Unmasking Perfectionism

Watching videos on decluttering and Marie Kondo recently, I came across a video by Safiya Nygaard that described the “80/80” rule. She keeps her house organized 80% of the time so that it’s just good enough. And that idea wins the day. And that includes getting rid of perfectionism.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life 

High achievers are often perfectionists

Are you a high achiever? I wrote about this type of strength, which may also describe you: What’s Your Best Social Media Super Power? Also: it’s possible to be a high achiever but not a perfectionist. Naturally, you can be a bit of both. The difference between them, though, is that high achievers are usually supportive of other people. And focusing on other people can help you steer away from perfectionism.

Perfectionism is unrealistic

If life looks like an endless report card, you might like this article from Psychology Today ( I love that right at the top there’s a link so you can find a therapist lol!) Do you agree with perfectionism being fear-based? I certainly do, having come from a family which glorified perfectionism. However, if you’re a perfectionist, chances are that you’re not as well liked as you could be. Think about it. When you hear the word perfectionist, does someone you know (and don’t like much) come to mind? Recently we were on a vacation at an AirBnb. The place was immaculate, but there were rules posted everywhere. Keep this window open when you leave. Pull back the covers on the beds if the sheets have been slept in. And there was the Do not touch the blue button! which of course made everyone want to touch the blue button!

Perfectionism leads to stress

If you’re stressed out trying to be perfect, maybe it’s time to drop it for awhile. One thing the pandemic taught me is that I don’t have to do everything. In fact, most people won’t even notice if I don’t do everything. Or if a couple of things drop off my to-do list. Or if my to-do list gets dropped altogether! In fact, taking a vacation or a long siesta seem like better ideas that being a perfectionist.

 

 

 

Social Media and the Art of Reinvention

Recently I was watching a video by a New York City artist, Rajiv Surendra. You may have seen Rajiv in his role in Mean Girls, but it turns out that Rajiv has so many other skills. If you’re thinking of branding or rebranding yourself, you definitely have to watch the YouTube video of his home tour. Google Tour Rajiv Surendra’s NYC Apartment Filled With Handmade Decor to experience it. Here are some of my takeaways and thoughts.

Focus on What You Love

Sure, everybody says focus on what you love. And those are easy words to say. But when you see those words in action they mean so much more. Rajiv Surendra has taken his focus to another level. I suspect that he doesn’t ever binge watch Netflix or own a television. But he does share his thoughts on social media–follow Rajiv Surendra on Instagram to see some of his amazing artwork.

Sometimes a Hobby Becomes a Profession

Maybe this has happened to you, too. Maybe you’ve been redoing chalkboards of major NYC restaurants and decided to turn that into a venture. Ok, I’m kidding, but you know what I mean! What if you went deeper into something you truly loved, so deep that time stopped–for a time–and you realized you were doing what you were meant to do your entire life? It could happen!

Curate Your Existence

If you thought someone was going to examine the details of your life and tour your apartment, would you live differently? Probably. Some people have been doing this on Instagram, curating what they see, what they eat, and how they live. If you haven’t already looked at friend Terri Nakamura’s Instagram, check out what she’s doing over there because it’s fascinating. Hint: Terri is using Instagram as a blogging platform–and writing a book about it!

Worship Marie Kondo Like a Goddess

Another what if: What if you gave away everything that didn’t bring you joy? How would your life and your work look? As Rajiv says he worships Marie Kondo and has taken Marie Kondo’s minimalism to another level so that all his clothes (which are gorgeous and meaningful) all fit into one tiny closet. Another tiny closet fits all his art supplies, including chalk, paint, and easels. If you love Marie Kondo, you might like organizing your social media so you can have a better life.

Let Joy Guide You

Could there be anyone more self-actualized than Rajiv? I don’t think so. And he seems so full of joy. What if joy and having fun could lead you to your life’s work? Recently I wrote about playing more and here it is if you missed it: When You Play More Your Creativity Blooms. Many of us have found joy, even amidst the pandemic. We’ve all been baking banana bread, meeting neighbors, and upgrading our homes.

