Progress > Perfection

18 Aug 2015

Progress > Perfection

Do you see your vision statement here?

When I lose 5 kilos, I will buy new clothes.

When I close my home loan, I will go to Europe.

Before I turn 40, I will publish my novel.

We have many such vision statements up our sleeve, don’t we? At least we like to them of them as our vision statements. But, in truth, they’re not vision statements at all. They’re just wishful thinking statements disguised as vision statements.

The worst kind of antithesis to a dream.

‘Antithesis to a dream?’ you say. ‘What are you saying? Of course I want to write that novel.’

I say, ‘Alright, so show me the first ten pages.’

You have no answer to that. You’ll probably say, ‘I just haven’t hit the right circumstances yet.’

Ah, what are these ‘circumstances?’

I have a lot of ideas but I’m not excited about any of them.

Oh I can write a short story but I don’t know if I have a novel in me.

I haven’t travelled enough; I need more experiences to produce a really good book that resonates with people and I don’t have the time to travel.

I’m too focused on making money now. A book is great but not a realistic priority.

Then you say, ‘But I will write that book. I cannot not write a book. It’s in my blood. It’s going to happen. It’s all I think about. I have time. I’m 35. I will put that book out before I hit 40.’

This is the part where I quote the Buddha: ‘The trouble is you think you have time.’

Actually, we have no time at all. Every day spent without working on our goals brings us one step closer to deathbed regrets. And yet we wait for perfect circumstances to put our goals to work.

But hundreds of writers, entrepreneurs and leaders have all produced stellar, creative lives and they did it not by making fantastic debuts but by starting small and making sense of things as they went along.

These people are not different from you and me. They were just quick to realise that wishful thinking disguised as a vision statement is still wishful thinking.

And wishful thinking is, I repeat, the most dangerous antithesis to hardworking vision statements. Do you know why?

Because wishful thinking creates the illusion of a reachable goal but pre-empts us from doing the work thanks to the self-fulfilling lies we’ve already told ourselves about why the goal is unreachable.

And yet, when we look up, we see the vision shimmering in the distance and it fills us with hope.

False hope.

Have you been fooling yourself with wishful thinking statements disguised as vision statements?

If so, pick a vision you care about, and get started, however small the start is.

Don’t wait for complete control or the ‘right’ circumstances. That kind of perfectionism will smother your goals.

It’s like driving at night. You can’t see all the way till the end of the road. But you keep moving in the confidence that the road will unfold before you.

So don’t seek perfection; only chase progress. Progress, however small, is good. It’s very good.

Whenever I like to think I have time, I think of what Steve Jobs said: ‘Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to make the big choices in life. Remembering I’m going to die, is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking I have something to lose.’

About the Author:

Sandhya Reddy is a leadership & transformation coach based in Bangalore, India. She is the Founder and Principal Coach at Chapter Two Coaching, a coaching consultancy that enables everyone from CEOs to work-from-home parents to achieve their goals by replacing self-imposed limitations with enabling stories.

Many of us in our thirties experience a disquieting realization: what brought us to middle-management may not take us to senior-management. This is true. To chart a new career path, one needs to think and do things differently. This is where Sandhya can help. She is a coach. Life coaching, executive coaching, business coaching, personality development, leadership coaching… they are all part of her forte. Her Executive coaching programs helps tomorrow’s leaders set new goals, make new plans to achieve those goals, get that elusive promotion through a blend of knowledge, action and image-building, enhance influence among the leadership team, be more productive, get more out of one’s team, and be known in the company as an indispensable performer and future leader.


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