Tag Archives: perfectionism

The gifts of 10 days Blogging

Today is the last day of the 10 day blogging challenge I have been participating in. As I reflect on the last 10 days its clear that this challenge gave me more than I had expected. It has increased the traffic through my blog, it has increased the number of people following my blog, it has increased traffic to my website and also engagement on my business Facebook page. All great benefits, however the greatest benefits are more personal.

Since I began this blog 3 years ago I have had a fairly consistent routine to my writing. It was a ritual for me. Initially I would write monthly and then it became weekly. For the last 10 days I have been here writing each day.

To participate in this challenge I have had to change my approach to writing in a number of ways.

I had to let go of feeling that I needed inspiration to strike before I could write, learning that sometimes inspiration occurs during the process.

I have had to get comfortable with posting on a topic I didn’t really want to write about and also with posting when I wasn’t sure if it was worth reading or that it was even any good. Learning to let go of the need for my writing to be perfect and that I am my harshest critic when it comes to what I write. Letting my voice be heard regardless of whether I judged it to be “good ” or not has allowed me to relax my writing style and also the pressure I feel “get it right”

I have let go of the need for the right environment and circumstances to be present before I could begin writing. It has challenged me to write in different environments and regardless of what else is occurring in my life.

It has asked me to re- examine my beliefs around what I was doing in my business and to really connect with what it is I want to create. I loved Day 2 and 3, connecting with my why and my perfect day and allowing myself to share that with the world.

It has asked me to do many of the things I ask my clients to do but forget to do for myself

It has helped me to share my story and express who I am.

This experience has taken me outside my writing comfort zone and that can only ever be good for my writing and those who read it!

I love that writing gives me a way of connecting with people and also to express what goes through my head on a daily basis.

I think a lot and I feel a lot and I have a strong desire to help people. Sharing my thoughts on this blog has helps me to feel that somehow somewhere I am reaching out and touching someone. That maybe my experience or perspective can be of benefit.

This challenge has allowed me to do that in a much freer more unstructured way and I know that that will lead me to write more, connect more, help more and feel more fulfilled in what I am doing.

And last but not least it gave me a chance to really consider why Freedom is my word for the year, what that really means to me and how I can feel it in my life each and every day.

I hope you have enjoyed the ride for the last 10 days. Gold stars if you have read them all! Rest assured this will not be the last you hear from me, in fact far from it.

If you would like support to connect with what you really want to create, to step outside your comfort zone and to feel more expressed in your work then I’d love to chat. Book a free Clarity call here or visit my website www.paulamcfarlane.com

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10

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Why doing the Inner work of business is the key to your success

I had an interesting conversation with my partner after posting last week’s blog. Essentially he wanted to understand why I was posting about the masculine and feminine we all have within if I am a Business Coach. Shouldn’t my blog posts be more about business planning, generating start up capital or managing cashflow?

In a sense he is right, all of the financial components of a business are really important particularly in the start up phase and whenever you are moving to a new phase of growth and development. However I believe the personal factors are equally, if not more important.

Starting your own business is an incredibly challenging experience. It will put you face to face with your deepest fears and your strongest desires. You want, with all of you heart for your business to be a success in every way, but if you don’t take the time to work with the parts of you that become “frozen in the headlights” then it will always be a juggling act to keep your head above water.

You see the limiting factor in your business is YOU. Your confidence, your self-belief, your need to be seen, heard or loved, your fears, your emotional wellbeing, your ability to trust. All of the parts of you that need your attention will get triggered as your business goes through the stages of growth and development. The work of addressing your needs and your fears is as crucial as getting your financial forecast right.

For example, if you don’t believe in yourself and what you are doing this can translate into customers that challenge you, question what you offer or who choose not to use buy your products or services at all.

Your fear of failure can limit your confidence in taking steps that will grow your business exponentially.  Your need to be perfect will stop you from taking crucial steps and will also hold you back from taking on staff when you need to.

In any part of life, our outer world reflects our inner world so to really succeed, to really create work that sustains us financially and fills us up on an emotional and spiritual level we need to step up to the plate and do the inner work.

The inner work is not easy, in my experience, working with, understanding and moving through fear is more challenging than any degree program I have participated in. But it also reaps the greatest rewards.

When you make a commitment to yourself to take care of your inner business you free up your energy for more joy, creativity and satisfaction in your working life. You allow yourself to enter the holy grail of living your purpose. Work becomes a place where you can truly be yourself without fear, without filters. From that place it becomes much easier to grow a business that aligns with who you.Your energy and motivation to complete tasks and take action on the ideas that will grow your business becomes effortless and that is the true recipe for business success. From the place where your inner world aligns with your outer world, that’s where the magic happens.