What to Do If You’re Way Too Busy

You’re always running around, fixing this, changing that, keeping everything together. But when does too busy become toxic? One thing I’ve learned from the Pandemic is that I don’t have to get everything done. The earth will continue spinning on its axis, and everything will be pretty much the same the next day. However, if you’re really stuck, here are a few ideas.

Delegate!

Get some of those to-do items off that list by hiring someone else to do them. Or get a friend to do them in exchange for a chocolate cake, which might be your favorite thing to bake. However you do it, get someone else to help. You don’t have to do everything, even if there’s a YouTube video that shows you how. You might like 10 Best Ways to Manage Time on Social Media.

Just say no

Is there anything you could refuse to do? Just take a big black marker and cross it off your list altogether? I’m betting there is. So if you’re doing something out of obligation, stop it! No more silly baby showers for people you barely know.

Procrastinate

Sometimes if you wait long enough to do something, someone else will take care of it for you. I’m thinking of my one friend who doesn’t take in her recycling bins and her neighbors do it for her. She’s probably not doing it on purpose, but any way, that’s how it is. By the way, if you’re trying to avoid something, you might like Seven Myths about Procrastination. And also: managed delay does sound a lot cooler than procrastination, doesn’t it?

Be Lazy

This might sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes you just need to be lazy. Stay in bed a little longer, spend more time dawdling, and use your cat as a mentor. What does your cat do when there’s too much going on? He takes a nap! And what does your cat do to recover from the stress of a nap? Takes another nap! You get the idea.

Stop saying you’re too busy

You know what? You’re not too busy. We’ve all been glorifying the Cult of Busy(tm) to the point where it’s become a mantra we all say. You’ve got time to watch 10 million episodes of Grey’s Anatomy! Oh, wait. That’s me. Anyway, none of us are too busy. We just choose to focus on that. As Kimberly Roush says in Are You Too Busy to Be Less Busy? on Forbes “Busy has become a way of life.”


Busy Much?

If you love saying you’re too busy, maybe practice saying you’re not busy. Watch the strange looks your friends give you. And listen to what they say. Perhaps their next question will be Are you retired? One day you’ll be able to say yes!

What’s Your Best Social Media Super Power?

Perhaps you can’t kill zombies or do backflips like Simone Biles, but you can probably do something that others can’t do. Maybe you’re super friendly. Maybe you’re good at research. Or maybe you love having conversations with strangers. Have you ever considered focusing on your strengths, rather than building up your weaknesses? You might like this article: How to work your wonderful strengths, forget your weaknesses.

Do you know what your super powers are?

If not, there are many online quizzes you can take. For instance, one really common one is Strengths Finder 2.0. I really like the Ideas for Action in the Strengths Finder book. I’m an “achiever,” so I need to build in celebration and recognition into my life. Because simply achieving all the time makes Jack a dull boy. Or Carol a dull girl. Another is the Myers-Briggs personality test, which divides people into 16 personality types. Of course, neither the Strengths Finder nor the Myers-Briggs personality test is the end-all for knowing about yourself. You may need to journal or seek some other method to find the real you and your super powers.

Don’t hide your super powers

As Bill Garland says in his article Why the Soft Skills Are HardOur soft skills reveal who we truly are, how we view the world and our place in it.” If your super power happens to be a soft skill, all the more reason to share it with the world. You may think a soft skill is a liability, but it’s usually a super power! And if you use soft skills on social media, your power quadruples (according to a statistic that I just made up). After all, you need to be social, which is a soft skill as well as a super power.

Super powers make you stand apart

Once you know what your strengths are, you can figure out how to use those strengths. For instance, if your strength is connectedness, you know deep in your soul that everything happens for a reason. And you may be able to help others see what their reasons for connecting are, too. People with this super power can assist people to connect with other people or groups.

Lead with your super powers

If you can bring people to your environment, you’ll be more comfortable. If you excel at face-to-face meetings, that means meeting in real life. If you have a great phone voice, you’ll be more comfortable on a call or perhaps on a Zoom call.

Why the Mushy In-Between Silicon Valley Startups Matter

This morning I was reading Shira Ovide’s article about Silicon Valley’s Meh Middle and nodding my head vigorously. Having been a survivor of some of those very meh startups, I understand how often they’re overlooked. Not everyone is a superstar. And not everyone fails miserably, no matter how often people tell us to Fail Forward. A lot of startups, well, they’re right in the middle. And they tend to be forgotten.

