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Archive for January, 2009

When I heard for the very first time (from a great and experienced coach) that my problem was my perfectionism, I wanted to laugh. How come can this be a problem? It is an amazing QUALITY, not a problematic one.

We were discussing how people who are just starting coaching struggle with lack of self-confidence (which, by the way, I always thought was my biggest roadblock) and other issues. I was asking him for advice, looking for how to solve something that would undermine my future practice.  Of course, what I wanted to know was if he had ever feel the same and if yes, what he did to become a successful life coach. So he told me that he had to get rid of his perfectionism, which left me so surprised that I couldn’t reply.

I had thought of at least thousands of reasons that were making me feel so unconfident concerning my future as a coach. As I mentioned before- my favourite  was the lack of self-confidence. Then:  being less talented than others;  not being native; being lazy, etc. Qualities such as ambition (which, if in moderated quantity, is something positive) and perfectionism weren’t on my list.

The society perceives being a perfectionist as something positive and admirable.  It doesn’t matter that one is never really happy with the work he has done- as long as he met the deadline, his boss and his colleagues are satisfied and everybody else congratulates him. What about the feelings of the main actor of this play? The same happens with people who fall in anorexia or bulimia, seeking the perfection they will never achieve, seeking the impossible. And there are many other examples, in other contexts, proving that perfectionism is not “healthy” at all.

As a perfectionist, if I have not a clear idea about how to realize a task so I can be happy with what I did, I get to think (often subconsciously) that there is no point to even try to start it- because I will fail. If I don’t do it, I am avoiding the inevitable failure. Of course, I am not stupid and I know  that not doing this task leads to the very same end: I am failing. But at least I don’t get tired, spending a considerable amount of time and strength with something I will not succeed at.

What is helpful for me? To have a coach who enthuses, motivates and is not judgmental (at the contrary of my family and friends). To be aware of my previous successes. To have someone who is truely important to me, so when he or she tells me to get it done “NOW!” (but in a softer way, if not I will resist even more to do whatever needs to be done) I will listen and act. To have a “mirror” person who will switch the negative to positive- but only if he or she really means it. The perspective of starving if I don’t do anything.

Does it make me less perfectionist? Of course not. But not only I get to do some things, realize some activities that bring me pleasure, satisfaction or money, but also understand myself and get a little bit closer to solve this “problem” once for all.

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aspiring writers

What is creativity? Is it a quality? Is it something one can work on, so he has more of it? Is it a state of mind? Is it something easy or difficult to define with simple words? People can be creative in so many ways. But one thing is sure: they all need to find a way to express it.

Creativity is, obviously, the most important quality of a writer. Since it is, though, something volatile and unpredictable, it is considered as strongly tied up with inspiration. Inspiration is just like the water in the sea. You step at the edge of the water, your feet dry and the second after, without moving, you are all wet. But sometimes it doesn’t work and you could wait hours and hours without getting wet. This is what writers call, I suppose, an “artistic crisis”.

The creativity’s characteristics make it impossible for a writer, who thinks this way, to be organised. He can not foreseen if he will feel like writing at 1pm or at 11am. How could he schedule his working hours if he has no idea about when he will be inspired to write? And what if inspiration does not appear for a very long time?

Most people confess that in this case they are just somehow wasting their time to unproductive activities. Others, whose dream is to write this bestseller, will never change their current job (which is also a waste of time, because they feel unhappy and unfulfilled in life). One thing is sure: they don’t do anything to make their dream of being a writer come true. Nothing but waiting to be inspired.

There are many reasons why they choose to wait, instead of act. Lack of self-discipline, lack of self-confidence, fear of failure or fear of success, procrastination, no persistence… There are thousands reasons that could be their roadblock. Isn’t it worth to find out “why”?

If I had to coach an aspiring artist, I would not only encourage him to find out “why”. I would also suggest that he makes his working place looking just as he wants, just as he has always imagined it, as he thinks the working place of a “true” writer looks like. It could be a great way for him to feel psychologically more comfortable while working. I think that artists, more than other people, need to feel well with the objects that surround them, they need to feel that this one room in the house belongs to them and only to them.

Yes, we all need to feel comfortable with our living place, but I think that artists have even more sensibility to this kind of things.

A life coach, if able to use his intuition with his client/writer, would be able to feel what happens in his life, with his emotions and could help him to understand that it would be better to commit to write 3 pages every day, than to wait ages for this famous “inspiration” (that can change with time in “frustration”) to come.

I wish I could ask some writers how it works for them. Because I am waiting for inspiration and wasting my time until- just as in my dream- one day I will finish my novel.

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