Observing the perfectionist
I actually wrote this post whilst sitting in the back seat of the car as my sister was driving my family and I on a day trip whilst on holiday last week. As I gazed through the window at the countryside whizzing past, my mind wandered free and I wrote these thoughts on my phone as they came to my mind.
In recent months I have begin to more actively cultivate the art of 'curiosity' through observation. I support clients in doing the same.
This morning was a classic example when I went for a run with my brother and sister through the countryside. Out of the three of us, I have always been the one most consistently involved in exercise over the years since childhood. I was also the one who initially took to running when completing my first Tough Mudder obstacle course race a couple of years back. I am also the perfectionist. The competitive one.
I have run much less frequently in recent months, focussing much more heavily on strength training. On the other hand my sister has recently completed a half marathon and my brother competes with a rowing club and as part of that training goes out running with his team.
I knew from a technical standpoint their cardio fitness would likely out do mine. I had already reasoned with the perfectionist inside that would be fine.
That said, as we pounded the roads and trails I found that emotions still bubbled up, the child inside on the verge of having a strop or trying to create an excuse as to why I was a few paces behind (literally only a few paces). A little voice began to get dismissive 'well I just won't go tomorrow then, there's no point'.
But then I caught myself. I gave the perfectionist inside a mental hug. Thanked her for being there to push me when I needed it, but then reminder her that right now I had no goal or agenda, other than to simply observe the journey and enjoy the ride.
Immediately that little voice changed tone. The child inside, distracted from her strop, got curious. The curiosity allowed me to relax and enjoy the senses, the sights, smells and the terrain beneath my feet. When we ran up a big hill, I got curious in observing the intense new feelings without feeling frustrated that my pace had slowed to a bare run (I could have walked faster!).
The most interesting thing to come from all of this, is that my performance was no less that it would have been if the inner perfectionist had been allowed to run riot and been screaming at me inside to work harder. Instead nothing outwardly was different, but inwardly everything had changed.
Get curious. Get powerful.
What is Mantra for Monday?