How many times have you been told that you must give 100 per cent in life, all the time?
Be a better leader, build your business, engage your staff, improve yourself, create supportive networks, balance your work and life, be the best you can be. You only have one life, so make it the most outstanding, amazing life you can.
These messages are inspiring to start with and can get us out of ruts, yet overtime if this is the only state that you can tolerate – a relentless pursuit of perfection and higher gains – your life is probably becoming a bit one dimensional, and very likely exhausting as well.
Work, family, personal life – all of it seems to be running at full tilt all the time. We are under constant pressure to be better, faster, smarter than we were yesterday.
It is no wonder that we find ourselves living in a constant state of stress and anxiety, not really knowing how to take the pressure off, because we have forgotten what it was like to not have the pressure on in the first place.
We have become the boiling frogs of legend, not noticing the costs of our busy achieving lives. That is not until it is too late, and we have lost our health and relationships.
One way to give ourselves a break from the pressure is to drop our standards. A lot.
Sometimes (indeed I am coming to think most of the time) it is more than OK to do something badly. By that I don’t mean do something dishonest or unethical, but just not the best possible job you ever could. In fact I would go so far as to suggest we should actively look for things to do that we cannot possibly do well, just so we can practice being OK with doing it at a poor standard.
Unrelenting standards, the drive to win, be the best, come first, and outdo everyone else, can come at a terrible cost. Yet society encourages us to have these beliefs, regardless of the casualties.
If you feel that you are falling under the pressures of life, then give yourself a break. Acknowledge that you are human, and make a choice to live a happier and more fulfilled life.
The first step is to be willing to come last some of the time, to let others win.
Fail at something. Try to learn something new and do it really badly. Give up trying to win at some game in work or life – maybe not forever but at least for a few days.
See what opens up when we give up trying to be top of the class all the time. In acknowledging that we cannot do something we open the door to ask for help and assistance, to be supported in some new way.
You never know: being willing to change and do something poorly might make a nice surprise – and maybe some new friends along the way too.
It’s our choice: to win at all costs or be willing to share the prize.