Failure and the Meh Middle

Sometimes I think of the meh middle as large airliners that float down slowly. They don’t go down in flames in a Grey’s Anatomy-styled dramatic crash. Neither do they land perfectly. Some startups might land slightly off the runway and slide into the water. And we never hear from them again. We might hear about them when they’re young companies, but later? Nothing. Nada. Zip. By the way, you might like this article about failure: Is Failure Mandatory on the Road to Success?

Where do the Meh Middle companies go?

Those meh middle companies do not go gentle into that good night as Dylan Thomas said. It’s more like they fade away. Their inventory is sold one day and like an old, sad Blockbuster store, they turn into a place that sells Bundt cakes. Maybe there are a couple of employees in the back, working to clean the place up. Maybe there’s just a guy with a shopping cart taking the used laptops out to the trunk of his SUV, hoping to sell them on eBay. And make a few bucks.

Nobody writes about the Meh Middle guys

Can you imagine a movie or novel about the meh middle guys? It would be like one of those performance art pieces where you watch someone sleep for eight hours. Chris Burden and Andy Warhol both actually did that, but that’s a story for another day. I’m not sure that with social media, people have the capacity to watch someone sleep for very long. We can’t stand to be bored for very long, can we? Even ten minutes of watching would be too much! Personally, I’m a big fan of learning from failure. You might like What Happens When You Focus on Failure and Creativity?

Not minnows, but not whales

As Shira Ovide says these meh middlers are not minnows. But they’re not whales either. They’re sort of like those child actors that you remember every once in a while in the shower. But where are they now? Luckily we have Google to help us remember and unearth photos of what they’ve been doing. We may not always have an accurate record of the companies that slide into oblivion, however. Is it too painful to focus on the startups that are neither dramatic successes or crazy failures?

Why should we care?

Like the dramatic failures, there’s gold to discover in the Meh Middle. If we forget what happened, we could repeat history. Because there were moments where something wonderful and good could have happened. And sometimes those in-betweeners turn things around and become glowing successes. Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to have a record of those companies, what went wrong, and what could have been?

Ten Quick and Easy Content Ideas for Social Media

So your startup is just ramping up and you are about to start the social media accounts. You have the graphics for the headers done, and have the bios written. What’s next, you might ask? What will you post on social media? Will you say “This is my first tweet.” and leave it at that? Here are some ideas that could help!

Behind the Scenes with the Team

A photo of the whole team with a short caption could be an easy way to start. Describe the office setting and who’s usually there. Maybe explain what each person does, too, but keep it short.

Industry News

What’s interesting and in the news for people who might follow your brand on social media? If your industry news is full of jargon, you might interpret for people. Explain the jargon and acronyms for people. Better still, put all the jargon into a blog post and refer them to it.

Your Ideal Audience’s Pain Points

What makes your audience hurt? Do they have concerns? What is their lifestyle? Describe their pain points in detail and how your service or product could help. Or simply give people ideas on how to overcome their pain points.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do people know what you do? What do people ask you all the time? If you’re tired of answering the same questions over and over, put those into a blog post.

Glowing Testimonials

Do you have testimonials? People love to hear what other people think before they buy. Of course, ask before you include people’s words, especially if they were said in private. Even if people gave you a testimonial publicly, it’s a good idea to ask their permission before printing their words.

Inspirational Quotes

What are your/your brand’s core beliefs? Have quotes and explain what the quotes mean to you and your brand. The quotes can be from anyone on the team–they don’t just have to be from the CEO. Quotes are a good way to include everyone on the team.

Mascot Photos

If you don’t have a real mascot, maybe borrow one for a photo shoot! How about a dog, a cat, or a hedgehog? Or a goldfish. Some people even make the mascot their avatar. And if your product or service is related to animals, that’s even better.

Advice for the Person Who’ll Use Your Product/Service

Maybe there’s some advice you can give for an adjacent product. Or what people can expect the first time they use your service. Or some little hiccup people have when using your service.

Share Curated Content

Sharing other influencers’ thoughts can be helpful. For instance, if you’re a window film company (one of the brands I work for), how about posts about interior design or architecture? Wallpaper, remodeling, or avoiding the sun are also good adjacent topics.

