"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

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If we could see into the future

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So many of our decisions are based on fear of the worst case scenario playing out. Of course! We want to avoid those disasters, naturally. But what if we chose to live our life, always expecting that something wonderful is about to happen?

What if it works out?

What if the results are going to be amazing?

If you knew you could not fail, what would your goals be?

When facing a decision that has the potential to effect powerful changes in your life, go ahead and think through the worst case scenario. That’s okay. You want to be wise and fully informed of the possible problems that decision could cause.

Just don’t stop there!

After you’ve thought all that through, then take at least as much time thinking through the BEST case scenarios! What if it works?? What if it changes your life forever? What if you succeed?

In both cases, you are literally initiating the co-creative process, designing your future experiences. In each case, as you imagine the outcome and let yourself feel it as though it has happened, you send an energetic pulse out into the world, which resonates with, and activates the resources needed to begin gathering for its realization.

What happens on the other side of your decision is not random. It’s not a roll of the dice. It’s not a coin flip. What happens on the other side depends on you – your thoughts, and your consistency of emotion about those thoughts. Are you seeing the worst case and constantly worrying about it? That’s emotion. Or are you imagining the best case and constantly feeling excited about the possibility?

Your emotions determine AND fuel the world’s response to you. I intentionally didn’t say “the Universe”, although that’s what most people seem to call it. In truth, you don’t really need the “Universe’s” resources… you only need a tiny piece of what already exists right here on your own planet.

In most cases, you only need a minute slice of what exists right there in your own community, or circle of influence.

So stop thinking that what you need is “out there somewhere”. Most solutions really are only an idea, or conversation away – words exchanged between you and someone you know, or between you and your Father in Heaven through prayer.

So today, imagine what’s possible. Once you really understand the laws that govern prosperity, you’ll discover that the resources you need really are always there for you.

To learn more about how to successfully put these concepts into practice, join me for a special event called, “The Science of Getting Rich – LIVE” Study. It’s a 3-day seminar in the Phoenix area on October 18-20, where my husband and I (with a small group of students) will study this life-changing text together, “Leslie-style”.

Click here to learn more and register now

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Applying Rare Faith in the simple things

We moved into our new home last month, and we’ve been uncertain whether our beloved cat “Tom” would be able to go exploring without getting lost in the new environment. So we kept a careful watch on him for the first week, but eventually braved letting him out.

When he didn’t come back as quickly as usual, I began to feel worried. He finally showed up, but only after I went walking, calling for him up and down our street. I never saw him, but shortly after I gave up and came home, the kids discovered him at our door. He must have followed me there; I think he got our houses mixed up. After that, he never strayed far.

That was nearly six weeks ago. However, last week, after a night exploring, he came home looking like a wreck. We weren’t sure what happened, but his tail was matted and he walked with a limp.

We cleaned him up, and by morning he seemed to be himself again. Nevertheless, my kids decided that we should probably keep him inside from that point on. He’s getting older, and seems to be more forgetful. So one of my children put a sign on our front and back doors that said, “Don’t let Tom out”.

Last night, after the family was in bed, I noticed Tom sitting by the front door, longingly looking up at it. He seemed so sad and hopeful, waiting patiently for someone to notice and grant his freedom. He doesn’t make a noise, or try to get eye contact, he just looks up at the door and waits. Should I let him out? What if he doesn’t come home? What will the kids think if we lose him or if he gets hurt again because I “broke the rule”? I took a chance. I couldn’t stand to see him just waiting there, trusting someone would grant his wish without granting it, so out he went.

Usually when he goes out before bed, he’s waiting by the door again by morning. My son usually leaves for school first, so when I came downstairs, I assumed Tom was already somewhere in the house.

But I didn’t see him all morning, and after running my errands all day, I began to wonder if he ever made it home. Worried that I’d be in trouble with my family for letting him out, I hesitated to ask if anyone had seen him. Eventually I became concerned enough to ask each of the kids: “Have you seen Tom?”

No, no sign.

By 8:00 pm I was seriously concerned. Nobody had seen him to let him in again, and I knew he must be hungry, if he was still out there somewhere. So I went to a quiet place and offered up a prayer. I imagined my cat downstairs crunching his cat food. I imagined seeing him at the bottom of the stairs, and me saying, “Well, there you are!” And I imagined how grateful I would feel knowing he was safely home. Picturing him back in the home put a smile on my face, so I knew I was ready to begin. I spoke aloud:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I’m concerned about Tom. If it’s okay with you, will you please send some angels to go find him, and guide him home? I know you can hear me, and I know there are plenty of angels who are available, ready, and willing to help… [I imagined it again, and felt it again, as though it had happened] …thank you for bringing Tom home to us. He has been such a gift since he showed up 11 years ago.”

With that, I ended my prayer and chose not to worry. I imagined the angels on assignment looking for him. I also had a distinct thought, that they don’t magically wave their hand and – poof – he’s at the house, I thought maybe they didn’t immediately know where he was, either, and that they probably had to roam around a bit to find him. It made me think of the Law of Gestation. Maybe things take time, because the “unseen help” is, in many ways, just like us, and it can take time to do the things they’re trying to do. So I pictured them searching, and guiding him home, and even that put a smile on my face.

Fifteen minutes later I hear the front door open and my son yelled, “Tom’s back!”

