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Finish – Get Yourself The Gift of Done

Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? If so, it’s quite likely that your portfolio doesn’t include too many finished projects. Because – Jon Acuff says – you’re probably just giving yourself an excuse not to finish them. “The harder you try to be perfect, the less likely you’ll accomplish your goals.

 “The first lie perfectionism tells you about goals: Quit if it isn’t perfect.” The problem is that perfectionism magnifies your mistakes and minimizes your progress. However, the less that people aimed for perfect, the more productive they became. 

POINT 1- GOAL SETTING – CUT YOUR GOAL IN HALF OR DOUBLE THE TIMELINE

The second lie of perfectionism: Your goal should be biggerThere is the common saying, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” The problem is, in most cases, a big hairy audacious goal actually makes you less likely to accomplish it. The remedy? Cut your goal in half or double the timeline

If You Can’t Cut A Goal In Half – What if you have to pay down $50,000 in credit card debt? What if that’s your goal and the thought of cutting that number in half and only paying $25,000 makes you want to throw up a little? Or a lot. Some goals are difficult to cut in half. For those, don’t cut them in half; give yourself more time. If you doubled the amount of time you gave yourself to pay off the debt, what’s the worst thing that would happen? You’d pay a little more in interest but you’d still pay off the whole debt. Remember, we’re up against quitting.

POINT 2- PRIORITIZING: CREATING AN AVOID LIST / DEALING WITH TOO MANY CHOICES

Perfectionism’s third lie is: You can do it all. The only way to accomplish a new goal is to feed it your most valuable resource: time. And what we never like to admit is that you don’t just give time to something, you take it from something else. To be good at one thing you have to be bad at something else.

A Not-Do List: In his book Two Awesome Hours, Josh Davis calls this strategic incompetence. Strategic incompetence is the act of deciding ahead of time that you don’t care about your yard. It’s admitting you don’t have time to do everything and something will deliberately go by the wayside during this season of your life.

POINT 3- MAKING YOUR GOAL FUN

The fourth lie of Perfectionism is it thinks fun is a waste of time and holds no value. What’s the point of joy? What’s the value of fun? There’s no measurable ROI on it, and it doesn’t seem helpful. As a result, we never ask ourselves, “Is this fun?” We never ask that question, assuming that if we don’t like doing something it’s our fault. 

POINT 4- IDENTIFYING YOUR HIDING PLACES – WHAT PLACES CAUSE YOU TO PROCRASTINATE?

Once we embark on our goals, despite our best intentions, we will sabotage ourselves. Author Steven Pressfield calls this the resistance, Jon calls these hiding places. Below are some common examples:

What Hiding Does Not Look Like: Your corporate job, for instance, might not be something you love, but it’s not a hiding place, it’s a commitment. Giving that time and energy is what you should do.

HIDING USING “WHAT’S NEXT: “What’s next” will always look more interesting than “what’s now.”

HIDING WITH FALSE ASSUMPTIONS

Speaking of heavy lifting, few things are as funny as the noble obstacles used by guys who tell me they don’t work out because they don’t want to get “too bulky.” They haven’t lifted a single weight and are already worried that they’ll have to start wearing those bodybuilder sweatpants from all the raw muscle they put on their frames. “I’d get fit right now but I can’t afford to buy a new wardrobe

POINT 5- ADJUSTING THE COURSE BY USING DATA

Perfectionism hates data. Why? Because emotions lie, data doesn’t. When you ignore data, you embrace denial.

Data – A Shame Killer: That’s one of the great things about data. It’s a shame killer. At any point during his hustle, Steve could have felt bad about himself: At my age, I should have a better job. If I was a better dad, I wouldn’t have to work on weekends. It would all be perfect if I could take faster classes. It would all be perfect if I didn’t have to go at such a slow pace.

Focus On Process Driven Metrics: If you are trying to lose weight, there is more than just the number on the scale. What about Pants size, Shirt size, BMI, Number of times you jogged, Number of miles you ran, Number of times you worked with the trainer, Food diary.

POINT 6- THE HIDDEN BENEFITS FROM NOT FINISHING

What are some common benefits people receive from not finishing? Here are three different things that three people who have a hard time finishing told me:

  1. Control Over The Outcome. Because if I try, I might fail. If I never try, I at least know the outcome.
  2. Praise For Being A Martyr. If you are “sacrificing” your goals by focusing on other aspects of life (children, spouse’s goals, other life events, for example), you receive accolades from others who are impressed by that “selfless” act
  3. Lowered Expectations From Other People. If I try to succeed, then the expectations of perfection will be even higher next time. I’d rather occasionally surprise people with what I can do rather than build up a reputation of success.

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