So when things in your business aren’t working or you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or exhausted then, as my partner so eloquently puts it, some “tree hugging” is in order! It’s time to look for support to do the inner work, it’s time to look within.

As a Business Coach I work primarily in the area of emotional and spiritual alignment. Together we walk the inner journey of uncovering the parts of you that are missing in your business with the goal of creating a sustainable business that you love.

If you feel you need support to do the inner work email pmcfarlane@clear.net.nz or phone me on 0274327601 to set up a complimentary 20 min call to see if coaching is for you.

For the month of May I am offering 3 x 45 min coaching sessions for the price of 2 and I have just 3 spots left.

Old Dog…New Tricks…

Recently I have been undertaking to learn some new things and to implement that new learning. This has asked me to change some behaviours, to complete new tasks and to perform new roles.

All of these things I have done in the context of new learning many times before. As a small child I learnt to walk and talk, to read and write all by the same process. Taking on new information, moving from one behaviour to the next, crawling to walking, completing reading and writing tasks in ever increasing difficulty. Taking on the role of reader, writer, student and even teacher.

Going through the learning process again, to become a coach, I have had to take a step back, to witness my own experience and to join together dots as to what is occurring at each stage.

Historically I have been a bit of a sponge when it comes to new learning. I have happily added qualifications over the years- embracing what they have added to my working and personal life without much thought.

I have found it harder this time though.

  • I feel a greater need to really embody and understand new concepts.
  • I have felt a greater sense of pressure to put the theory into practice and also a resistance to it.
  • I have experienced a level of fear around completing new tasks and performing new roles.
  • And I have become curious as to why this is the case. To a certain extent the stakes are higher for me this time. I feel a stronger sense of connection to what I am bringing forward. It is more authentic for me. There is less for me to hide behind as a coach. What I bring to the coaching table is ME

 

In order to be able to support others to discover what the truly want I have to live that experience myself. I have to expose myself to the experience of asking for what I want and of trying things out for size. I need to experience success and also know how to respond when I am discouraged.

All of this has transformed my experience of learning to something new. I have an increased sense of curiosity about things that stump and confound me. I am acutely conscious of my giving up point, my attention span, the feeling I get when my brain encounters something new and it can’t close a loop.

This is not just a great experience for me to draw on as a coach; it is also really good for my brain! When we are small children learning new things every day our brains are creating new connections and pathways to assist us to understand new concepts and perform new tasks. The more new experiences we have the more pathways we create and so on and so on. But as an adult our brains tend to rely on the familiar using existing pathways rather than creating new ones. This can actually make new learning and changing behaviours and habits quite a lot harder.

Yesterday in a workshop I was attending the facilitator aptly described the lack of ability to take on or even engage with something new as being like an “undeveloped sub division”. We have nothing to connect it too or with! Attempting to build a house in a sub division that has no roads, water, electricity or other services is not just uncomfortable, it simply doesn’t work. There is nothing to connect up to!

Does that mean as adults we won’t be able to learn new things or change our behaviours? Not at all. The amazing thing about our brains is that they don’t like an unclosed loop or an “undeveloped sub-division” so it will seek to complete it. This is known as the Zeigarnik effect.

According to Wikipedia “the Zeigarnik effect states that people remember uncompleted tasks better than completed tasks” Essentially your brain won’t let you forget that you haven’t quite mastered something.

This has encouraged me to continue to take steps into the unknown even though my inner perfectionist wants me to hold back until I have it mastered. The Zeigarnik effect makes a strong case for letting go of fear of not getting it right and just doing. This is how our brains work.

In the doing lies the gold!

 

The scary things about Freedom…

The one thing I craved most when working full time in a busy management role was freedom.

Freedom to choose what time I wake up in the morning, freedom to decide what to do with my day , who and what to spend my time on. Freedom to run away to a tropical location at a moments notice. Freedom to work when I want to -to be more creative and develop parts of myself long neglected. Freedom to be utterly, unapologetically and completely myself without having to fit into systems, processes and protocols designed by someone else.

I am 5 weeks into my freedom.

It is not what I expected, it does not match what my dreams told me it would be. The truth is freedom is actually very, very scary. I feel pressure to make something of this precious freedom time, to not waste it lest it be gone in an instant.

I have also come face to face with the parts of myself that crave structure and rules and targets and plans. I am like a small child lost in a shopping mall. I don’t know where my edges are. I am afraid of taking steps in the wrong direction. Freedom has me frozen like a deer in headlights.

Freedom is exposing. I can no longer hide behind my work “persona” I have no “what I do” to share I social situations. I am myself, nothing more and that feels naked and vulnerable.

