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Perfection versus excellence

Let us talk about excellence. Excellence is "the quality of being outstanding or extremely good". Not perfect. Just "extremely good".

Compared to perfection, which can only be achieved in the final outcome, excellence is something that we can choose to practice moment by moment.

The standard of excellence empowers us to keep giving our best. It is focused on effort rather than outcome. On the process rather than the outcome. We could give it our best and achieve an excellent result, even though it is far from perfect.

This is why I call myself a recovering perfectionist. Each time the 'perfection monster' whispers in my ear: "You did not do that perfectly" or "That could have been much better", I remind myself how perfect is the enemy of good. And how done is better than perfect.

It is the only way to move forward, really.

How about you? Are you ready to try practicing excellence rather than pursuing perfection?

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Are you pursuing perfection?

The pursuit of perfection is one of those concepts that can keep us stuck and feeling disheartened in many areas of our life. We aim to be the perfect parent, the perfect spouse and the perfect human being.

The dictionary definition of perfect is: without fault, faultless, flawless.

Since deep down many of us believe that human beings cannot be perfect, we are chasing a goal that is, by definition, impossible. Not very smart, is it?

When we set our goal as being perfect, we are in a sense setting ourselves up for failure. Anything less than the achievement of perfection is by definition not success.

The pursuit of perfection means that our eyes are only on the outcome, on the final result. The steps we take to get there and what we achieve on the way really do not matter until we have achieved perfection.

It is no wonder that so many of us end up feeling disheartened. What is the point? We tell ourselves, why bother to do anything if we cannot be perfect?

How about exploring a...

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Process versus outcome

parenting productivity Nov 27, 2016

Last week we spent some time talking about what is in our circle of control. Let us revisit that concept in some more depth.

When we are working towards something, whether it is a work related project or parenting to raise successful children, it is easy to keep our focus on the end goal. We see the success of others in what we are trying to accomplish and lose sight of the steps that they took to get there.

But here's the thing: the final outcome of our efforts is almost never in our control. We can try our best and our children may still make choices that we do not agree with. We can work hard at a project at work and still have it not be accepted by our boss.

This is why it is much more useful to focus on the process rather than the outcome.

The process, or steps that it takes to achieve any outcome is well within our circle of control.

This changed focus also makes it more likely that we will enjoy the journey to our destination or goal whatever the outcome will be.

Over the...

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Can you?

Do you ever question yourself about what is possible for you to do?

Leadership and personal growth guru John Maxwell writes in his book, "The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth", that how you ask yourself the question about your abilities greatly determines whether or not you will achieve something.

This is how he says it:

"At first glance, the questions Can I? and How can I? may appear to be very similar. However, the reality is that they are worlds apart in terms of results. Can I? is a question filled with hesitation and doubt. It is a question that imposes limitations. If that is the question you regularly ask yourself, you're undermining your efforts before you even begin. How many people could have accomplished much in life but failed to try because they doubted and answered no to the question 'Can I?'

When you ask yourself, 'How can I?' you give yourself a fighting chance to achieve something. The most common reason people don't overcome the odds is that they don't challenge them...

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The art of complaining

Have you ever been told to stop complaining? Well, I don't think that we should stop complaining.

I believe that complaining is often a very good way to improve things. Effective complaining gives important feedback to people, it can result in better service from companies and employees and it can encourage people to change ineffective behaviour.

We do, however, need to complain in an effective way that is likely to bring about the change that we seek.

Here are the three essentials to an effective complaint:

1) Complain to the right person. Is the person you are complaining to in a position to make changes to what you are complaining about? If so, go ahead. They are the right person to complain to. This is the ONLY person that the complaint should be made to. Everything else is just whining and venting and tiresome to listen to!

2) Complain at the right time. We often make complaints and requests (demands!) for a change of behavior in the middle of a conflict situation. This not...

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Intentions for ourselves and prayers for others

productivity spirituality Nov 03, 2016

When we are interacting with others in life, it is not enough to have intentions for ourselves. Even if we are mindful in every interaction, and have a strong intention to show up in a purposeful way, we need to address the role of the other in the interaction.

While we cannot make intentions for the other, we can certainly say a prayer for them. A prayer that their intentions are realized in the most perfect way.

This is not an agenda or a goal. Once again, it is creating the space for God and the Universe to work a synchronistic outcome that allows both people in an interaction to fulfill their needs, desires and intentions.

Let us take an example. I am in a business (or community work) meeting discussing a potential future project for the organization.


My intention would be to be open to possibilities and allow myself to fully consider all suggestions and opinions so that the best possible outcome could be discovered. My prayer for the others in the meeting would be that they can...

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The first 5 minutes

Ever had "one of those days" when everything seemed to go wrong? For the next few days we will be exploring how NOT to make "one of those days" even worse!

So you have had a hard day and are at the end of your rope. You are cranky and irritable. It is nearly time for you to meet the significant others in your life.

You are itching to "have it out" with them or just to "let it all out".

Or you want to retreat into your cave without so much as a greeting.

Consider this:


The first few minutes of the interaction after you have been away from each other sets the tone for the rest of the evening.

If you can just hold it together for just for a few more minutes and greet your loved ones in a loving way, the effort will be worth your while.

It is much more productive to have a de-stressing conversation about the day's stresses after the family has connected in a positive way.

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Quality over quantity

When we begin to be mindful of our words in speech or text, one of the first things that happens is that the volume of our conversation shrinks. Few things pass the THINK filter and we find ourselves creating and forwarding fewer messages and posts.

We may also notice that when we are careful of what we say, how we say it and pick an appropriate time to say it, our words have a greater impact on those we are communicating with.

And isn't that the point of communicating?

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Hope is not a strategy

Hope by itself is not a strategy. Merely hoping or imagining a great outcome will not make it happen nor will it make your dreams or goals come true.

Hope, however, IS a very important part of making dreams and goals become reality.

In fact, we could say that it is an essential first step in changing what we are not satisfied with. Only with a hope for a better future are we motivated to take action.

Hope then, is a necessary but not sufficient ingredient for change and transformation.

It must be combined with action for dreams to become reality.

Think of an area in your life where you are dissatisfied. What are your best hopes? What would be a great outcome?

What is one tiny step YOU can take towards making that hope into a reality?

ONE. TINY. STEP.

That is all you need to start.

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The power of baby steps

Are you desperately trying to get rid of negative feelings so that you can be happy?

Good luck with that!

According to research on happiness by Russ Harris (The Happiness Trap) it is unrealistic to expect that we can get rid of all negative feelings.

In fact, emotional wellbeing entails experiencing and embracing a full range of human emotions, sadness, grief, happiness and joy.

We cannot selectively turn off certain emotions. When we try to suppress negative emotions, we end up putting a blanket on all emotions. We cannot really feel joy if we do not allow ourselves to experience sadness.

A more useful approach to emotions is to recognize and label the emotion we are feeling and to acknowledge it, knowing that all emotions are transitory.

Happiness and sadness come and go. Let us practice noticing and labeling the emotion we are experiencing.

A simple but very powerful exercise.

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