In this beautiful new year full of so much hope and possibility, is your brain telling you to hold off and wait for the perfect time to go after your dreams?
If you catch yourself spinning in the perfectionist thought fantasies that tell you the perfect time to pursue your dream is somewhere out there in the future, or that you have to have everything aligned to take the first step, this episode is for you, my darling.
The subconscious story we hold onto that things need to be perfect, or at least some specific way before we can make changes is not only a lie, but you’re also putting your joy in the backseat while waiting for the proverbial stars to align… and that perfect time is never going to fall into your lap.
Does your brain love to tell you to wait? To do that thing you dream of until your ducks are all in a tidy row, until the time is right, until the stars are perfectly aligned?
Whether you defer your dreams for that most perfect moment, struggling to take action towards your goals, or whether you’re more like me and have spent a lifetime thinking there is a more perfect way to do things than the way you’re currently doing them, always striving and pushing to do it all according to the impossible, unachievable perfectionist thought fantasies in your mind, I have news for you, my darling. The time for your dreams is now. Curious? Keep listening, it’s going to be a good one.
You’re listening to Feminist Wellness, the only podcast that combines functional medicine, life coaching, and feminism to teach smart women how to reclaim their power and restore their health! Here’s your host, Nurse Practitioner, Functional Medicine Expert, Herbalist and Life Coach, Victoria Albina.
Hello, hello my love. I hope this finds you doing so well. It’s a new year, 2021. I’m excited to see how this one unfolds. We’ll see. Last week’s podcast about the power of shifting our thoughts away from limiting fear-based story, “I can’t do it because I haven’t done it before,” to, “Well, I just haven’t done it yet,” got me thinking about the other barriers we so often put between ourselves and living a more intentional life, which we talked about way back in episode 84.
Then this internal story, this particular flavor of procrastination that the perfectionist mind loves to roll around in is one of the many reasons that traditional New Year’s resolutions just don’t work because if we aren’t managing our minds about our goals, which means getting clear about the thoughts that we’re thinking, the feelings they create in our bodies, and the actions we take, then we think that just writing it all down on paper is going to lead to getting done, and that’s just not how humans work, my darling, because science.
This is the power of coaching, to help you to see your own thinking. This programming in our mind that says, “I can’t do it because,” “I can’t do it until…” those perfectionist thoughts that at one point may have served to keep you safe in your life, but no longer serve you now.
And those thoughts can often sound like the story that things need to be perfect, or at least some specific way before we can make change, or even take the first step. “I’ll get to work once my desk looks perfect,” that perfectionist voice says within you. “I’ll invest in myself and do thought work when things calm down at work or at home. I’ll divorce him once the kids are in college. I’ll start my business when I feel confident in myself. I’ll start working out once I have the perfect home gym set up. I’ll have the baby when we’re at a better place in our careers. I’ll work on my people-pleasing habits once I break up with that dude. I’ll be happy when I lose those last 10 pounds. And finally, if I can’t do it perfectly, why bother even trying?”
And the truth is you’re going to be waiting a really long time if you’re waiting for that most perfect time, setting, conditions, circumstances to magically come about. If you’re putting your goals or your joy in the backseat while you wait for the proverbial stars to align, like a really long time.
Sometimes the perfect opportunity drops into our laps and that’s fantastic, but more often, we get to both get right with the facts of what’s in front of us and to then align our beliefs, our thoughts, and our feelings with the actions we want to take consistently to create the results we want in our lives.
And that makes sense when you think about the science. Throughout our lives, all our programming, all our conditioning, all of our survival mechanisms create neural grooves. It’s like the groove in a record. You put the needle down and it’ll go to the path of least resistance and it’ll play the same song over and over and over again because it’s the song the record knows how to play.
So too with our brains, whatever you’ve thought and thought and thought, particularly if it’s aligned with safety in some part of your brain, that’s where your mind is going to go. And so it’s really challenging, nay, impossible to change your actions without looking at the thoughts that are leading to them.
And because your perfectionist mind will continue to spin those thought fantasy records that some more perfect time is on the eventual horizon, that will block you from seeing that the perfect time to get started is actually now.