However, freedom is giving me time and space to put into practice all that I have learnt and healed and blogged about over the last few years. I am making friends with my fear, sitting with it and getting curious about what it has to offer. I am coming to a new understanding of the part of me that likes to push forward and make things happen.

Pushing, doing, ticking off the list, making it happen is a great way to avoid everything I am afraid of. I now understand why letting this part of me be in charge has lead me down dead ends in my life, businesses and career paths that haven’t made me happy despite there success.

I am learning to create my own structure. Structure when self imposed isn’t easy to implement but it becomes even more necessary. I have been afraid to put structure in place, afraid I would get it wrong and dissolve the freedom. Realizing I have the freedom to change anything and everything that doesn’t work has allowed me to gently begin designing my new life…experimenting, playing, feeling what I might like.

I know that what I am creating is the truest reflection of myself, my truth, my purpose, my soul honoring. I know this because it feels so different -softer, gentler, fragile, exposing, terrifying yet I can’t turn back now that I have said yes to freedom. I don’t even want too, as uncomfortable as it feels. I feel it’s growing energy.

Freedom is allowing me to allow myself to be me. To slowly and gently birth a new way of being, to find my own edges, set my own limits. To be more authentic, to honor myself and those around me in new ways.

I am feeling my way into this.

Although I am scared and tentative, I feel a huge sense of gratitude for this freedom and the circumstances that allowed me to create it.

Alongside this a bubbling excitement for what I will discover on the other side of my fear, for what it is to be free.

 

Navigating your inner terrain…..

How much do you know of your inside? The core of you…What is really at the bottom of all the beliefs you hold about yourself?….all your preconceived ideas of the world and who you are in it…the choices you have made based on your conditioned experiences?

This is your inner landscape, the terrain of your heart, the place where your soul resides….do you know what it looks like?

I have been called to explore my own inner terrain this week, to climb my interior Mt Everest. This call came in the most innocuous and unexpected way. It wasn’t outstanding or miraculous, I was simply faced with one disappointment too many. I reached my tipping point!

Initially I was devastated and devastated in a way that was far more cavernous than the size of the actual disappointment which in the big scheme of things was entirely unremarkable. This small disappointment set of an avalanche of frustration, grief, sadness and despair that I had been totally unaware was waiting inside me on a hair-trigger. Waiting for just the right moment to go off. I was in pain. I was heartbroken. I cried and cried until my face ached.

And then suddenly I was empty

I was completely empty and not in a lonely I don’t know what to do with my exhausted and disappointed self way but in a peaceful, quiet, calm, you have reached the bottom of yourself way.

I have sat in this beautiful calm emptiness now for several days. I have been empty and laughing. I have been empty and joyful, empty and loving, empty and determined, empty and experiencing deep clarity and wonder. I am exploring the geography of my emptiness.

You see I am a passionate, driven, achieving, striving person. This is my modus operandi. This is what I have believed will get me what I want. I pour myself into people and projects and tasks and goals and relationships. This is who I have been all of my adult life. What happened a few days ago when I reached my tipping point was that I poured myself into one project too many and when it didn’t come off their was nothing of me left. I had run out of striving and achieving. I had run out of passion for all of the things that I used to think were important, of value and what I most desired.

If you have read this far I suspect you are wondering where this is going….to be honest I am not really sure but what I do know is that finding my empty has been liberating, possibly as liberating as reaching the summit of that mountain you have wanted to climb your whole life. I am no longer constrained by all the ideals and ideas I once thought important, defining and pivotal. I am free of the values my conditioning and experiences where holding me to.

My inside, my inner terrain feels spacious, new and yet to be discovered. I feel I can let go of expectations for myself and from others. This is where I leave behind all that I was and discover who it is I am and what I want to bring forward. Nothing is holding me back or weighing me down yet I feel no demands to rush forward.

I am enjoying this inner sanctuary, my personal mountain top. When I think about what might be ahead I feel no fear or apprehension. I feel a smile open on my face. Striving has been replaced with allowing. Action has been replaced with exploration. Fear becomes a deep trust in the internal restructuring that is occurring. I am not who I once was and I am not who I will ultimately become. It just is how it is….and its lovely.

Time to explore the hills and valleys, the mountains and rivers and oceans of myself. I am my own adventurer, pouring myself into myself.

Have you explored your inner landscape? Feel free to share in the comments below

You are beautiful, You are Perfect, You are Loved…..

Where is your anchor point?

Where do you hang the hat of your self worth?

Do you look to the world to show you that you are valued?

Do you need the approval of others to feel love?

