If you’re wondering whether or not you’re a perfectionist, there’s a good chance you are one, at least to a degree. And even if you don’t check all the boxes for a perfectionist, it’s more likely than not that you’ve fallen victim to the all-or-nothing mentality at least once in your life.
The word “perfectionism” is overused and often misunderstood. From my perspective, it’s rooted in a fear of failure and sense of “not enough”. How many of us have felt this at some point?
The truth is though, striving for perfect, only holds you back. It adds unnecessary stress on top of the highly stressful lives we already lead, it stifles creativity, and prevents you from taking risks and trying new things. Ironically, your fear of failure actually makes you fail by missing out on these critical opportunities for growth and learning.
Maybe for you it’s a new website, an email to a new client, or a job interview. Whatever you’ve been putting off, because of your fear of failure, is only preventing you from growing and stepping into an evolved version of yourself.
Fear of all criticism is a paralyzing way to live. Nothing truly new, original, and great can be created without making many mistakes along the way.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve had to learn that perfectionism only holds you back and it’s better to put something out there, fail fast and iterate because ‘done is better than perfect.’
Evolution: the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form. What a beautiful thing it is to expand, transform, and grow -- and it’s something I’ve been diving deep into the past few months.
And yes, it can be uncomfortable, and messy, and difficult. Whether it’s in a relationship, the people around you, a career, or anything else, change ultimately helps us get unstuck, connect to our authentic self, and find more direction in life.
So when changes arise (because they will), what if you allowed yourself to explore the natural evolution process? What if you dropped the guilt, the shame, or the anger and just accepted it as a natural part of life instead. What if you actually WELCOMED it?
I recently moved in with my boyfriend and as excited as I am for this new chapter, the experience has been bittersweet. One one hand, I’m starting a new chapter and building a life with someone I love and on the other hand I am leaving behind a life, community and routine I worked hard to build. So it’s okay to feel both excited and sad.
If you’re going through any changes yourself, allow yourself to grieve who you once were while stepping into who you want to be. You can do both. You have full permission to change and evolve while honoring your past. Sit in the uncomfortable feelings and I promise you, you’ll be okay. Keep doing the work. Keep showing up. Keep evolving -
A caterpillar did not become a butterfly without a metamorphosis.
When you think of someone who is an incredible leader, what words come to mind? Whether it’s inspirational, motivating, charismatic or something in between --- it’s usually describing someone's emotional intelligence (EQ), rather than their intellectual ability (IQ).
Emotional intelligence is defined as an individual’s ability to identify, evaluate, control, and express emotions. So why is it so important to learn how to develop emotional intelligence to have great relationships and be a great leader? Keep reading.
People with high EQ usually make great leaders and team players because of their ability to communicate, collaborate, and connect with the people around them.
Over the past 20 years there has been a lot of research on the benefits of EQ and how we lead our lives. Here are the 3 main categories:
1. Incredible leadership
Going back to the opening question, it’s obvious that most of us already identify EQ qualities as important aspects of outstanding leaders. The workplace is becoming more and more about how people can work together, and EI skills are necessary for successful collaboration, especially now, when our communication skills are incredibly important.
2. Excellent performance
Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as a valuable skill that helps improve communication, management, problem-solving, and relationships within the workplace. It is also associated with conflict resolution. listening, reflecting and responding to constructive criticism -- all crucial skills for high performance in the workplace. a skill that researchers believe can be improved with training and practice.
A large study done at University of California Riverside found that the factors that affect our own happiness include things like gratitude, positive social relationships, optimism, and a meaningful life. Interestingly, it didn’t show any related to IQ alone.
We are all experiencing daily challenges but one thing that is guaranteed to make you feel better is sitting outside!
Studies show that our bodies respond positively to being outside. Sitting in the fresh air — even just for a moment between Zoom calls — can reduce blood pressure, relieve stress and strengthen your immune system.
One study found that even the view of nature through a window can lower stress and increase job satisfaction.
So with Earth Day coming up tomorrow, how can you step into leadership on a global scale by taking a few small steps to thank Mother Nature for supporting you during this time?
Plant based meals: since we are all home and likely cooking more than usual - now is a great time to try out those plant based food recipes. Committing to one plant based dinner a week can help contain production of greenhouse gases that impact climate change. It can also help lessen the demand for precious environmental resources such as land, water, and energy.
As cities have shut down around the world, the world has seen coyotes on the streets of San Francisco, peacocks dancing in Mumbai, wild boar roaming in Barcelona, a resurgence of bees and rare wildflowers in the UK, other animals reclaiming human spaces and a report that suggests that within 30 years much of the ocean could be restored to full health.
This gives hope that with the right management, nature and wildlife can rebound within a generation. Every little bit helps.
Reading over Streaming
Reading is good for the mind, the soul and it turns out, the planet. When we are reading, we are not streaming, an activity which is carbon-intensive. You can download an e-book or dust off an old book you have lying around the house (I am so guilty of buying books and then not finishing them!). I am currently reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle and highly recommend it.
Learn how you can take more action in your local community and be a part of a global conversation by joining the livestream celebration of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary as it goes digital for the first time ever.
This is a cause that is very dear to my heart since I am completely obsessed with nature and understand it’s vast benefits on our body, mind and soul. I was supposed to attend Al Gore’s Climate Reality Training but it was cancelled due to COVID-19 but I know there is still action to be taken.
Thanks for listening!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever asked for help when faced with experiences that are challenging, frightening, or overwhelming.
Now raise your hand if you’ve ever felt shy or embarrassed in doing so.
I think most of us can connect to the above statement. Whether it’s asking for help at work from a colleague or friends, help with the kids, or a hand when you’re sick and just can’t power through—asking for help is HARD. Maybe you don’t want to look needy, or weak, or lose a sense of control. Whatever the reason is, asking for help just doesn’t come naturally to most of us.
But the truth is, reaching out for help is incredibly important. It gives you an opportunity to connect with community, to learn, and to finally move forward, rather than staying “stuck”. It is a sign of strength, not weakness. And the good news is, as humans we are altruistic by nature, meaning we want to help others - so asking is not a burden it is a gift.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, scared, or disconnected, especially right now—remember there is power in community. You don’t have to do this alone. Reach out to a friend, a loved one, or seek out a coach or therapist and give yourself permission to lean on others.
In the spirit of asking for help, I need yours! I’m working on an exciting offering that will be launching shortly and your feedback is incredibly important to me! Please take 2 minutes to fill out this quick survey, I am forever grateful!
As I have been sheltering in place for the past few weeks, I’ve made a concerted effort to keep some semblance of a normal routine.
Routines make us more efficient, give us a sense of structure and instill good habits. This helps with feelings of anxiety and overwhelm and can change this time from being one of hardship and challenge to being one of fullness and productivity.
My routine normally consists of movement, mindfulness, nature, growth and connection.
Although how I commit to my routine has changed, what I do for my routine hasn’t.
Here are some helpful resources I have been using that have helped me stay committed to practices and rituals that increase mental wellness. Hope you find them helpful too!
I have been loving and am so grateful to all the amazing instructors who have been providing free workouts for us all during this time.
- For HIIT - I have been working out with @pumpfitnessmtl and @jonchaimberg
- For yoga - I have been able to access one of my favorite instructor (who currently lives in Australia) @duncanyoga as well as doing @modoyogala classes.
-For pilates - I have been using Melissa Wood Health for quick and easy workouts - I love the minimal use of equipment and the focus on creating long lean lines.
- Deepak Chopra and Oprah are hosting a free 21 day meditation challenge specifically aimed at meditating during difficult times. Fun fact: this is what got me into meditation several years ago!
-Yale is offering their Science of Wellbeing Course for free.
- My friend Amy, who is a wellness chef is hosting live cooking classes on IG. She hosts dress up themed cooking parties - what an amazing time to brush up on your cooking skills and have some fun while doing it.
