I'm a Winner When I Lose - Dismantling the Shackle of Perfectionism
I don't want to remember all the lost opportunties in my life to explore, play, and engage in life just because I was terrified that I would never measure up to the stratospheric expectations that I had of myself. What a royal waste! Thank God I have finally seen the light...
Date: 11/27/2007 9:26:12 PM ( 14 y ) ... viewed 1571 times
I have been consciously aware of how uptight I can be and have been really making a concerted effort to lighten up and not take myself so darn seriously.
Two recent Toastmaster experiences have really helped me with this. The first one happened a few weeks ago during our Table Topics practice. Table Topics is where one is presented with a random topic (that you pick out of a hat) and then you have one minute to stand up and talk about the topic you have been given. This is to help us develop our impromptu speaking skills. The theme that night was "Expressions in English" and the one I randomly chose was "The grass is always greener on the other side". I stood up and began talking as if I had been given a different phrase altogether. My mind had drawn a complete blank but I only realized it about half-way into my speech. I felt myself really blush but then I just made everyone laugh by poking fun at myself. I couldn't believe how liberated I felt at being able to accept my screw up and even laugh at myself.
The second incident happened last week when I was a guest at another Toastmasters club, also during Table Topics, but this time the format had changed slightly. There were two teams assembled and the exercise was modelled after the game show DEAL OR NO DEAL. Behind each envelope was a phrase that we had to relate to our Toastmasters experience and we had one minute to speak. Anyone speaking less than 30 seconds or more than 60 seconds would be disqualified and points would be deducted from their group's overall score. As luck would have it, the phrase I chose was totally foreign to me and I really struggled to not only understand it but also relate it to my TM experiences. I lost track of time and went over my designated 60-second time constraint so my gaffe cost my team a whopping 500 points (my team lost) but even while blushing and feeling embarrassed and ashamed, I decided to inject humor into the situation. A previous contestant had been given the phrase "Failure is not when you fall down but when you refuse to get up again" or something to that effect. So I boldly repeated this phrase again to this audience of Toastmasters I had never met before and stood up proud and tall, as if to say "here I am getting up again!" Everyone, including myself, had a good laugh.
I returned home that evening feeling like a million dollars, having realized that I'm more of a winner when I lose than when I win, because at least I am engaging in life vs. hiding in the shadows for fear of being less than perfect. When I think of all the ways I refused to engage in and embrace my life in the past due to wanting to be or do something to perfection, I cringe. I will never be able to recapture those moments, will I? On second thought, how about I refuse to think about all that? Those days are over and done with - water under the bridge, thank God!
Onward and upward...
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