Monday, 23 May 2011

5 Ways to be Happy without being Perfect!

Most folks are about as happy

as they make up their minds to be.

~Abraham Lincoln

This is an extract from an article written by the psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos and printed in Woman & Home June 2011. It is so relevant to my current blog thread that I couldn't have put it better myself, so I haven't tried.

I hope you enjoy it.

1. Forget the word "Must"

Next time you hear yourself thinking "I must" "I should" or "I have to", stop and challenge that thought. As soon as those words enter our heads life feels like a chore. Our sense of control goes out of the window, along with our sense of fun! Reframe the way you see your "musts" in life, so you feel like you're doing things on your own terms.

2. See mistakes as a journey

Sure, things go wrong sometimes, but no one is supposed to be perfect in life - everything we do, right and wrong, is a journey towards either understanding ourselves or a situation. We all have an internal bully, but negative self talk is counterproductive. Instead, focus on what you can learn from your mistakes.

3. Be the Unedited you

This is all about learning to let go of self-consciousness. No one has the right to judge you, and accepting that, is the first step towards being the 'unedited" you. Learn to break the habit of shaping your personality to fit those around you. People-pleasing won't bring happiness ultimately, and remember you could have lots of friends telling you you're great, but if you can't fight your internal critic, you'll struggle to be happy.

4. Don't over-analyse

Whether it's your boss or a so-called friend who fires a killer insult at you, instead of dwelling on it, only give yourself a set amount of time (say 15 minutes) to think it over. Ask, "Is there anything I can learn from this comment? Do I want to confront them about it?" If nothing positive can come from it, then don't let is take up headspace, which could be given to healthier, happier thoughts. There's a great saying: there are only two things to worry about:

  • 1. Things you can fix - in which case, fix them.

  • 2. Things you can't fix - in which case, stop worrying about them!

5. Pick your Fights

No matter how great your relationship, everyone has the odd bicker. It may be you've got in the habit of picking up on the little things, instead of addressing the fundamentals. So he didn't do the dishes. Ask yourself, "What's the real issue?" Possibly you feel it shows a lack of respect. Look out for any patterns or recurring themes, then talk to him about what is really bugging you. Next check if what you heard is what was actually said. Did he really say "I can't be bothered to chat" or is he just tired? Reflecting on what you've heard helps clear up any miscommunication, making for a happier relationship.

If you would like to talk through with me the barriers to your happiness, please contact me at Nicholl Consultancy and I'll be delighted to work alongside you.

My next article will explore a further 5 barriers to your happiness, so until then

Bye for now and keep smiling!


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Is Perfectionism paralysing you?

Striving for excellence motivates you;

striving for Perfectionism is demoralising.

Harriet Braiker

Firstly, let's be clear about what a 'Perfectionist' is. According to the Oxford Dictionary it means "a person who seeks perfection" ok then, what is perfection? Again according to the dictionary it is 'without faults or defects'. Now, I don't know about you but I don't know anybody or anything without faults or defects, can you imagine how boring the world would be if everything was perfect - what would the creator of the world do for an encore?

To quote Rosalynn Carter "Once you accept the fact that you're not perfect, then you develop some confidence. If you are wondering whether or not you're a perfectionist, there's a good chance that you are one!

Don't get me wrong, doing things to the best of your ability is absolutely great, 80% is often good enough nothing really has to be 120%! However if you constantly put yourself down, no matter how well you do or you expect too much from those around you or put off starting something because you haven't yet got a plan to make it perfect, then how happy and productive are you going to be - my guess is not very.

Even though we live in an imperfect world, there are those who are obsessed with making their lives absolutely perfect. However, if we leave no room for error, then no matter what challenge or project or piece of work we take on, the end result will always be a disappointment.

I shall let you into a little secret - but I need to whisper it - I am a perfectionist - there I've said it and boy is it hard work. For example, I have been meaning to write this blog since Monday and it is now 5pm on Wednesday, what kept me? Well, the house needed to be hoovered, the tumble dryer needed the fluff taken out of the filter and the lawn needed to be cut and of course my office needed to be tidied before I could possibly sit down and start to collect my thoughts about perfectionism!

So, today I decided that no matter what, I was doing to do this blog and I am actually in a rather untidy office and that is not the way I like to work, but I am making myself do it and you know what, once I started to write, I actually forgot the slight mess around me and got absorbed by what I was doing and the world didn't stop!

One of my friends phoned me at lunch time and told me that she was having an admin day because tomorrow she would have to start preparing a set of workshops that she will be delivering in a couple of weeks time, but she said, she didn't know how long they would take her, because she had to do loads of research and plan the templates she wanted to use, and, and, and .... then I said to her, what research? what templates? These are not completely new workshops, you won the contract because you have delivered these subjects before, so you just need to put them together in a more bespoke way geared towards this particular client, so stop making excuses! She agreed that, that was exactly what she was doing and then - eureka, she said she felt so motivated and realised that the first pass didn't have to be perfect, then she flashed up her computer whilst we were still talking and made a start.

So, when are you going to have your 'Eureka' moment?

When are you going to stop setting your goals out of reach? - Stretched is great and very necessary but don't set yourself unrealistic standards.

Baby steps will take you out of the perfectionism trap, slowly but surely - mine today was working in a slightly messy office and getting this blog written - leave me a comment to let me know what is your baby step?

Before writing this, I did some research - which won't surprise you now you know I am/was a perfectionist! So I have lots more hints and tips about what perfectionists need to watch out for, if you would like more articles on this subject, then leave me a comment.

Also, if you want help to accept that 80% is good enough, then get in touch with me at

Nicholl Consultancy to fix up your free 45 minute session. This can be over the phone, so distance is not a barrier.

Now I can get on with tidying my office!

Until next time - Just Do It!