A while ago, I had a meeting that marked the beginning of a very important process. That meeting stressed me out and I was overwhelmed with the task of leading it. When two people cancelled, I was tempted to call it off there and then. That way I could at least have postponed my overload to the next meeting.
On my way to the meeting, I realised how my fears were essentially driven by perfectionism. In other words, I am driven by avoiding mistakes. The possibility of making mistakes or of people not being satisfied with me causes me anxiety. I also realised, though, that the fear of trying to avoid mistakes leads me to a dead end. Flawlessness and perfection is no state that I will ever reach. Therefore, I decided that I wouldn’t strive for perfection but rather for growth.
For good growth, ideal conditions of growth are central. For example, a plant grows when it has water, good soil, light, space etc. Our orchids at home look gorgeous, not only because my husband waters them every now and then but also because they have an ideal spot on top of the radiator by the window.
It is my responsibility to create ideal conditions of growth. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any opposition or challenges. On the contrary, it means that I make sure I grow with these challenges and oppositions.
Growing means that I am in a process, I am learning.
I am allowed to make mistakes. I don’t have to be perfect nor have everything under control. I have to instead be ready to grow with these challenging situations.
Even though I always want to do my best, it is not crucial for me to ask how to do something as perfectly and flawlessly as possible. Rather, the question is how I can grow with the situation. My aim is not to avoid mistakes but to grow! All of a sudden, the challenge seems much less threatening to me. With these thoughts about growth I started the meeting and was surprised how relaxed I was. It turned out to be a really good and promising evening.
Mail to Debora Alder-Gasser