There’s nothing better than being called “super”, right?
For years that certainly has been my strive. A strive for perfection in every arena of my life, a strive that has eaten up my days and nights. Hours of worrying, of planning, of running after targets that weren’t mine and were mostly about complying with a standard that I thought what was expected from me – as a minimum.
When I left my job to embark on this new life, as a coach, I got the message in the photo from one of my team members in my farewell book. Today still, more than 2 years after taking this step into the unknown from being an executive in an international group to being a self-employed coach, my heart hurts when reading this. It was a bitter-sweet compliment at that time. I had started to feel the toll that being “super” in every part of my life had taken on my health, but more than that, on my development. It felt like nothing had developed or grown in my mind and spirit, no radically new ideas, no deep insights, no profound inspiration while I was busy delivering my job objectives, running a perfect household, raising healthy and well-behaved kids while traveling every week.
If there is one thing that I have done every day since I started training as a coach, it’s asking myself with which standard I try to comply and if this is a standard I value. Since, I have decided that it’s OK when laundry takes more than 2 days to be turned around, I have seen that a relaxed “kind of healthy” dinner is better for our overall health than the super-organic cooked super-meal prepared and eaten in stressed conditions and that handing in the tax-declaration at the earliest possible moment will not bring me an award.
Learning this has certainly created a lot of space for decisions in my life. It has opened up moments of fun and connection with my family and with my clients. I have found breathing space even in the busiest of days.
As a practice, notice when you push really hard to get something done and you feel others could judge you for not doing this. Then, pause for just one deep breath and ask yourself: “who will I be if I don’t do it?”. What do you notice about the importance of certain tasks?
And, I am still on my journey of questioning standards every day and every day something new arises: an idea, courage to be different, a moment of complicity with another human being.