I overheard a conversation at the hairdressers the other day….One Mum asking another “what makes children tell lies?” the timing of this overhearing set off a series of clicks in my consciousness. I had had a week of observing some of the most important people in my world struggle with their own sense of self worth. I know this groove myself, like a well worn pair of shoes. The endless cycle of negative self talk, feeling unloved, struggling with body image, trying so hard to be perfect, looking for everyone else’s approval and never feeling good enough.

So how is this related to my overheard conversation? So much of our experience as an adult comes back to what occurred when we were small. This pattern of low self esteem and low self worth all begins with our attempts as small children to make our parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/teachers happy.

A child will tell you a lie if that’s when they think you want to hear. As a child you learn very quickly what elicits a positive response from the world around you,and also what will ellicit a negative consequence. From a child’s eye view the world is simple…”what I do that gets love and approval is good about me and what I do that gets me in trouble is bad about me”.. As a child we simply desire love and approval and sometimes this means changing ourselves to fit within prescribed limits. We learn to censor our spirit, to be seen and not heard, to supress our nature to comply with the world. We channel our energy not into what makes our heart sing but into what gains us the most love and approval. We learn that self worth comes from outside ourselves.

This is understandable, as a child it is very hard to make sense of the complex adult world and the relationships in it. We all still have a small child inside of us with unrealised dreams and sometimes a trampled spirit and a heart that is confused about how to be loved.

The truth is that we arrive in this world divinely perfect in every way. That divine spirit still resides within all of us. We do not need to change who we are to be loved or to feel worthy We just need to be ourselves.

So its time to stop beating yourself up for being, too fat, not pretty enough, to loud, to intense, to flaky, not smart enough, not brave enough, too needy, not self loving enough. Instead turn within and find that place inside where your unique divine sprit resides and to offer yourself the love and approval you crave. There is a small child waiting there for you, for your love, for your care and for your hopes and dreams. That’s where you can anchor yourself, this is your safe harbour.

It may not feel easy at first, you may even resist it not believing it will give you what you need, but I promise you if you keep working at it. Gently getting to know who you really are and offering yourself the love that you crave everything will change in ways you cant even imagine.

Its time to stop looking for what you need from outside of yourself. Its time to be you. Fall in love with yourself as you are. You’re the most perfect you in existence xxx

What are you most afraid of?

I often hear others describe their lives from the view of limitation, I have done this myself. We often perceive things to be far harder or more complex than they really are. Why do we do this?  It serves us to do so, it gives us a reason to not start that which we most want  or desire in our life, it protects us from attempting something we might not achieve and then protects us from the pain of failure.

Recently I have become more and more intrigued by the level of discomfort we will put ourselves through in order to protect ourselves from what we believe we cannot do, be or have. Our capacity to do, be and have is far greater than we routinely challenge ourselves to accept. We hear a lot about life not being a dress rehearsal and that we only have one shot but can you honestly say that you live by that creed? To do this would be to embrace change, and to challenge yourself daily in terms of your physical limits and the limits of your beliefs. It also asks us to embrace fear, to know that when we feel really afraid of making a change or taking a step towards our dreams or goals that we are on the right track. We are afraid of failure, of disappointment, that we will discover our limits are closer than we hope and dream they are.

Recently I have observed that my own fear is around not being able to do something perfectly…I like to get things right. In the A type, Perfectionist, goal seeking world that is the sales environment I work in, this has served me well. I am proud of what I have been able to achieve but I am coming to realise this fear mechanism that I have become so comfortable with, that has encouraged me to explore how to get things right, is limiting in me in other parts of my life. In a high performance sales environment getting it right is valued, encouraged and rewarded but how about in personal relationships…can we ever be a perfect friend, a perfect lover a perfect partner. Relationships, friendships and love are all about vulnerability, allowing someone to see our weaknesses, and trusting that they will accept us anyway. Relationships take work and practice and getting it right isn’t always the way it’s going to turn out. Sometimes we learn the most about ourselves from getting it wrong.

I have realised that if I apply the same limitations to my personal life that have been the making of success in my working life then the joy of connecting, being cared for, caring deeply for another becomes awkward, and good intentions miss the mark. I recognise that in its fullest extension the fear of not getting it perfect could prevent me from even attempting new relationships.

So as I feel the closing of another year today and acknowledge what I have achieved, what I have healed and what I have learned I also resolve to start afresh. To allow my fear to stand beside me as the new year unfolds, embracing it, allowing myself to be comfortable with the discomfort of it. Trusting that the process is teaching my brain something new, a new pathway is being created. A pathway with less limitation, more Joy and more love.

Bring on 2015!