Because getting started is the first step and getting started is not getting the thing to done. And that’s the other thought process that keeps us from our dreams. Thinking we need to know what the outcome will be before we even get started.
I believe that knowing that would be breaking several laws of physics, my beauty, for you would have to be in two places at once, knowing both where you are in this moment and where you’ll be when you meet your goal. And yet, we think we need to have every detail of the plan figured out, done and dusted and ready, but it’s just not possible or real. And that fantasy has stopped us from getting started in the first place.
Furthermore, thinking you need to plan every step is both a set up for giving up when things don’t go exactly as planned, and it also leaves out half the joy of creation, which is learning, spontaneity, shifting as circumstances shift while holding tight to your thoughts, your feelings, your vision, and your belief. Your belief in yourself. Your worthiness of change, of growth, of a new life, and your capacity to create it for yourself.
All the stories that you need to be perfect, that the setting and circumstance need to be perfect for you to move to a new city, to start your business, to invest in taking a course that could change your life, or to ask for and propose changes in your marriage.
These are all stories that will tell you that you need to be different. You need to be some better version of you before you can make change, and all of that’s also just not true or real. Because right now, you, yes you, are the most perfect expression of you.
And you get to, yes, of course, take a real look at what you’re doing, your thoughts, your feelings, and actions that are blocking you from making change and you also get to do all of that from a place of deep and wild self-love and acceptance so that you can do what’s next for your growth.
Thinking you need to change, waiting and wanting to change but not making change will get you nowhere, my sweet friend. And one of the things that keeps us from making change is the fact that change is quite uncomfortable.
And it behooves us to remember as one of my teachers, Brooke Castillo says, “Discomfort is the currency of your dreams.” And you get to decide if you’re done waiting for perfection and you’re ready to make change now, because inevitably, you will feel discomfort if you do it now or if you wait and feel the discomfort of not doing it now.
And then the discomfort of actually doing it later. The discomfort is the same invariably. You just get to lump extra discomfort on it or not. You will try and fail and learn and grow and you will feel disappointed, upset, and worried if you do it now or wait and compound all those feelings by worrying about not doing it, feeling disappointment in yourself by putting it off, or worry about whether you ever can or will do it while you wait and wait for the perfect set of circumstances that you think will magically allow you to get started.
So my darling, you literally just get to choose. One of the things you’re choosing is whether you want to be in the suffering of wanting, longing, wishing, desiring a different life for yourself, or the suffering of trying and failing, trying and succeeding, trying and failing again until you succeed again.
And what’s also key here is to remember that suffering is inevitable and joy also is. You can and will always have them both, but putting off a decision to change your life, try that scary new thing, invest in yourself will not lead you to joy, will never shift that balance, will never make the day you decide to say yes to your growth, your joy, your passion, your dreams any easier, until saying yes to you becomes your norm.
Back, my nerds, to those neural grooves. You really can rewrite these stories. Just because this is the groove you’ve been in, the procrastinate, the put it off, the wait until it’s perfect, you can rewrite it. You can make saying yes to you and what you want, the neural groove your brain is used to. It just takes saying it once to get you started.
So there are, generally speaking, two main groups of people who get into this perfectionist, procrastinating waiting game. Those that feel stuck. They know what they want or their minds feel a mess. They want 75 things and don’t know which one is most perfect. But if they do know what they want, have that goal in mind, they don’t take action because they subconscious fear that if they take action and fail, their worst thoughts and worst fears about how lousy and unworthy and unlovable they are will all be brought to the surface.
And then they’ll beat themselves up for even trying, even beginning to believe in themselves. They may cover up that deep internal fear with stories like what will other people think of me if I fail, while really, they fear their own inner meanness.
And the second group and this is the one I historically have been in and note that language. I’m not saying this is who I am. This is a way I have historically thought and am continuously in the process of training my brain out of. So this second group is those that overwork themselves to burnout time and again.
Stuck limping along in the hamster wheel of attempting to prove our worth by doing and doing, who think there is some right way to do everything. So we keep striving, ever attempting to get to there, not really pausing to ask where there is.
And for us overdoers, this can look like waiting and waiting for the perfect circumstances in which to pause, to stop driving so hard. Once I get that promotion, I’ll finally take a lunch break, once I finish writing the book, I’ll finally take a vacation, or maybe even the weekend off.
