I’m always amazed by my kids’ ability to take my personality traits and mirror them back to me.
Frustratingly, it becomes so much harder to pull them up on behaviour they got from their Mama and it often gives me much greater awareness of how much hard work I must have been as a kid.
Whether it’s my competitiveness, my desire to do things my own way or my inherent need to question anything and everything that’s put to me (read – “stubbornness”), when I see the same characteristics in my children, everything changes. Not only do I become more aware of these behaviours in myself, but I’m also suddenly forced to consider where these behaviours work for me and where they might limit me.
Let’s take it back a step.
In preparation for school and as a basic introduction to writing, my eldest son’s pre-school encourages all the kids to write their name on the sign in sheet once they arrive.
My little fellow hates this part of the morning. Why? Because just like his mum, if he can’t get something right, he doesn’t want to do it. In short, he’s a perfectionist.
Being a normal four year old, his letters don’t quite look like the printed letters on the sheet in front of him. While this is a natural process for a kid learning how to write, he finds it ridiculously frustrating.
The fact that his wobbly letters don’t look exactly like they ‘should’ means that he doesn’t even want to try. He doesn’t want to practice. He doesn’t want to be reminded of what he’s not great at and only wants to do the things that come naturally.
Hmmm – sounds like someone I know. Perhaps a little too well.
So every day as I watch him resist this task and gently remind him that no one gets it right the first time, I start to think about whether I should be taking my own advice.
How many times have I knocked something back because I was out of my depth the first time? How many times have I turned away an opportunity because I didn’t think I’d be able to it well enough?
Probably way more times than I even realise.
Maybe, just maybe, my own perfectionist ways are in the way of me achieving something new and very exciting.
For so many of us, the only thing standing between where we are and where we want to be is a little bit of learning. Yes, that learning can be uncomfortable, but as we come to master that new skill, our comfort zone grows. Suddenly, what was scary is now old hat and we can find bigger and greater things to be challenged by.
So here is my public affirmation to pull myself up when I turn something away because it’s too scary or new. Rather than resist, I’ll consider what there is to gain and that the only thing standing in my way is a little bit of practice and experience. Both of which are easy enough to get.
I’d love to know what you think – are you ever challenged to second guess behaviours you took for granted after seeing them displayed in your kids? Are you a perfectionist like me and willing to allow good enough to be good enough while you navigate the uncomfortable learning phase?
Send me an email and share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you.
Be Brave, Live Fierce
Return to our Blog page…