"Perfectionism" and Prosperity

RareFaith-perfectionism

We live in a time when life comes at us faster than it ever has in the history of the world. We get stressed, overloaded, and overwhelmed. Under these pressures, it is hard to remain calm… the state of mind necessary to live in harmony with the universal laws of success. Often we get discouraged and lose faith, simply because we spend so much time beating ourselves up for our flaws.

To qualify for the blessings we’re praying for requires a calm and confident state of mind. But when we’re disappointed in ourselves, it is tough to have faith. The problem is, so long as we’re not perfect, there’s always something to be disappointed about. So what do we do about that? How can we have peace of mind when we’re so imperfect? How can we achieve prosperity so long as we fall short of perfection?

Do we have to THINK, BEHAVE, and DO everything perfectly in order for the blessings to come? No.

In my book, Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Money Matters, I talk about how I had a perfectionist mentality for many years, until, after I married and had children I discovered to my dismay how literally IMPOSSIBLE it is to be perfect, even when you give it all you’ve got.

For a simple example, I’d make a commitment to study a certain amount each day or week, and I’d sit down to read… just as a baby in the other room would wake up and start to fuss. Or, I’d get the kids to bed and open my books just to hear some crying and then one of the toddlers would throw up.

It seemed that something always got in the way of my ability to make a commitment to myself and keep it. I had gotten pretty good at “self-mastery” before starting a family, but all that changed after the first baby. No longer did I have much say in how my time would be spent, even with all of my good intentions of living a disciplined, structured life.

Finally, one day I surrendered in despair. I realized I had become a cranky, sloppy person with the utter inability to finish anything I tried to start. Anything that did get done was done half-shod. I collapsed in tears and expressed to God how sorry I was that I was such a failure. I was devastated and confessed that I was doing the best I knew how, and that as poorly as I was doing, it was all I could do.

For the first time in years I felt Him really smiling down on me. It was as if He was saying, “FINALLY you realize your dependence on me! NOW we can proceed!”

Everything changed after that. How does this lesson apply to me now? I still have all the interruptions that come with family life… even more now than ever. In fact, a paper airplane just hit me in the head and I’m not even kidding.

I don’t have time to plan, prepare, and execute much of anything as perfectly, professionally, or impressively as I should. Let’s say I’m selling something, and if doing the presentation poorly could cost me the deal, I have two choices. I can either think “oh, dear… I did such a bad job” or I can think, “that’s just going to have to be good enough.”

Which mentality will bring success? Which mindset leads to prosperity?

Now that I know my best is never going to be good enough, and now that I know that God understands and is okay with that (so long as I really try), I rely on Him to make up the difference for my inadequacies. When I’m trying to do a good job and I blow it anyway, I think of Him and pray that He can make something useful out of my less-than-perfect efforts.

So long as I have believed that, I’ve seen miracles.

So then, do we have to THINK, BEHAVE, and DO everything perfectly in order for the blessings to come? No. We will not live the principles perfectly, no matter how hard we try. BUT, we can think of God when we come short, and pray for mercy.

Let me give you an example. Years ago, my husband and I made the mistake of trying to purchase multiple investment properties at the same time. The underwriters on every one of those deals became uneasy when they realized what we were trying to do. The first home went through relatively easily, but the second was more tough. The underwriters kept coming back with more unexpected hoops that we had to jump through, including having us show larger amounts available in certain accounts than what they had originally requested, as well as proving that those funds had already been seasoned for so many months, etc…

Each time we managed to jump through one hoop, they came back with yet another and another and another. Originally they only needed to see X amount in the bank and 3 months of payments in reserve. Then, seeing us as a risky investment, their requirements increased to something like X times two and 6 months in reserve, which eventually turned into a required 12 months in reserves plus a letter stating we weren’t accruing more liabilities, even though they already knew we were. It seemed as though they had long since decided not to extend the loan and were hoping we’d just give up.

After meeting their newly imposed requirements over and over, it eventually became impossible to do the next thing they asked. We were so weary that we were ready to just let it go. We had done all we could do. Then a simple thought came to mind: we don’t have to come up with all that extra money and we don’t have to do everything they are asking… all this would take is for one person in underwriting to simply have a change of heart.

Suddenly it all seemed so simple, because it was going to be so much easier for us to pray for one person’s heart to change, than to pray for another $40,000 (or whatever it was – I can’t remember) to show up in our account by the next day, WITH proof that it had already been sitting there for several months, which would have been impossible to do.

Having finally come to peace with giving it our best and letting go of the outcome, we emailed to let them know that we would not be providing them the proof of the additional unexpected funds they were requiring.

