How The Quest For Perfection Is Killing Your Chances of Progress

This one is important.

But it’s subtle, so if I say it to you straight out, it loses its impact.

It will take you 3 minutes to read this. Make the time.

I mean sure, you could flick through this blog like you do most others, but if you’re an athlete or a coach, this is a message you need to hear in its entirety.

When we are in the semi-artificial world of social media, we can flick past a phrase like the one which is coming at the bottom of this post, and think ‘yeah, I get that’ without internalising it.

You may even double tap that mofo. Yet you are no closer to changing anything about your mindset or your outcome.

The fact I’m highlighting this on social media [this post was originally written for Facebook] is pretty ironic too. Because the issue partially stems from these platforms.

As we know by now, when we scroll through our newsfeeds and inboxes, we are inundated with not only PRs, but an entirely unrealistic view of how training goes down.

But the problem isn’t only limited to your online life. We look at the athletes by the side of us in the box and selectively see their highlight reel too.

It’s not just on social media where everyone else’s highlight real exists, it’s internally too.

Athletes watch as the better athletes pull away from them, their rivals gain ground, and the up and comers nail PR after PR in the inevitable overtake.

Competitors just wish their hard work would start FINALLY paying off.

And coaches…

…coaches are more than happy to recognise progress in the athletes and members they train, yet long for a stable financial month.

Coaches wish they could finally get their shit together and be the example they know they should be.

Coaches fight to keep mentally stable and have days where they just want to jack it all in; and why, WHY can’t they catch a fucking break?!

We are caught up in this rat race of competition to such a degree that anything short of perfection is failure to us.

And we spend our time recalling all the ways that we haven’t been successful. We count our scars.

We imagine the worst possible scenarios as we lie in bed, struggling to sleep, despite being exhausted.

We fill our minds with all the reasons we can’t, instead of seeing the myriad ways we CAN.

This needs to stop.

Your mind WILL selectively see threats and potential failure points and highlight them, it's just a evolutionary hangover.

But seeing that keeps you stuck and makes you feel shit.

And the answer comes in the three words I promised you at the top of this post:

Progress. Over. Perfection.

I’m sure you’ve seen those words before, glossed over them and thought ‘oh, that’s nice’.

You intellectually understand those three words are important. You may even tell others those exact words, or variations of them (coaches, does that sound familiar?).

But do you really live by them?

When you choose to live by them and when you set aside the smallest amount of time to integrate the idea, your whole fucking worldview shifts.

When you truly, entirely and deeply appreciate progress, while shunning perfection for the impossible sham that it is, the constant struggle ceases.

And guess what; you begin to achieve on a scale you never believed possible.

I thought about including some quotes from the athletes, coaches, and future coaches who are in the Mindset Rx’d Coaching Certification to emphasise the power of this idea, but I think that could sacrifice the sincerity of this message.

(Even if I do think you should be on the next Coaching Cert I run ;) )

Instead I’m going to end this with a request. Next time you get frustrated because things aren’t how they should be, deliberately recognise where you are making progress.

It’s cliched for a reason - it works.

Progress Over Perfection, bitches.

Tom FoxleyComment