Have a Contest

Do a giveaway! If your product is too expensive to give away, maybe something they could use every day? How about branded water bottles? Or tote bags? Some of the best giveaways I’ve received have been small. For instance, I have a little widget that goes over my webcam for privacy.

 

When You Play More, Your Creativity Blooms

I wrote this article after watching the playful wonderland, a video on TED Talks. Take seven minutes to watch it if you’d like to become more creative. Or just because it’s fun to take a break and look at something different.

Steven Johnson, of the above TED Talk, discussed the “strange delight of play.” And claims that you’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.

Innovations Occur Because of Play

What I really liked about this TED Talk was the idea of an invention that was surprisingly frivolous (the flute), and how that invention, and inventions like it, fuel innovations. That flute led to the invention of the organ and the organ led to the invention of the harpsichord. And the harpsichord led to the programmable music box. And so on through the programmable loom to the computer.

We Learn through Play

As many parents know, kids learn the best when they’re playing. And maybe adults learn better through fun and playing, too. When kids have positive early experiences, they become happier adults. And those positive experiences include play to a large extent. Play-based learning is important to kids as this article from Edmentum points out, so why don’t we play more as adults? Is it just that we forget how?

Different Forms of Play

For adults, there are board games, online video games, in-person theater games, and all sorts of team sports. Like children, we have our favorites and don’t often stray from those. But what if we all insisted on more play? We would look at things very differently, wouldn’t we? And who says having fun can’t be a part of our work day? After all, having a sense of humor and playing can spark new ideas, add to your happiness, and it’s just, well, fun.

Alternate the Way You Play

When you play in a different way, you may become more creative, too. You might want to decide what fun means to you, and how to incorporate play into your everyday life. Is your form of playing improvisational theater? Is it dancing and singing? Or is it playing mini-golf? Do you need to take a break from working? If so, you might like this article:  Best Reasons to Take a Break from Your Business. (I had fun writing it!)

How Do You Become More Creative?

For me, with the economy opening back up, I’ll be heading to the gym. Not so much to lift weights, but to dance. Yes, Zumba counts as dancing. I’ll also be doing yoga, as well as taking on some more fun projects, which I’ll talk about as they occur. I am thinking about watercolor painting and ceramics, too. Since a lot of our choices were taken away from us, I feel grateful to have more choices.

 

 

You’ve Got 15 Minutes on Social Media. Now What?

People always say you can do something on social media in 15 minutes, but can you really? I think if you’re really focused, you can. You can’t get a lot done, but you can do something.

First Things First

Set a timer because you’ve got to get out of there in 15 minutes. And resolve to really get out of there! You may also want to decide on a smallish treat for yourself (helloooo chocolate bar!) once you’re done. Make sure you won’t get interrupted and really focus for that 15 minutes. And speaking of 15 minutes, you might like Five Secrets to Social Media Success: Greatness in 15 minutes day.

Check Your Notifications

The first thing I’d do is check my notifications, especially if you haven’t been on the social media site recently. See if anyone has mentioned you, and thank them or respond. Of course, if it’s been weeks or months since you’ve been on, maybe just issue an apology and leave it at that. You might not be able to go back and respond to everyone. By the way, don’t set up your notifications so they buzz or otherwise hijack your attention. Here’s how to turn them off: This is Why You Need to Turn off Your Social Media Notifications.

Share Something

You can share an picture that you took yourself or a post that someone else had on their timeline. Check that there’s a good image if you’re sharing an article. And say something about it. You don’t have to say a lot, but you could say what you like about the article. If it’s a picture you took yourself, say where you took it or what it reminds you of or something about it. Using talk to text can save some time, especially if you’re on your phone. One way to share something is through Friend Sourcing.

Leave Some Time for Responses

People may want to respond to what you just posted, so make sure to leave a little time so that you can respond back later. In other words, be social. Five minutes should do it, in most cases. And if you’re wondering when you need to respond, here’s a good guide: The Non-Awkward Professional’s Guide to Interacting With Strangers on Social Media. Bottom line? There are different levels of responses, and if someone simply “likes” something you posted, don’t feel obligated to interact with them. A comment, on the other hand, means the person wants to interact with you.

