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An addiction to be perfect takes away meaningful performance

Updated: Jun 20





A while ago, I was coached down a process to deliver a presentation. Lots of practice. Lots of routine. Sharp attention to detail so I could be perfect. With a safety net.


I hated it.


I hated it ... because there was a sole focus on turning my speech into a routine I could deliver in a perfect way. I had to be perfect. Never have I been so nervous for a presentation.


I was so nervous about failing to be perfect, minutes before I was due to speak, I took myself off to play basketball. I told myself I was good enough. I don't need to be perfect.


I completed the presentation and felt empty. Released from a pressure to be perfect.


I hated it.


But, it was an experience.


During the process, I was asked "Jon, don't you want a safety net?"


At the time I looked puzzled.


I didn't know what they meant. Why do I need a safety net from being me?


My talk was OK. But, I felt the purpose and meaning of my talk was reduced to the point where it became a demonstration of my ability to deliver a routine to standard. To get more talking opportunities. I will never deliver a talk like this again.


But, it was an experience of the opposite of what I coach. It helped me to see that while it is necessary for some to coach others to follow routines to the highest standards. It is equally important for others to coach when and how to switch off the routine - to access more mental agility - to discover performance, purpose, and meaning beyond personal ability to perfect the routine. For Wow moments. Peak performance requires both.





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