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As social beings we all have an inherent need to feel like we matter. It’s essential to our well being. It also helps us experience a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives.

Unfortunately we can go through life with a mindset that gets in the way of us being able to meet this need in a healthy way.

The biggest obstacle is a mindset that runs on perfectionism. This mindset sets us up to consciously and unconsciously go after excessively high standards and then get critical of ourselves when those standards are not met. This mindset leads to a constant undercurrent of inadequacy and a sense that our efforts are never quite good enough.

Many of us latch onto perfectionism as a way to feel that we matter because it earns us recognition, approval and admiration from others.

Meeting high standards =  I’m valuable.

Trying to meet an essential psychological and emotional need through external factors like recognition and approval isn’t constant. Nor are those external factors fully under our control. That’s why perfectionism as a mindset is so flawed.

Perfectionism at its heart is about an unrealistic and unattainable standard. It’s important whenever we are delving into mindset to recognize the negative impact that needing to be perfect can have on our sense of significance. When we feel that we don’t measure up it leads to feeling that the contributions and efforts we make aren’t meaningful or valuable.

Perfectionism as a strategy to feel that we matter creates a glass ceiling of our own making because it leads to feelings of inadequacy and failure.

As high performers, we must cultivate a sense of significance and value in our lives that’s not dependent on our ability to meet excessively high standards. That’s why high performers make a habit of checking and vetting how they’re meeting their needs on a regular basis.

This is mental strength in action—where we can self-regulate around getting our needs met and steer ourselves towards recognizing our inherent value and worth. We can get our need to feel like we matter met in a healthier way that’s internal to us and therefore in our control. That leads to emotional stability, resilience and fulfillment. Our performance improves because we’re less likely to be preoccupied by negative emotions and stress. We can also tap into our potential because we feel safe taking risks and going out of our comfort zone, which in turn leads to steady growth and improvement.

Liane Wansbrough | High-Performance Coach

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