You’re Done!

Eat your cookie, go for a walk, or do whatever you do to reward yourself.

Best Reasons to Take a Break from Your Business

While most of us know intellectually that it’s a good idea to take a break and go on vacation, with the pandemic, it’s been more difficult than at other times. But getting away is critical for our mental health, and to prevent burnout. Here are my reasons for taking a break.

Get a fresh look at old ideas

Do you find yourself going through the motions sometimes, like I do? Sometimes I find myself doing things just because that’s why they’ve been done before. Like somehow that habit became set in stone. It’s so useful to ask why things are done a certain way. For instance, why publish blog posts on a certain day, or why make them a certain length, or why write them at all? Are you stuck for ideas about blogging? Then you might want to try these: How to Quickly and Easily Unleash Your Blogging Creativity.

Totes ma goats

Take some photos you can use on your own accounts

Do you find yourself with a lack of creativity? Recharging the battery seems to always recharge the well of creativity, too. When you get outside there’s the fresh air, the open road, and the mini-golf! If you’re looking for some wonderful photos, my good friend Beth Staub at Adventure Photo Studios takes photos and also sells them. I love her nature photos, in particular.

Irises

Meet up with friends

One of my favorite ways to spend days off is talking with friends. They always give me a fresh perspective, and make me laugh. And of course laughing is a major way to prevent stress from building up. For me, it’s been about a year since getting any time off–which is way too long! So even though we didn’t go anywhere exotic (hello Humboldt County!), it seemed far away. By the way, you might like this article about friend sourcing. Friend Sourcing: the New Way to Content Creation?

Humboldt

Talk about something else other than your business

When I’m at work, I tend to meet people in similar businesses. But while traveling, there are so many other people in different professions. Sometimes that hyperfocus on business isn’t a good thing. We spoke with people of all ages, with different jobs, who lived in different places. Our friends at home are more like us, so we don’t get that infusion of new ideas.

Spend time playing for good ideas

Playing isn’t just for kids. It might be even more important for adults! While away, we played mini-golf, something I hadn’t done in years. It was one of the silliest courses (and some of us may have cheated just a little), but it was so much fun! Read this Forbes article about The Importance of Play.

 

Five Secrets to Social Media Success: Greatness in 15 Minutes a Day

So here’s the deal. Here are five actionable things you can do this week to improve your social media and become more successful. Some of these are things not to do, and those might be even easier for you. Read one each day for five days and you’ll improve. Really.

Day One: Share Every Day

Can you do this? You don’t have to create all your own content, but you need to be on your accounts. As friend Robert Nissenbaum discusses, getting results and engaging on social media are intertwined: If you want results, think about how you post and share content. Engagement and how you share makes a difference. You can schedule, but it’s even better to be live on social media. You might even come into contact with someone else who’s actually there, too.

Day Two: Don’t Tag Everyone in the World

Yes, we’re all connected to quite a few people on our social media accounts. But you don’t have to tag everyone. And if you are tagged, you don’t have to then reply to everyone! It’s quite simple to simply reply to the person who tagged you and to no one else (unless there’s a reason to, but usually there isn’t one). If you reply to everyone, chances are you’ll get muted or–worse–unfollowed. So don’t do that!

Day Three: Engage, Engage, Engage

Engagement is probably the most important thing you can do on social media. Talk to other people. Be social. If you don’t know how, here’s a book you might like (on Amazon): 21 Ways to Total Social Media Engagement That Will Make You Look Like a Pro. Why should you care about engagement, you might ask. Well, the internet is a crowded place and getting more crowded every day. So with engagement, you and your brand can stand out.

Day Four: Create Lists

Yes, those things everyone complains about. Make some of them. They can be private if you are afraid people will judge you for putting you on their lists. Here’s the skinny on why lists are so important: Twitter Lists for the Power User. By the way, I don’t get why people complain about lists. Do you?

Day Five: Create a Professional Bio and Headshot

If you don’t know what your bio should say, ask some friends. For a good headshot, hire a pro. Your bio is the first thing people read about you, and your headshot says a lot in a visual way. Your bio is a snapshot of you and your life at this moment in time. It can be changed! So don’t worry too much if it’s not perfect.

 

 

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed