Having high standards and a commitment to excellence is a big part of any high-performance culture / mindset.

Big dreams inspire. Perfectionism or a refusal to accept any standard short of perfection towards achieving big dreams can lead to unsustainable effort, injury or burnout.

How to know the difference?

It starts by noticing if we are putting so much pressure on ourselves to perform to a high standard to protect ourselves from shame, criticism or looking bad. Rather than being motivated by the high bar, we end up in giving up, or avoiding the risk out of fear of failure.

Notice also, your own role in creating a high bar or perfect standard in the first place. Maybe a “just hard enough” standard will be “good enough” to get the job done.

Psychologists Albert Bandura calls these mastery experiences. The key is to set a series of challenges, each incrementally more difficult than the next.

If you find yourself in the deep end (i.e. up against a stretch goal that might require us to be perfect), here are a few things that you can do to calibrate the situation:

  1. adjust your own skill: expectations ratio. Is there a “just hard enough” point?
  2. ask yourself what will be “good enough” to get the job done?
  3. hold in mindful awareness your own suffering that may exist as a result of the set standard or goal
  4. cultivate inner kindness and self-compassion to help navigate these inevitable moments of difficulty found in high performance contexts

These moment-to-moment awareness practices will help course correct as needed, enroute to achieving our goals, sustainably and not be held back from our potential. And Enjoy.

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