For those who feel stuck and feel like they can’t take the first step, I will ask you, what would it feel like to make peace with yourself? To make a promise to yourself, make it a pinky promise if you’d like, that you will not be mean to you. A promise that you will stop beating yourself up. My beauty, you can put the boxing gloves down.
Furthermore, how will you learn what’s possible if you don’t take action now instead of waiting for that perfect circumstance that may never come? What would it look like to just begin? For those who tend to overwork and strive and push themselves to the edge and beyond, if you don’t put aside your perfectionist thinking that tells you there is a right way to do it, you’ll never learn what the right way is for you.
And that last point is vital for both groups of thinkers. How will you ever learn what perfect looks like for you if you don’t try? If you don’t shift your habitual thinking and open your heart up to see what your own special version of perfect can look like, or your own version of good enough.
Without doing that, my goodness, wouldn’t we all just be continuing to roll around in attempting to make other people happy? Attempting to please others by living a life that we think and hope and dream and wish will please them?
That career your parents always wanted for you, the marriage and the house with the white picket fence that you were conditioned to desire, won’t we keep striving towards that if we don’t ask ourselves what our own version of a happy life, a life that is within our own values, our own integrity looks like?
And when you stop and you pause and you begin to ask yourself, what do I want for my life? What would it being perfect look like? When you start to do that through that process, you can learn to write your own rules, to step into your own understanding of what you’re capable of and what is perfect enough to call forward movement.
Pro tip here, all movement forward is beautiful movement forward and it’s all perfect and worthy enough, truly. As long as your brain is telling you that you don’t know how to do it, that there’s some perfect way out there that you just don’t know and have to learn, there’s some perfect time, you’ll stay stuck in self-doubt, in questioning yourself. Stuck in the mire of it all.
So today, in this beautiful new year full of so much hope and possibility, I’ll invite you to see where your thoughts that you have to have it all figured out, have to wait for the right time, you have to wait to make your dreams come true, until you know how to do it perfectly are all just stories that do not serve you.
My love, it’s as though as time in this life was right for making massive life change. And I guess the flip side of that is all the time is right time for massive life change. Because all those stories that block you from just getting started today, that keep you from putting one foot in front of the other and setting the first little boundary, meditating for 10 breaths, writing down your thought work for five minutes, exercising for 10, celebrating yourself for a job well done, all those stories are just not true.
And you have the power to shift your conditioning, to shift your programming, to change the record, change the cassette tape, and stop believing them. And to believe that your future is yours, for future you, present you, for generations to come, starting now.
Let’s do what we do. Put a little hand on your heart, nice breath in and out. Allow yourself to see the future you desire, to take that first step towards it. Get started, my love. Future you needs you too and you are so worthy of it all.
My sweetness, if this show is resonating for you, if you’re loving what you’re hearing and want more support, to learn how to see the thought errors in your own mind, to see those lousy records and the self-destructive, self-doubting stories they’re spinning, to learn how to put thought work into action for your life, you’re going to want to join me.
I bring all the science of somatics, cognitive behavioral modalities, polyvagal theory and nervous system work, together with thought work and a hearty dose of witchy woo and a whole boatload of fun, love, and hilarity. I think I’m pretty funny. We have a good time.
Along with quality coaching, daily contact with a beautiful and amazing community of likeminded humans. My six-month program, The Feminist Wellness Guide to Overcoming Codependency is exactly what you’re looking for.
There are just a few spots left in the upcoming group, so take a moment to apply now. Head on over to victoriaalbina.com/masterclass. Fill out the short form there and my team will be in touch to get you on a call with me. So looking forward to meeting you and to continuing this healing journey together.
Alright my loves, breath in, breath out. Remember, you are safe, you are held, you are loved. Be well. I’ll talk to you soon.
If you’ve been enjoying the show and learning a ton, it’s time to apply it with my expert guidance so you can live life with intention, without the anxiety, overwhelm, and resentment, so you can get unstuck. You’re not going to want to miss the opportunity to join my exclusive intimate group coaching program, so head on over to victoriaalbina.com/masterclass to grab your seat now. See you there. It’s going to be a good one.