Stop putting pressure on yourself to be perfect [and berating yourself when things don’t go exactly to plan]. Cassie Mendoza-Jones shows us how to let that all go and to let yourself truly love what you create in life.
By Cassie Mendoza-Jones, excerpt from Aligned & Unstoppable
I was six weeks pregnant, and feeling it. My mood was low, my mind was distracted, my brain was foggy and my body felt like it was filled with mud.
I was on my way into the city to give a corporate presentation to a roomful of marketing executives, to essentially pitch myself for a huge gig.
I was so grateful for the opportunity, but my excitement was marred by brain fog and fatigue. Part of me would’ve much rather been on the couch.
“Perfection isn’t possible, no matter how aligned you are. Your emotions, mood, energy and desires will fluctuate, shift, change, adapt and evolve. Honouring this truth will allow you to use your life experiences—the positive and the seemingly negative—to create and enhance your ideal life and work.”
It was a cold, windy and rainy day. Roadworks in the city meant that the usual route needed a detour, and the closest my Uber driver could drop me was several hundred metres away from my destination. Also, I was wearing heels. Fab. I hadn’t felt as inspired or in flow as I usually did when I wrote and practised my presentation, and I certainly hadn’t prepared in my usual way.
Because of my brain fog, I hadn’t felt like I could channel what I needed to while creating the presentation. And I was worried that because I felt blocked, I wouldn’t feel guided or supported by spirit/source during the presentation.
I felt like I was going in blind; underneath it all, I could feel butterflies flapping against my insides, flying up a storm. I wondered how I’d manage to speak about energy and alignment, and radiate and hold space in a corporate environment, when I wasn’t feeling energised or aligned at all.
But … I showed up, did the presentation as best I could, and landed the highest paying corporate engagement of my business to date. All the while not being perfect.
You don’t need to be perfect either
Alchemy, trust and magic are what alignment can feel like, when we’re truly in it, trusting our path and allowing the unfolding that’s to come. That’s when things seem to just fall into our lap, appear out of the blue, drop in seamlessly and work out effortlessly.
It’s what many of us strive for, and yet … the way we work towards our dreams and goals can be complicated by pressure, tension, tightness and perfectionism.
So I’d like to invite you to see things from the other side.
Even if you don’t feel magical and full of trust, this doesn’t automatically mean you’re not in alignment.
If things don’t effortlessly fall into your lap, that doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong, that things can’t or won’t go right for you, or that you’re far away from your dreams.
Thinking that alignment means perfection is just another way we put pressure on ourselves to be perfect, and berate ourselves if things don’t go to our exact plan. This is how I used to feel (and sometimes still need to remind myself about).
Good things can still flow to you, even if or when you’re not feeling completely aligned. What might this look like in your everyday life?
- You might get a parking ticket, on the day a new client signs up to work with you.
- Your website might crash, just before an email arrives with an opportunity you never saw coming.
- Someone might say ‘no’ to you, and the next day the most incredible ‘yes!’ comes through unexpectedly.
- You might be feeling stressed out about money, telling yourself that the only way you’ll make money is if you feel abundant, when a payment notification lands in your inbox.
- You might have a huge fight with a loved one, just before running the best workshop of your career.
How is all of this possible?
You might be thinking to yourself: The only way for me to succeed is for things to run smoothly all the time, and for me to always feel aligned and unstoppable.
But that’s simply not the case, and to tell yourself that puts limits on what you’re actually capable of.
You can have a bad day and still run a brilliant seminar. You can feel tired from being up all night with a sick toddler, then run a meeting that leaves everyone feeling energised and empowered. And you can feel run-down and uninspired, only for an incredible idea to drop into your mind and heart which turns everything around in an instant.
It is possible to be in alignment when your life isn’t perfect
You know why? Because perfection isn’t possible anyway, no matter how aligned you are. Your emotions, mood, energy and desires will fluctuate, shift, change, adapt and evolve. Honouring this truth will allow you to use your life experiences—the positive and the seemingly negative—to create and enhance your ideal life and work.
You are so much more capable than you know. Thinking you’re only capable when you’re perfect does a huge disservice to yourself and those you’re here to support the most.
So, I want you to think about how you can take the pressure off how you work towards your dreams, to allow yourself to flick the switch on your potentially perfectionistic mindset. You know why?
- Alignment doesn’t mean perfection.
- Perfectionism is just fear with her prettiest clothes on.
- Good enough is perfect.
- When you try to be perfect, you hide from the people who need you most.
- You don’t need to be perfect to receive, or serve, or show up, or build something beautiful.
- Taking imperfect action is better than taking perfect inaction (AKA standing still and doing nothing).
Getting clear to feel clear
Write out a list of all the ways you think you need to be perfect in order to be aligned, take action and receive. Shedding light on this will make it blindingly obvious that it’s time to let those perceptions go, and move forwards.
- I think that if I’m feeling worried about what my next step will be, I won’t ever know what to do.
- Sometimes I think that if my website isn’t perfect, no-one will want to work with me.
- I think that if my Instagram feed isn’t perfectly curated, people will judge me.
- And I worry that if I don’t feel abundant, I’ll never make more money.
- I’m worried that if I don’t feel skinny/tall/pretty/clear-skinned enough, people won’t want to hire me.
- I am worried that if I feel anxious or my mood is low, people won’t think I’m able to help them.
- I’m worried that because I don’t always feel inspired, I won’t be able to make a living doing what I love.
Once you have written your list, run yourself through it again. Ask yourself if what you’ve written is really true, or whether they’re just fears you’re holding onto, or ways of tricking yourself into thinking you need to be perfect, before you can move ahead in your life and work.
By getting clear on these fears and worries, you can start to clear them away through awareness, with self-compassion and by taking action anyway.
Am I saying you need to purposefully drop the ball and just expect magical things to happen? Not at all. Doing the inner work to feel clear, calm and confident as you build your ideal life is beautiful, important and necessary.
I’m simply inviting you to take the pressure of perfectionism off yourself as you do so.
Flipping the mindset
Perfectionism shocks the system into staying stuck and stagnant, which is so very clearly the opposite of aligned and unstoppable.
Anyway, aiming to staying stuck and stagnant is not why you’re here, right?
How many times have you told yourself that unless you’re 100 per cent perfect, you won’t be able to call in what you’re working on? I’ve done that way too many times. In fact, I did it just this morning. I was in a funk, and automatically told myself that meant I’d be blocking myself from receiving.
Here’s what I did to flip that mindset on its head:
- Grabbed my journal and wrote down what was on my mind, what I had to give up to the Universe, what I wanted support with, and what I felt deeply grateful for.
- Rolled some Frankincense essential oil on my inner wrists, the soles of my feet, my temples, brow and throat chakra area, and over my heart. (I chose this essential oil because it’s known to be very grounding and calming, which is how I wanted to feel.)
- Put on some calming, healing chakra balancing music. (I just searched on Spotify for a playlist.)
- Made tea and dipped in a piece of biscotti that my sister had brought over the night before. Yum. I sipped slowly. Brought myself back into the present moment. I reminded myself that everything was okay and on track, and I found myself unravelling and releasing the tension I’d created within.
Perfection is not our aim, it’s our mirror
Perfectionism shows us what we must let go of, accept, release, allow ourselves to receive, and what we must move through, to
know ourselves more deeply.
Instead of reaching for ‘perfect’, let yourself do the inner work that allows you to be compassionate and forgiving of yourself; the work that sees you start knowing (and owning) your worth, trusting yourself and your path, and finding your guiding light within.
Do the work you know you’re here to do. Allow it to keep evolving, shifting and changing as you do so. Allow yourself to sit in the space of alchemy, trust and magic. Know that you can still call in what you desire on a ‘bad’ day, or when you’re feeling hormonal, or when you’ve just had a parking ticket, or when you’re feeling stressed or lonely, overwhelmed or puzzled.
While alignment feels like everything is going smoothly and in flow, like things are clicking into place seamlessly and effortlessly, please don’t think that life has to be perfect for you to be able to stay in your flow, and continue to move towards your dreams.
Trust your guiding light within
A little while ago, I put one of my guided meditations up on a free meditation website. I was so excited to do this, and felt really
proud of the track I’d created and uploaded. Several hours later, I checked the site and found that several thousand people had already listened to it and left reviews. Brilliant, I thought. Until I started reading the comments on my meditation …
- A said she loved it and it was going in her favourites.
