An Excellence Addict calls her own bullsh*t
First, a positive thing.
I would like to think in my forty-plus years I have gotten good at taking my time and trusting my process before I commit to something.
The reason that taking my time before committing is such a vital step for me is because of what happens after I commit.
When I commit, I move into overdrive with ferocious force. I apply my ridiculously high standards piercingly to whatever I do. To whatever we do.
Over and over.
I measure all efforts against the standards of excellence I envision.
I also tend to take criticism of these efforts as personal affronts. (Because what I commit to, I take personally. And my odd retaliation is to work harder.)
It’s a rough place to be, post-criticism, when the subsequent reapplication of my immense efforts goes into hyper gear. Essentially, the gargantuan efforts I undertake put me at war with my conditions, my own self-care, and often with my closest relationships.
This is because I am really at war with myself for falling short in the first place.
Residing in my Deepest Fear category, I fear that my commitment to excellence has the potential to drive me away from me. It has the possibility to divide myself against me. It usually results in a jagged fragmentation of my time and attention, and diversion into smaller tasks that can be achieved — instead of infusing true meaning that can be fulfilled.
In vulnerable fact, in my past my drive for excellence and my own failure as a regular human being to always perform at that level has driven me to despair, to depression, to deep, self-destructive doubt.
And I’ve had to burn myself down and start all over.
I resolved years ago to do what I self-aware-ly could to be sure it didn’t come to that again.
A deeper fear is that this commitment to excellence might drive other people away.
And more than burning myself down, I really, really don’t want to do that.
Because I need people. Especially my people. I need my people — just as they are, not with any unreasonable expectations of consistent excellence, I might impose.
I love my people, my tribe, as they are. The last thing I want is to do is — anything alone.
As long as I am confessing to crappy behavior, here we go.
I will admit this right here, right now, to you: I am intense. (I know this comes as no surprise.)
That in itself is not so crappy as the way I use that intensity at times — to intimidate.
I do it rarely, but there are times, when one of my children violates my scarce few rules for living or a loved one or partner cuts me in a way I can’t ignore, I turn my intimidating intensity upon them. My goal in those moments (I am a little ashamed to admit in my cooler mindset) is to melt them down to magma. To make them liquid.
It’s probably so I can feel powerful again. Predictable.
After four decades, I understand the power of my intensity.
And I also understand that, all intensity, all the time, is really lame.
It’s lame because of how it separates me. It’s lame because of what it takes from me.
It steals my joy.
It twists fun into frustration.
It swipes what I have chosen to do for love and transforms it into something I have to do alone because if I don’t do it, I won’t measure up — for me, for the client, for the team.
And all of that is self-sustaining bullshit.
It’s the opposite of self-love.
It’s the opposite of grace.
And those are the practices that truly deserve my excellence.