Are your Bad Habits Sabotaging your Business? Here’s the Solution.
This is an altered version of a post I wrote for Commit Happiness.nl.
Procrastination, perfectionism, insecurity, jealousy, indecisiveness… It are just a few items on the long list of habits that can get in the way of you and your business goals. In this post I will teach you how you can heal those habits by visualizing them as a monster and befriending them.
Meet your Monsters
I’ll introduce you to one of my monsters: the Dragon of Perfection. He is terribly annoying. Whenever I start working on something, the Dragon of Perfection wants me to do it flawless. If I can’t do that, I better not do it at all. Every time I finish a project that’s done ‘pretty well’ but not perfect, he’s present to tell me I should have done better.
The issue with me and the Dragon of Perfection, is that I used to be very sensitive to his opinion. And actually it used to be even worse: without noticing, I automatically assumed he’s right and I’m not. So every time he was bothering me with his complains, I would feel guilty and unhappy with my results. Though actually… I had handled that project pretty well.
The first step to changing your relationship patterns with your monsters is getting to know them, preferably one at a time. Try to visualize your bad habit as a real monster, with a name and personality. Draw them or find a picture of them on the Internet. The more you perceive them as a real being, the easier it will be to change your relationship.
Just by giving your habit or characteristic a name, you scare them a little. Did you know that all monsters are afraid of attention? The reason that they operate stealthy in the dark, is so you can’t see… that actually they’re pretty darn cute.
Saying hi to your monster
So there he is, my Dragon of Perfection. What to do? How do I get rid of my perfectionism? I only have to wait until my monster appears in my life again. Every time I notice I’m being bothered by perfectionism, I say to myself: ‘Ah, so here you are again. Hello little Dragon.’
Boom! All spotlights are fixed on the Dragon of Perfection, who had hoped to bite me without getting noticed. Because I am now aware of his presence, I can consciously choose not to listen to what he wants me to do. I can deliberately choose to be content with my not-yet-perfect project, although at the same time I will still hear the Dragon of Perfection screaming that it’s not good enough – and feel bad because of that. But I just welcome him and his shouting, while I close my project and move on to the next thing on my list.
Be aware that you don’t judge your monster or try to kill it: that will only make them run off and hide in the dark again, where you have no control over them. Just say a friendly hi, again and again and again. Over time, they will be like a tamed pet that just wants to cuddle.
Get to know his friends
Noticing your monster comes with more benefits. Firstly, you get to know his partners in crime. My Dragon of Perfection often meets up with my Dragon of Insecurity.
While the first one is telling everyone how perfect it should be done, the Dragon of Insecurity starts crying. ‘But I can’t do that,’ he says. ‘I don’t believe in myself.’ When these two monsters meet, it is inevitable that a third one appears: the Dragon of Paralysis.
He plumps down and says: ‘I have to do it perfect. But I can’t do it. You know what… I’ll just do nothing.’ And procrastination is born.
Discover the bright side
The second benefit of getting to know your monster is that you can start to see his advantages. My Dragon of Perfection fuels my ambition. He makes sure I want to be the best version of myself and that I try to accomplish things in life. It is because of him that I’m not spending all my days in my bed.
Forgive your monster
But the very best thing about befriending your monster is that you can forgive them. Over time you will start to see that their intentions actually aren’t bad. How weird it may seem right know, you monster isn’t evil but actually wants to help you. He wants you to be happy… he only doesn’t know that his way of trying to make that happen, isn’t very effective. (To say the least.)
My Dragon of Perfection wants me to make the best work ever, just so I can be proud and successful. An innocent dream, but accidentally with a not-so-innocent consequence.
And then you start to look at your monster from a different perspective. This creature that you used to look at with despair, fear and judgements… is now an innocent, cute little monster. Afraid of your spotlights, he behaves better. And if he tries to take over your behaviour, you can look at him (and thus yourself!) with compassion – and then deliberately choose the behaviour that suits you the most.
Make a difference in YOUR biz!
- Pick one habit that’s bothering you.
- Visualize this habit as a monster, with as much detail as possible.
- Gently say hi to your monsters every time you notice him. (This step will take some time before you notice a change.)
- Can you think of monsters that work together with this one? How do they trigger each other?
- What value does your monster add to your life?
- Look at your monster with compassion, and forgive him.