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The 90% Rule

Progress not perfection. 90% = success!

perfectionI woke up this last Friday morning after two days of real struggle working toward my “In the Equation Challenge goal” and remembered: I am not perfect! I am fantastic, strong, smart, courageous, beautiful, passionate, diligent, determined…and perfectly imperfect at the same time. And I LOVE that about me! I am not perfect. Thank God.

One of my favorite quotes related to perfectionism comes from Brene Brown in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. ““Perfectionism is self destructive simply because there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal.” Here, here. I finally get it and embrace it!

Brene goes on to describe the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism. “Healthy striving is self-focused, how can I improve and grow? Perfectionism worries about what other people will think.” According to Brene’s research, perfectionism is not about excellence or healthy striving. It’s a way of thinking and being that says, “If I look perfect, do it perfect, love perfect, work perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame in my life.”

In other words, perfectionism is the ultimate fear that we might fail, and/or the word is going to see us for who we really area and we won’t measure up. Yes, perfectionism is fear. I get that because I’m a recovering perfectionist. I spent most of my adult life trying to be perfect and beating myself up when I was not. It kept me small, and stuck. On the sidelines and NOT in the arena for far too much of my life.

These past four years as I’ve personally transformed both inside and out, I’ve worked to embrace “progress not perfection.” I’ve learned the difference between healthy striving, learning and growing as a person vs. the impossible standard of perfection. And, most importantly I’ve learned self-love and how to offer self-compassion when I slip or fall or fail. I truly believe, I am enough. And that has made all the difference.

Which brings to me to why this blog — the”In Your Equation Challenge” and my revelation of this past week.

strive for progress I really struggled in pursuit of my goals in the “In the Equation 2014 Challenge,” this past week. At least two days of the seven, I had slips toward my goal. And by my old standard of perfection, I would have been unsuccessful in pursuit of my goal because I wasn’t 100% on target. 100% perfect.Well, nope, not anymore.

When we screw up, slip and fall, or even fail completely in pursuit of a goal, WOW, is it hard to pick yourself back up and restart. Trust me, I know. Those old voices of inadequacy come flooding back and it’s so easy to let them drown out the self-compassion that we are enough, we did our best, and to remind ourselves perfection is not the goal, nor is it attainable.

I’m writing this blog today for all of my peeps who know that inner voice. Who hold themselves to the unattainable standard of perfection and then when they aren’t perfect use it as evidence they’re not good enough. That they shouldn’t have tried in the first place. Or, they won’t get there. STOP! NO!

Instead, join me in showing yourself some self-compassion. I’m living the 90% rule right now when things are tough. That means I’m asking myself if I went 100% all in (meaning I gave it all I had/did my best), and was 90% or better in pursuit of my goal? If the answer is yes, then awesome. I win. I was successful. If not, I am aware enough to recognize those old voices and shush them. I pick myself up restart! Here  we go.

I honestly believe that if I go 100% all in, doing my very best under the definition of healthy striving, and then slip and fall off the plan for a meal or even a day, I’m winning. When I slip and fall, those are the times I’m learning to practice awareness, self compassion, and to acknowledge out loud that I am not perfect. But rather to admit, I’m human and awesome just as I am right now.

I also tell myself, I can and WILL do this. Then I picky myself up and restart with the next meal, or workout –whatever is applicable — and with all of my diligence and determination in tact. When I do this, I am more aware, more focused, and more determined to succeed. While I know that I can do anything I set my mind to. I also know that to slip and fall from time to time is human. And that’s ok with me. It’s what I choose to do in those times that matters most.

So when I fill out my StickK report tomorrow on Week Two of the “In the Equation 2014 Challenge,” I will ask myself if I was 90% on. If I had far more wins than slips, and if indeed I was able to pick myself back up and restart on the path in pursuit of my goal.

Because for me, this personal transformation these past four years, has been as much about learning to live wholeheartedly — practicing self-love and self-compassion first — so I can then give it to others. It’s about awareness. It’s about authenticity. Being honest with myself and others about the struggle. It is NOT always easy. We are NOT perfect. But it is awesome, awe-inspiring and as Brene Brown would say — “it’s the birthplace of love, joy, belonging.” And, I would add – happiness and success.

I know this because I am living proof. And I realized something today. I didn’t lose 211 pounds and nearly 50% body fat in 18 months by being perfect. I did it by going all in, and living the 90% rule.

I’d love to know how you all are doing and what you think of the 90% rule. Talk to me.




Here are some related blogs on the topic of perfectionism and striving:

 I’m not perfect. And it’s okay.

Daring to lead. Daring to live greatly.

One brave thing.

My word is…enough.

Read more about Dr. Brene Brown and her work

Brene Brown, TedTalk, The Power of Vulnerability

Brene Brown Books: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly

My favorite by Brene Brown on perfection, this quick read: Want to be happy, stop trying to be perfect.

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