with all your energy, you are focused, you can see yourself getting better at it. But at some point your muscles refuse to go forward and you stop.
A perfectionist would try to keep going and risk an injury, or stop and feel like crap all day.
You aren’t like that, you understand that you aren’t ready for everything, but you feel happy you did your best and tomorrow will be another day to move forward.
Notice the difference?
Perfectionism tries hard to make you feel bad in order to push you forward (and believe me that doesn’t work).
On the other hand, doing your best focuses on being kind to your feelings and overall well-being.
How to do your best Gelwix-style
Just one simple rule: before you start, make the commitment to doing your best at the time. That’s it.
If for some reason the task at hand is way too big or you are not strong enough, and you are unable to do it as you had expected, don’t worry. You did your best and can rest easy without any regret.
Remember to work from a mindful point of view, where you can notice every point of your activity. You understand the importance of the task you’re doing, and perform each step with purpose.
Is this harder than just doing things and checking them off your to-do list? Yes, but it’s a more fulfilling way to live, it boosts your confidence and will help you improve faster.
It may be difficult when you are starting, but if you rack up some momentum to do your best, you will soon realize you are improving faster than anyone. That’s because you are focusing on your task, not on the goal.
One simple exercise to focus on your task
I know your day is full of activity and sometimes focusing is not easy. There is noise coming from every direction and people trying to get your attention.
How can you simply disconnect from everything?
Just use your battle-cry. No, don’t worry, I didn’t go crazy on this one.
Coach Gelwix gave the kids of the Highland Rugby team a battle-cry they do before each game. One of the best examples comes from the All Blacks (it’s like the professional version of the Highland Rugby). Watch the video below and you will understand.
The Haka, is a Maori battle cry, it looks fearsome. But the real purpose is to really focus the player; it reminds him to give his best.
You don’t have to go all maori on us (unless you want to). You can choose whatever inspires you. For me, something simple and truly geeky (from the Lord of the Rings) works best:
There’s some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for. -Sam
I wake up and say out loud that phrase. It’s simple and small, but it fills me with energy.
Pick any speech from a movie that you love or any words that you have heard and turn them into your battle-cry. Let the words flow from inside and turn you into a warrior.
Each time you wake up, let the words fill you with power. Feeling down, again speak your battle-cry and rise. Use it to lift you up into the sky.
A small challenge
I know Strong Inside Out readers are filled with the power and joy that Amy shares with you. It’s time for you to show me.
Let your battle-cry be felt from deep within you and echo all around the net, share it in the comments and let the world know of your strength.
What is your battle-cry? Is it a quote from a movie, TV show, book or something you simply made up? Share it here!