- D said she found it hard to get used to my voice.
- T said the meditation stopped halfway through, so she didn’t enjoy it. (My suggestion would’ve been to reload the page, but anyway.)
- F said she listened to it before a big meeting, and it helped her a lot.
- My personal fave: B said he liked it but would have preferred it if I didn’t sound like I was talking from the bottom of a well! (When I told my mum, she said I should reply with, ‘I’m sorry! It’s not my fault I live in a well!’ Ha!)
- H said it was soothing, empowering and uplifting and she loved it!
- S said I spoke too much, and too fast.
- P said the pace was perfect.
And on and on it went.
Letting go of my need to be perfect
I didn’t know how to feel or what to think. My heart started to race, my palms went clammy, and my perfectionism swung into dangerous levels. I actually started pacing around my apartment, trying to work out what to do, and how I could make everyone happy.
I read over the positive comments and felt my heart and confidence soar … then I read over the negative comments and felt myself shrink back, wanting to disappear and delete my meditation from the site immediately.
You see, I felt very attached to the work I’d created, the outcome and the comments. After taking some time away from my laptop and speaking to my husband about it (he gently and kindly reminded me that I could never make everyone happy), I realised had to release myself from the attachment I’d created.
I not only had to allow myself—and my work—to not be perfect, I also had to let others decide for themselves whether they liked my work or not. And perhaps have them decide that it wasn’t perfect at all. (Oh, the horror, right?!)
I knew what I had to do
I left the meditation up on the site, and stopped checking the comments. And I took the lesson for what it was: an opportunity to let go of my need to be seen to be perfect; to let myself increase my visibility, even if everyone didn’t like what I created or had to say.
It was also a chance to clear and balance all of this within myself, before a year where I knew I was going to be in the public eye more, with a couple of really big speaking opportunities that were coming up (including the corporate one I mentioned before, which at the time hadn’t yet appeared on my radar).
When things are feeling out of alignment, or when your perfectionism is flaring up, remind yourself that you don’t need to be perfect to be in alignment, or to be seen, or to be heard, or to make money, or to love what you do, or to receive. Come back to your body and your breath and to what you’ve already created.
Let yourself shift out of the tension and attachment to come back into your deeper truth and purpose, your innate worth and enoughness, trusting your guiding light within. You’re on the right path, and you’ll land beautifully, whether you can see this yet or not.
Lessons in (com)passion
If you could transmute your perfectionism into compassion, what might change for you?
In real time as I write this, the new season of MasterChef has just begun (insert hugging/dancing emoji). In one of the episodes, as the pressure builds and the clock ticks, one of the contestants, cooking a delicious-looking Italian seafood stew says, ‘I need to cook this perfectly. To do so, I’ll do it carefully and with passion.’
I nearly fell off my couch.
Wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could all have this attitude next time we want to do something well?
Imagine if, instead of letting our negative self-talk punish us into trying to do something with excellence (out of fear of a reckoning), we let ourselves work towards our goals carefully, and with passion (and compassion).
It would settle the doubts, it would calm the fears, it would remove the shakes. It would let us think more clearly, be more rational, stay present and grounded.
And it would let us do our best work without self-judgement or harm, without punishment or regret.
Of course, we might still buzz with excitement and anticipation. We might still look ahead to the horizon and wonder what the next vista will bring. We might still not be 100 per cent sure that we’re doing the right thing, but we’ll trust ourselves enough to know that we’re doing the best we can, with the skills and knowledge we have today.
An essence for alignment
Bach flower essences, Rock Water, is wonderful to take here. It’s for those who constantly seek perfection. Who set rigid goals with high expectations. And who use self-punishment when falling short of these self-created ideals. Rock Water helps you release internal harshness and step back into flow.
Aligned and Unstoppable Affirmation
I transmute perfectionism into compassion. I allow myself to be seen exactly as I am. And I radiate my deeper truth and purpose, allowing it to shine, and I trust my guiding light within.
Excerpt from Aligned and Unstoppable, RRP $19.99, Hay House Australia