I just returned from a whirlwind weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona where had been invited to speak at the MyTruMatch.com relationship conference. I loved it! And, in my not-so-modest manner, I am proud to report that quite a few attendees told me they enjoyed the content of my talk most.
I have been out and about speaking to women everywhere lately, and I am listening closely to what you say. I want to know what your challenges are and the areas of your life where you struggle to find balance. Once I know your needs, I can address your questions in a video or blog post.
From conversations I’ve had with women over the past years, there is one thing I find we experience time and time again: the Superhuman Paradox. In my book, Happy Woman Happy World, I explain the Superhuman Paradox in detail and share strategies to avoid it. We suffer from the Superhuman Paradox when we believe the notion that we must be perfect in all areas of our lives, all of the time. That is why we think we must do just about everything ourselves. We believe we are expected to cook like a chef, decorate our homes like a professional, and have perfect bodies. Our false notions are confirmed in our personal and professional circles where we find women who actually do attain these high standards. We think, if they can do it, why can’t I?
First up, the bad news: it’s true that some women do have talents and abilities that we may never achieve ourselves. The good news is these same women also lack skills in other areas of their lives. In fact, you very likely have a talent these women admire and wish they had.
Be wary of striving for perfection. Perfectionism is an issue that most of us, myself included, suffer from because nobody can do things better than we can (at least that is what we erroneously think). This is one reason why nobody wants to help us. No matter what they do, it is “just never good enough for you!” Not only that, there are other surprising and negative consequences of being a perfectionist.
When we do everything ourselves, we become convinced that we love giving and giving because it’s all we ever seem to do. We give until there is nothing left and we become resentful and we focus on the negative. When we arrive at this point, we are so exhausted that the slightest thing can be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Sadly, I have seen great relationships fall apart over small issues that compounded into something so big that the problems couldn’t be resolved.
Rather than letting it get to that dire point, the question of why nobody helps us needs to be approached a different way. We should be more discerning instead of waiting until we are completely burnt out. Before we get going on that new task or commitment, we should ask ourselves every single time: Is this worth my time? If yes: How much am I willing to devote to this? It is easy for women to say yes too much. We must be more diligent with our time! Every minute you save is a minute you can have for yourself.
Go ahead and do something if it is a priority and you are the person best qualified for the task. Don’t do something if someone else can do it faster and better. But there is one trick to remember—when you ask your family, friends, or colleagues to contribute, please make sure you give them encouraging praise. Do not critique them for doing something differently than how you would have done it yourself. Remember, the goal is to let others relieve some of your burden.
Real life scenarios are our best teaching points, so here is an example from my home. When my daughter was little, it was her responsibility to empty the dishwasher, even though she wasn’t tall enough to reach the cupboards. So, her job was to unload the dishwasher and stack the plates in front of the cupboard and sort the silverware. To this day, she always empties the dishwasher when she’s home, and funny enough, she still leaves a few things for me to put away. I always appreciate her help.