It's interesting for me to observe that coaching themes seem to come in waves for me. I get several clients all with issues related to influencing, or work/life balance, and the most recent theme appears to be "am I good enough?"

This manifests itself in behaviour where the individual is trying to prove their worth in a number of different ways, perhaps in delivering amazing results at work, or attempting to achieve sporting or academic prowess.  But the problem is, its a self defeating cycle, as the need is never fulfilled.

So, whats really going on?

Who are you trying to prove yourself to?

Understand who you are trying to prove yourself to. Sometimes it's a parent who always compared you to your brothers and sisters, or a teacher whose throw-away line of "you'll never amount to anything" was sufficient to create this behaviour in you as a child.  Realising that the behaviour that may have served you then, is not helping you now, can be enlightening and a driver for change.

What is perfect anyway?

Perfection is often in the eye of the beholder, so think about how you define perfect.   Is it your view, or someone elses?   To stop and think in any given situation – does this activity need to be achieved to perfection?  And how will I define that?    The act of thinking before understanding a task, rather than automatically assuming all activities have to be to the same high standard – can help you redefine what perfect is on each occasion.

Negative self-talk

You may do the same as I do sometimes – when a person offers you genuinely positive feedback you downgrade it in your own head – "yeah, but they did not see how long it took to do…."   Learn to stop the YES, BUT…..and to really listen to the feedback and say thank you – with no negative caviat included.

Take control for yourself

If you are constantly working subconciously to someone else's view of perfection, how tiring is that?  Take control and praise yourself for activities as well as outcomes, and especially those that you might have previously thought of as "less than perfect".  This might feel that you are letting your standards slip. If your view of being accepted as an individual is wrapped up in delvering perfection, it can be frightening that if you fail to deliver, you will lose the very things that you "think" people love about you.  But remember that is only your view of the world.  Reframe the situation, and step into the shoes of others.  You are likely to realise that its only your view and not theirs.

Accept yourself

A few years ago, I might have fretted over this blog post for hours, wondering if it was perfect and changing words until I thought it was.   Not now, I re-read to make sure I think the essence of what I am trying to say is communicated, and then – its good enough for me. I realise that none of us are perfect – and those very imperfections are what makes us human…..thank goodness for that!