- I’ve been listening to the podcast: How’s work by Esther Perel which is all about our relationships at work.
- Book I’ve been reading: Untamed by Glennon Doyle
- Zoom dance parties: OMG if you do one thing from this list - do this. Ryan Heffington, an La based choreographer is hosting daily hour long dance classes on IG Live. They aren’t complicated (think a simple grapevine or a twerk) but they are so incredible uplifting and FUN. Upwards of 6000 people are joining in daily - make sure to tune in on your own and with a group of friends!
- Knix Wear has partnered with the Robert Kerr Foundation to help support the need for PPE in Toronto homeless shelters, drop-in centres and agencies. Learn more here.
- With all the time we’re spending at home, there’s no better time to adopt a pet. Check out your local animal adoption shelters in your area. I’ve heard great things about this one in LA.
Hope these resources help!
Ok, so we are headed into week 3 of quarantine here in North America (depending on where you live it may be longer) and you may be hitting your stride OR you may be hitting a wall. Whether you are feeling the former or the later, know that whatever you are feeling is OK.
This is something that as a society we have never experienced before and as previously discussed, this will likely bring up all the feels.
So this is what has been coming up for me, so I thought I would share.
The first few weeks, I felt like I had to DO IT ALL. People NEEDED ME. After all, this is a time for mindfulness.
So I did an online workshop, offered free online meditations, offered free 30 minute coaching calls (it was so great connecting with all of you!), in tandem with doing a brand redesign (more on that soon), developing a new corporate wellness offering and virtually coaching all of my existing coaching clients. Oh and trying to fit in a daily workout and feeling guilty when I didn’t because you know #quarantinebod.
Sound familiar? Did you also try to do it all? DO MORE, ACHIEVE MORE, GET MORE?
I quickly saw my old patterning sneaking up. By the end of week two I was feeling burnt out and less connected to my intuition than ever before. Too much screen time, not enough nature and too much comparison to what other people were doing. I mean should I be doing MORE instagram lives? NO…
True, this is an unprecedented time, which means for the first time ever, we have the opportunity and time to connect, I mean really connect. So whether you are braving this alone, with a partner, friends or family now is the time to connect to yourself and to others. Call that old friend you haven’t spoken to since college, clean out your closet, learn a new language or sit on your couch and do absolutely nothing for the day.
This week I decided to slow down and see the beauty in how we are being united during this time. I ordered Scrabble, Connect 4 and Jenga and also may or may not also have a puzzle on the way ;)
I am reminded to pause and reflect on what is truly important. I mean, when else can you do a plank challenge with your entire family on different parts of the globe? My 68 father is up to 5 minutes…
I understand that this is not the case for everyone and my heart and thoughts go out to those suffering with the pandemic right now or have lost loved ones.
For those of you in a similar situation to mine, I would love to hear what is coming up for you (old stories) and how you are passing this time.
What a wild experience we’re all going through right now. With a little bit of extra time and space on our hands, it’s more important than ever for us to drop into stillness and allow for our true feelings to bubble to the surface.
So how can you make the most out of this time of social distancing? And how can you use it to level up in areas you’ve been putting off? Keep reading.
If you’re like any of my clients, chances are your day-to-day life is packed and there’s very little time left to observe your thoughts and feelings. But right now, most of us are not on our regular schedule and spending more time in our homes, which is essentially forcing us to deal with the stuff we so expertly push away in our daily lives.
But what if instead of burying and avoiding these feelings you took the time to notice them? What if you got just a little more comfortable with those thoughts that are there in the background?
To start, simply observe, without any judgment, your behaviors, thought patterns and beliefs. Which ones are positive? Are there any you want to shift? This practice alone can be transformative.
Maybe you’re noticing feelings of loneliness, panic, or a belief that this situation will never end. Allow all of your feelings to come up, without fighting them. And instead of simply ruminating on these thoughts and driving yourself crazy, grab a pen and paper and write them down.