The next day, our loan officer called and said that there was only one final token request (something insignificant), and it would be a done deal. There was no more mention of the large sum of money they had wanted before. It all finally went through.

The point? “You need not run faster than you have strength.” When perfection is impossible (and it always is), God can make up the difference if you will ask for His help and then believe in Him. Do your best to only ask for those things that would be in your best and highest good, and then trust Him. (More on that…)

A woman prayed: “Dear Father, I’ve been doing really well today… so far I haven’t yelled at the kids, cussed, thrown anything around in anger, overeaten, overspent, or overlooked my responsibilities… I haven’t watched too much TV, nor driven too fast. I’ve been good natured and cheerful to everyone around me… But Father, it’s morning and time for me to get out of bed. From here I’m really going to need your help.”

That’s what it comes down to: reliance on that higher power. If you choose to believe that somehow, God makes up the difference between your efforts and what’s required, then it’s that very belief which puts you in the right state of mind to receive the blessing… even when you don’t “deserve” it. In all honesty, none of us really “deserve” it. Only by the grace of God are we even breathing. So, to reach our goals, what does He require? Belief. Belief that He has a way to make up for our failings, and asking Him to help.

So, believe you can achieve your ideal life. Do what you can, and then when needed, say to yourself, “this is just going to have to be good enough.” Can you see how thinking this way is in harmony with the laws of success? If we think we aren’t doing well enough, and if we think that our inadequacy will prevent us from succeeding, then we’re right. Trust God to fill in, believe that He will, and you can succeed.

I just got hit in the head again. I’ve tried to edit this article as I’ve gone along, and now that I’m at the end I really should run through it one more time to make sure it comes across the way I wanted it to, and make sure the sentences are readable and flowey, but a precious little 5 year old has been trying to get my attention for more than two hours, so… it’s just going to have to be good enough.

Originally published February 7, 2005

Added August 8, 2015: Those of you who have been following me for a few years know that those real estate investments didn’t go so well! So yes, be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it. Here are some related follow-up articles that you may find interesting:

Gurus are Human
Human Empowerment, In Perspective

Share

No Flow, No Go?

Picture for attention.

Do you ever feel like you could be the poster child for Murphy’s Law?  Have you ever wondered if the struggle you face is evidence that you’re doing the wrong thing?  Before you draw that conclusion, read this:

I had a conversation with one of our Mindset Mastery participants and I thought I’d let you in on it…

Hi Leslie,

…I am just really bummed out right now. I am currently attending a University course to get my psychology degree. I am taking a philosophy class which I thought I would love, but it turns out the instructor is very picky so I am not enjoying or doing well in this class.

I read once that if something is a struggle, then it is not the right thing to be doing. If I am meant to be doing something, then it should be inspired and easy flowing.

I want to be a life coach and thought that with a degree in psychology, it might make things better.

I am worried too because I am getting financial aid and if I fail this class I may have to end up paying for the class or pay loans back or something which will put me further in the hole. I am just sitting here wondering what I am doing and really very upset. I didn’t know who to turn to or even what to do right now, So I guess I just needed to vent. I am scared, lets just say that. I am at work right now, if I wasn’t I would be crying.

Here’s how I replied:

First of all, take a deep, deep breath.

Second of all, let me add my perspective on the comment, “if something is a struggle, then it is not the right thing to be doing.” I think there is some truth to that, but it’s been twisted.

I gave birth to a few kids, and every one of those labors was a TREMENDOUS struggle.  That doesn’t mean in the least that it wasn’t the right thing to do.  The truth is that ANYthing worth having is worth struggling for.  The key is to keep your “WHY” vivid and alive.  When you lose sight of why you’re putting yourself through something tough, then the pain is only magnified.  When you remember the people whose lives you’ll change forever, the passion and the dream of that expectation is anesthesia that dulls the pain.

I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I thought, “We can do anything, as long as it gets us closer to our goal, and as long as we know it’s temporary.”  We always said that about the un-fun things we had to do along the way.

Furthermore, if you give up now just because it isn’t fun anymore, then how will you ever be qualified to coach someone else through their struggles?

If I were you, I’d do what I could to remember the law of Polarity and the law of Rhythm, especially now.  As horrible as this is, is how wonderful the reward will be on the other side.  If it’s only a little bit bad, then the reward will only be a little bit good.  If things are bad today, you can expect an upturn in your mood soon enough.  Look forward to it, expect it.  Be grateful for the pain today, because it is only through that pain that there could possibly be meaning in the victory.

