I’ve noticed a pattern among my clients who have a history of participating in what I call “aesthetic athletics”. These are activities such as ice skating, equestrian dressage, ballet and gymnastics where mastery and success are evaluated using a subjective assessment of how well the athlete’s performance meets standards of beauty established for the sport. A “perfect” performance is the goal. I’ve noticed that these clients have very loud inner critics – that is, their inner voices negatively judge and demean them.
I am a recovering perfectionist. I have been a perfectionist my whole life. Even as a very young child, I actually enjoyed tidying and organizing my room (and sometimes the rest of the house!) and wanted everything to be just-so. I have always wanted to be the best I could be at whatever I undertook –school, ballet, being a wife, cooking, or professional endeavors. What I do is only good enough when it meets my expectations.
In my series of "blarticles", The Good the Bad and the Coachable, I will discuss the upside and downside of some of the issues my clients have raised as topics for their coaching. I'll also give you a few practical strategies for addressing these issues on your own as well as some options for further reading.