That smile came back to my face, and I immediately knelt down and expressed my gratitude (again) for sending the help. These Rare Faith principles really do work, and they work – not just for the big things – but also for the simple, daily concerns like this one.

What if we approached our goals the way Tom approaches his? He doesn’t complain, he just focuses on his objective (literally, he just sits there looking at the door), and trusts that he’ll get the help he needs. Do you keep the image of what you want accomplished in view? Do you stay focused on it, with an expectant, trusting spirit? Or do you worry that your desires won’t be noticed? Do you beg and plead for them over and over again, while wondering what you’ll do if they aren’t met?

Try seeing your goal accomplished, and answer the question, “How will it feel when it is done?” But answer it with a feeling, not with words. Feel it. When you’ve done that, you’re ready to ask. Ask once. Then get back to your life and do what you can do for yourself. Trust that you’ve been heard. Trust that there is unseen help that cares about you, and is getting busy orchestrating the ideas, resources, and people you’ll need to accomplish it. Imagine that happening! And believe until it happens, even if it never does, don’t let YOU be the limiting factor. Your job is to believe. It will happen or it won’t. So what. Just make sure you did YOUR part.

I’d like to invite you to read more stories that help you build that belief. That’s what Portal to Genius was designed to do. Follow Richard and Felicity who are at the end of their financial rope, Morgan who needs a medical miracle for his son, and Ray who needs 4.5 million dollars by Wednesday. Be inspired as you see how each of them discover the key for themselves in Portal to Genius. (Read it FREE!)

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It’s PERFECT: The Mindset that Fixes Everything

I had one week left to prepare for an important event where I would be presenting some critical information about a business deal to some very important people. A knot would tighten in my gut each time I thought about it, but I consciously did my best to breathe deeply and relax, knowing the best outcome would happen, if I could only stay in a peaceful mindset.

The night before the presentation I wasn’t quite prepared, and I knew it, not for lack of trying, but merely for lack of time. I stayed up most of the night putting together the last of my research, trying to line it up to be a cohesive, logical persuasion for those who would be making a decision the next day. How well I did at the meeting could mean the difference between thousands of dollars down the tubes, or putting us potentially more than $100,000 ahead within 2 more months.

Not long before I was to speak at the meeting, I was given some new information about others who would be in the room whom I had not expected, which added to my pressure. Besides allowing myself to become overly concerned with ‘what should I wear?!’ I also had to be concerned with whether or not my equipment would work properly, with no time to test it thoroughly first.

As the meeting began, I knew I had done all I could possibly do to prepare. I had to trust that my best would be good enough, and that my faith in God would help make up for my human deficiencies. It would have to; there was nothing more I could do.

While I intellectually relied on God to make it all ‘okay’, I couldn’t seem to quiet my stressed-out, frantic heart. I was flustered, lost my train of thought frequently, and basically ‘blew it’. The opportunity to secure $100,000 slipped through my fingers as I pushed myself to just get through the meeting and finish saying what I went there to say.

I felt sick inside. What more could I have done? I had given it everything I had. I knew the principles. I knew that ‘when something is really, really horrible, it is in actuality really, really phenomenal,’ but no matter how hard I tried to think right, I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that it had been a disaster, and nothing more.

I tried to call my mentor to help me get my head back on straight, because I knew that was critical if I hoped to glean whatever benefit there was out of the situation. I HAD to think right, for I knew that my future circumstances depended on it. However, I couldn’t get through, and my messages were never returned.

Finally, I thought of an old friend of mine whom I knew would understand and could help. Why I didn’t think of her first, I’m not sure. I gave her a call, and she laughed with me as I told her how pathetic the meeting had been, and after I had let it all out, she told me one thing that made all the difference.

She said, ‘Leslie, the meeting was perfect. You did your best, and everything that needed to be said was said in just the right way. Those people heard just what they needed to hear, and anyway, who do you think YOU are to decide what should and shouldn’t have been said?’

I knew she was right. I had done my best to prepare, and I had turned it over to God. So who DID I think I was, to pass judgment on what God made of it? Suddenly, I began to consider that maybe my mistakes were exactly what God knew would happen, and what He allowed to happen because He had some higher good in mind for me and the others involved.

Who am I to say that the deal should have happened the way I had wanted it to happen, anyway? One thing for sure, is that when something doesn’t go the way I think it should have, it’s generally because God has something even better in mind, and He is working to knock off my rough edges to prepare me to receive the very best He has to offer.

I choose to believe that.

There are a lot of things I may never know about what ripple effects came out of that meeting. I have since been made aware of some very important ones that did. But if nothing more, it has given me a new tool for the times I am struggling to feel better about a bad situation. I tell myself now, ‘It’s perfect’ even when I don’t see how it possibly could be.

Even the most painful, difficult circumstances in our lives are ultimately for our good. They give us experience, they teach us right from wrong, they help us grow toward our greatest potential if we don’t fight it.

Okay, so I messed up a presentation. I don’t really have it all that bad, do I? Worse things have happened, and besides, in some way, I know that it was all for my good. I came away a little tougher, a little more compassionate, a little more trusting in God.

No matter how painful or embarrassing it was, it’s ultimately for your good and perfect for helping you reach your highest potential.

Whatever seems horrible in your life right now, you can choose to trust. Choose to believe that it’s the perfect thing for your personal development right now. As you calm down and believe this, you’ll find that doing so makes a huge difference in where your life goes from there.

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