Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The 3 P's, or in my case the 4 P's

So I haven't written in a while. I wish I could say that it's because I've been so busy being productive that, gasp! I couldn't bear to tear myself away long enough to blog. But that would be a big, fat lie. A major fib. A massive manipulation of the truth.

In fact, I've been in bed, literally hiding under the covers. My use of the word literally is indeed accurate here, to which my dear friend Carrie (who lives with me) can attest. At one point she came into my room and found me wearing my hoodie, with the hood up and completely under the covers. Not a pretty picture. 

The other day I learned about the three P's. They are Perfection, Procrastination and Paralysis. They feed into each other, lead to one another and in the end, produce the cumulative effect of me, hiding under the covers. When you strive for perfection...ok let's be honest here...when I strive for perfection I often find myself in said under-cover mode. My desire for perfection is a direct off-shoot of the ever present Fear of Failure. Now, my therapist has told me that there is no such thing as failure - only a refocusing of efforts towards what can be improved. I believe her. In a concrete, literal manner, I know that she's right, but on an emotional, fear-based, irrational level I'm convinced that failure is alive and well and that the best way to avoid it is simple - be perfect. Now I could get into all the reasons why I think like this, but then this would be a therapy diary and not a blog. The long and short of it is that I have control issues, as do many of my close, A-type personality friends. For me, failing at something is akin to losing control, and that cannot and will not happen! At least, that's what part of me feels. 

The other part of me, the new part, the part of me that jumps into the pool instead of slowly creeping in - that part knows that there is no such thing as failure, that perfection is impossible (wow, that was hard to type) and that the only true way to succeed is to try. To start. To not expect that it will all come together, perfectly and all at the same time. 

For the last few days a battle between paralysis and productivity has been waging,  inside my home. It was trench warfare - with the two main strongholds being my office and under the covers of my bed. There was some neutral territory, namely the dining room table where I was working on my puzzle. (Hence the 4 P's - perfection, procrastination, puzzles and paralysis). For most of the weekend paralysis was winning. I most definitely spent more time hiding in bed than I did being productive in my office. Today I woke up feeling better, not perfect because that's not possible, but better. As of today, the tide has turned in favor of productivity. I did some work that I'd been trying to get to for about a week now and I discovered some positive things. 

First of all, the brand platform that I put together with the help of Pyramid Communications in Seattle, way back in 2008, still seems pretty valid. I thought I was going to have to scratch most of it, but looks like even back then I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do. Secondly, I've admitted that I can't do this alone and have started reaching out to people who can educate me on the current state of the market I'm trying enter into, or dominate mercilessly, whichever comes first. Lastly, I finally read all the information that I printed out last week about writing business plans. All small steps, but for someone who spent the last couple of days hiding in a fort made of 600 thread count sheets and down-filled comforter goodness, I'd say it's a good start!

PS: I did finally finish this insane 1000 piece puzzle - if anyone would like to take a crack at it, I'd be more than happy to send it to you.


  1. I just read a book you might like -- It's called ReWork -- by the folks who made Basecamp.

  2. A word on your 3 p’s.

    Perfection .. in the pursuit of it one has to first define it. Perfection. Is it definable? I think not. Does it exist? I think not. I agree with you friend that it is a goal manufactured by our fears.. fear of rejection, fear of failure. And why the two extremes .. perfection or failure? Unfortunate that perfection becomes a cultural paradigm for those who are surrounded by super consciousness people. In recognizing the quest of perfection a lonely, unhealthy, exhausting and hopeless endeavor, I replace perfection with the desire for excellence. In defense of your personal conviction to do all things well, I say you are pursuing excellence. There is no motivation more noble. It is characterized by your respect for quality and is a mark of your maturity. Therefore I support your chase for excellence. Let your devotion and diligence for excellence propel you to great happiness.

    Procrastination I say to myself, I say to you .. don’t waste time. Time slips. Days pass. Years fade .. and life ends. Decide that you are capable of doing anything you want and start working toward it now! I believe in you. I’m your biggest fan.

    Paralysis ..Thoughts control our behavior. Negative thoughts, your self critic, undermine your self-confidence, lower your self-esteem, demoralize and even paralyze you. Positive thoughts can make you more relaxed, centered and alert. Transform your inner critic in to your inner coach. Silence your thoughts of self doubt and limitation and replace them with thoughts of unlimited possibility. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.