Everybody has them. You know, those days, sometimes weeks, months and even years when the things you hope for, wish for, pray for and even work for, just don’t seem to happen.
Recently I have been involved in an employment search. I am graduate level educated; I have not only skills, but experience; I have sent resume after resume and received rejection letter after rejection letter. Truth is, there are days when I simply would prefer quitting, giving up and being done with the search for that place where I can do great work and make other folks lives better. During these moments, as during other moments in my life, the one thing that keeps me hanging on is “DETERMINATION.”
We all need it, especially when losing heart is presented before us as a viable option and the intensity level of the discouragement we feel nearly overwhelms us and sweeps over us like an ocean wave.
Where does determination come from? Where do you get it? Usually for me it involves:
When we are hungry enough for what we are reaching for, determination becomes more powerful than discouragement and we press on, we move forward with every ounce of strength we can muster. Hunger/desire will take shape differently depending on the person, but for me, during this job search it means improving myself while I wait – reading, listening to helpful audio, cultivating my writing skills, and of course continuing to send apply for jobs. There are some things that I desperately want in life, so I keep going and also look for different strategies and approaches to take to get me where I need to go.
I realize that not everyone who will read this shares my Christian faith tradition. If you don’t perhaps for you it is important to tap into whatever source of strength and hope that is a part of your faith practice. For me, God is everything – life, breath, hope and strength that far surpasses my limitations. Looking to the God of all creation and trusting this Gods’ accessibility and provision is what helps me continue during tough times.
The truth is that we all have something(s) to offer the world. The truth also is that we all can be better versions of ourselves. Taking time to assess strengths and the specific areas where we need to grow is all part of the determination process. Need a class? Need to read a book or article? Need to connect with folks who know differently than you know? Growth is ALWAYS an accessible option – even with limited financial resources, there is always a way.
So, when all else fails keep holding on. Even when you claim strength, take a risk and then fail, and it causes you to doubt your strength/capability, and entices you to give up and refuse to try again; cry if you need to, regroup, get back up again (whether on your own or with the assistance of some friends), dust yourself off and keep trying.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact some days are just plain hard and make you want to throw up both hands and just scream! But after you do that, keep pushing forward – be determined!
As a recovering perfectionist, trust me, one of the things that I know is that perfectionist tendencies don’t die easily. As a leader I have definitely had my share of unnecessary delays, refusing to delegate to others because I wanted it done “right,” and missing opportunities because of fear of not being good enough or able enough. Are you a person who always or at least 99% of the time have to get things right? Do you work longer hours and put in more energy than necessary to make sure things are done in a way that proves to others that you really aren’t a slacker?
Here are some quick tips on recovering from perfectionism:
1. Accept yourself and remember that you are accepted and acceptable whether you get it right or make a mess of things. See yourself as good enough, worthy enough.
2. Set Expectations, but not unrealistically high (can’t believe I just typed those words – told you, I’m still in “recovery”). Aim to do your very best and rest in the reality that you have done so. Refuse to be dominated by unrealistic expectations.
3. Keep in mind that failing doesn’t make you a failure. Failing can actually be used to launch you forward. Perfect is not possible and it’s ok.
4. Celebrate every accomplishment – both small and great
5. Give yourself a break and be as kind to you as you are to others (sometimes we perfectionists are hard on ourselves and show exceptional grace to others, not realizing that we deserve grace too).
6. Refuse to succumb to the pressure and unrealistic expectations that others place on you.
7. Remember that you are neither always right or always wrong and it’s ok.
These are a few suggestions, did I miss any? What one thing from the list above can you do to continue on the journey of recovering from perfectionism?