As for the “flow” concept, yes, things can go smoothly and you can have that peace of mind being in the flow.  But it is an internal thing.  Life will always deliver challenges.  ALWAYS.  Life mastery means finding peace of mind and assurance that everything is going to be okay no matter what.  When you live in that kind of a state of being, then the resources you need begin to flow your way more naturally.  But remember, you’ve got to achieve that mindset before it flows, and that mindset can only be achieved in the middle of hardship.  (Anyone can find peace of mind when life is going smoothly; the best rewards come from finding it when life is NOT going smoothly.  That’s what separates the winners from the crowd.)

So, in reality, your hardship right now is a tremendous gift to you – you’re being given the opportunity to prove your mental toughness and demonstrate right thinking in spite of it.  Pass the test and you leap to a new level of life success.  Without the hardship, you would have no opportunity to prove yourself, and no corresponding reward would be waiting.

Anyway, I know this probably isn’t what you wanted to hear, but I hope you find it helpful.

Hang in there – a better day is coming if you respond to this the right way.  Think, how would a champion handle this?  How would a highly successful success coach handle this?  You’ve got it inside of you to conquer this – be kind to yourself.  Do your best and let God handle the rest.  Whatever the outcome is, chalk it up to your experience that adds to the value you’ll have to offer your future clients.

Warmest regards, 🙂

Leslie

This young woman quickly replied:

Thank you so so much Leslie! It means so much to me that you took time out to write me back! I love every bit of your reply. It all makes perfect sense! Again thank you so much! Just what I needed.

Now, what about you?  I’d like to help you get through those ‘stuck places’.

How? Join me in the Mindset Mastery program – there are now have THREE ways to play:

  • The Premium Mindset Mastery (Shipped) Program – $847.95
  • The Regular Mindset Mastery (Online) Program – $197
  • The NEW Mindset Mastery fully GUIDED (Online) Class – $497

Procrastination is your biggest enemy – if you know you need to do this, do it now.  Your transformation awaits you!

http://www.prosperthefamily.com

Share

#50: Why do my Finances NEVER Change?

In this audio, Katie Vrajich interviews me as part of her Healthy, Happy Women Summit, where she interviewed five different women about topics that women seem to struggle with most: body image, food relationship, money relationship, parenting, sexuality, and mental health/self-care. My topic was on the money relationship segment.

As Katie says: “When you’re slogging through trials it is definitely easy to lose sight of where we’re going and why! I feel a renewed desire to share what I know and lift all the rest of the people who are currently slogging.”

Participant Feedback:

“THANK YOU…!! The cure for doubt is action…:)!! God cannot steer a parked car… The solution to every problem is only an idea away… What is the one thing, to do today? Decide what I want, and put it into writing, and then imagine…THANK YOU Leslie and Katie…” -Tina

“That was wonderful! I really enjoyed the positive feeling today. I will go check out your books, and I look forward to writing down what I want and taking the next step toward it. I want forward growth, even with the backwards steps.” -Janelle

“Thank you so much for this. I love the help with understanding some of these laws. Especially the part about how one negative moment doesn’t kill the dream. And thank you for your amazing books!!” -Aimee

Resources Mentioned:

The Visual Aid that Changed Everything – free video

Hidden Treasures book – free download

Jackrabbit Factor – free download

(Also in Freebies section at the bottom of this blog)

Share

Meet Katie Vrajich

Introducing… Official ThoughtsAlive Mentor Katie Vrajich!

Katie had a complete turnaround when she read the Jackrabbit Factor. She went from apathetic, bored and BLAH, to excited, grateful and determined!

She quickly chose to do the Mindset Mastery Course, and according to Katie, “It changed everything!” Within the next year she and her husband tripled their income, and they decided to repeat it again for brand new, next-level goals.

She says they learned so much along the way. Katie continues to offer support and inspiration for life. Seriously, this journey is not always easy. It is rewarding and good, but reaching big goals requires big changes, and sometimes those changes are very painful!

She wants people to know that they are not alone in their struggles.

Learn more about Katie at her Family Blog, see what she’s up to at her Mentoring Page, get her FREE Report: 6 Secrets to Getting Unstuck and Creating Momentum Now, or check out her online Healthy, Happy Women Summit (where I was a guest speaker).

“The more support that one has on this journey, the better, so if there is anyone out there trying to hit crazy goals this year too, please come and tell me about it! Declare it to the world (or at least me.:))!” – Katie

Follow her on Instagram – @lovekatiev

Listen to Katie and me talk about some of our lessons learned in how to make the principles work for us on this special episode of my Rare Faith Podcast.

Share