Are you perfect yet?
One of my favorite excuses for not moving on is thinking that I don’t know enough to do something right. It is such an advantage to be a novice or a newbie because you are blissfully ignorant about just how complicated more things are and you just do something. Once started, you get pulled in deeper and deeper and over time realize what deep waters you dived into. But starting is always the hardest step.
Once I get started each bit of information I learn raises my expectations and anxiety. I don’t want to look like an amateur. I want to seem cool, calm, collected and professional and until I learn just a little bit more, I run the risk of exposing to the world my ignorance and incompetence. So I delay a bit, study some more and build my skills only to discover that this new knowledge only reveals more limitations in my knowledge and competence.
It is the cures of a perfectionist personality to want to fully understand every subject and the insecurity that goes along with perfectionism that keeps me from moving gloriously forward with projects. Lately I better understand the dynamic of my mindset which helps me fight it and I have engaged a coach to help me be more objective about myself. I do manage to move myself along in spite of my limiting beliefs but as they say, understanding is the basis for overcoming obstacles.
There are tremendous flaws in the reasoning underlying my view of the world but at the heart it is pure ego that tells me that I am the center of the universe. Logic alone would tell me that this is demonstrably false and yet it is important to me that I ignore reality. Just like rest astronomy was impossible until everyone was convinced that the universe was not Earth centered, making my way in the world requires that I teach myself to act as if I am not the most important person in my world. Down deep I may not really believe it but I can ignore those frantic signals from my ego that keep me huddled in the storm cellar.
It always seems to me that people are watching everything I do with great expectations. Typing that sentence out exposes, even to me, the incredible ego trip. Turning the issue around exposes the depth of the problem. All I need to do is ask myself, how many people get my full critical attention and how I feel when they expose that they do not have complete mastery of every activity they engage. The answer is pretty damned few. If any.
First, I’m too hung up with myself to look around and second, there aren’t many topics where my mastery is so complete that I can’t learn something new from anybody’s efforts. And if I can’t be bothered to be critical of everybody else, what makes me think that anybody else is any different. I might be important to friends and family but they don’t demand perfection or I wouldn’t have any.
Second, no one every masters anything completely. Mastery is a process. Nobody would every do anything if mastery were a requirement for getting started. Mothers are not critical of their babies just because they crawl and then walk awkwardly instead of running a marathon at six months. Doing something badly is the first step of mastery and no one who respects knowledge and mastery is critical of serious effort.
So I fight my ego each day pushing myself to do something that pushes me where I am uncomfortable going. And I applaud myself for the accomplishment even when I know how much more there is to do because once I start something my ego starts working for me because when I see that it needs improvement I have to make it better.
Anybody else have an ego problem like mine? How do you cope and make things happen?