I don’t know about you, but I HATE being bad at things.
I’m a recovering perfectionist, so historically, if I’m not good at something on my first attempt, I want to give up. My mom tells me that, as a baby, I started walking later than usual because I refused to try until I could do it without falling. And, to be honest, my perfectionism still flares up from time to time.
Can you relate?
This came up in a major way when I attempted skiing for the first time about a week ago. My first couple of times around the bunny hill, I was pretty much terrible. I fell down every 20 feet and was slipping and sliding all over the place trying to stand back up.
In retrospect, I find it all pretty funny, but at the time I was NOT amused in the slightest.
I immediately started having thoughts like, “This is so stupid. I’m not an athlete and I hate skiing. Who invented this impossible sport? When is this day going to be over? I should just go back to the cabin and everyone can meet me there when they’re done having ‘fun.’ ”
And here’s the kicker: what I really wanted was for someone to stick with me on the hill and patiently teach me how to ski, but I was in such a bratty, sulky mood that everyone was keeping their distance. (And I don’t blame them.) Talk about self-sabotage!
Thankfully, after several flailing attempts, I eventually mastered the bunny hill and even made it down a significantly longer, steeper hill without falling once, which put me in more tolerable mood.
When I looked back on the weekend, though, I realized that being good at skiing was NOT the reason I went on the trip in the first place – not even close! I went to have a fun weekend with friends I don’t get to see very often. But instead of being clear about my “why” from the beginning, I let my self-judgment about being bad at something I didn’t even care about dictate my mood and make me feel temporarily isolated (which is the complete opposite of why I went on the trip in the first place).
That weekend definitely solidified and gave me a really personal experience with something I already knew: the power of intentions. In fact, setting a clear intention might be the best cure for perfectionism out there.
If I had been honest with myself upfront about what my intention for the weekend was (to spend quality time with my friends, NOT to become a great skier), I’m certain I would’ve had a much more positive experience. I’m just grateful I wised up quickly so I could apologize to my friends for being a brat and get back to having a fun weekend with them.
So now I want to hear from you – are you a perfectionist? How could setting a clear intention help?
Kristen (& Rachel)