The following journal prompts might help:
1. What am I afraid of?
2. What’s the worst-case scenario?
3. What’s the best-case scenario?
Notice what answers come up. It’s likely that when it’s out of your mind, the answers won’t be so bad after all. And if you notice your thoughts are a little more pessimistic, know that you can always pick a new thought or look to the best-case scenario instead.
Continue to write down how you can use this time for growth. Is it taking on a new hobby? Launching your website? Trying a new course? Committing to your health and wellness goals? Pick one you’re most excited about and make it your focus.
And remember, be easy on yourself! These times are hard but I’m right here with you.
Uncertainty is a fact of life. But the last few weeks have been especially intense with all of the fear, anxiety, confusion, and frustration surrounding the global outbreak of the coronavirus - on top of the myriad of pressures you already face on a regular basis.
But what if this was all happening for you, not to you?
What if the virus was meant to bring us together?
To remind how great it is to be alive?
To emphasize (usually) how easily we can access the rest of the world?
The truth is most of the get used to these luxuries in our lives. We take them for granted, forget to appreciate them, or focus on what is not working rather than on what is.
While it’s important to stay informed and not take the situation lightly, it is also an opportunity for growth, presence, and gratitude.
So, where to start?
1. Power of presence
You get to choose your thoughts in every single moment. You can choose to be anxious, fearful or you can choose not to be. Assuming you want to choose the latter over the former, a great way to get out of fearful thoughts is focusing on what is actually happening for you in this moment. Where are you sitting or standing? What can you hear? What can you smell?
Grounding yourself into what is actually happening for you will help you relax.
Taking a few deep intentional breaths will help reset your nervous system, allowing you to feel more at ease. Notice where your breath feels most alive in your body and use that as an anchor point. If your mind is racing, fearful or frustrated, direct your attention to your breath.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely not at high risk for the virus. Can you think of other things (besides your health) that are a part of your life that you can be grateful for?
I invite you to notice something about your current situation that can make you feel safe. Whether it is a roof over your head, support from friends and family, pets -- let this be your reminder that at this moment you are okay.
Staying healthy is at the top of everyone’s priority list right now and we can all support our immune system by washing our hands frequently, sanitizing our work and home environments, avoiding shaking hands, and staying away from anyone who may be showing any symptoms.
Thinking healthy thoughts helps too!
Sending you so much love.
Have you ever wondered what trait makes someone successful at work?
Is it their high IQ? Their relentless hard work? Or networking their way to the top?
The truth is, it is none of the above.
I work with a lot of successful business leaders who have shown me that in the modern workplace, an individual’s ability to thrive during periods of stress and change is really what sets them apart from the rest. The other factors above may help, but not in the face of failure, stress, and emotional experiences.
Enter the concept of resilience. Resilience is defined as the ability to overcome obstacles on the way to a goal, without being distracted by the things that happen along the way. It means having a home base to return to, even when things get hard. It means knowing how to ride out the hard times without being too hard on yourself. It’s the ability to just keep going.
The best thing about resilience is that it’s a skill-- something you can practice and get better at over time.
It is something that I am constantly cultivating in my own business.
So, what are some ways you can flex your resilience muscle? Keep reading.
1. Access your inner calm
Applying various mindfulness tools can help us come back to our own foundation of resilience. Everything from meditation, to breathing exercises, journaling, and more are great tools for leaders to continually train their resilience.
2. Emotional reflection
Like all emotional experiences, success and failure manifest strongly in our bodies, so we must develop and strengthen our ability to reflect on emotional experiences.
3. Cultivate cognitive resilience
Failure is a part of doing business. What sets successful people apart is how they experience and explain their own failure to themselves. People who are pessimistic tend to internalize their failures, take them personally, and think they are pervasive in all areas of life. On the other hand, people who are optimistic see their setback as outcomes of certain conditions and temporary in nature.
By practicing positivity at work, leaders are better equipped to adapt to challenges that may arise.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.