Overcome Perfectionism and Lead with Imperfection

Executive coach, speaker and author Vitale Buford presented at the Silicon Valley Executive Forum about overcoming perfectionism in May 2021.

She started by quoting Brene Brown: “Perfection is a 20-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.”

Striving for excellence is a positive passion and a self-initiated drive that makes a great CEO or a leader, while being a perfectionist is allowing one’s worst critique constantly judging oneself as a bystander. A perfectionist mindset is based on limiting beliefs about oneself and others, and is mentally, emotionally and psychologically debilitating.

Symptoms of perfectionism in work and in life

Symptoms of perfectionism can be:

  • People-pleasing
  • Approval seeking
  • Control
  • Avoiding conflict
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • High expectations
  • Low self-worth
  • Comparison
  • Procrastination
  • Feeling stuck
  • Indecision

Perfectionism is manifested in our careers like this:

  • Overcommitting, chronic multitasking, “hurry syndrome”
  • Constant need for control
  • Unrealistic expectations of yourself and others
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Destructive self-criticism
  • Setting “people-pleasing” deadlines vs. realistic deadlines
  • Chronic stress and overwhelm
  • Your career is your identity
  • Taking on too many projects and feeling burnt out

Perfectionism hinders our ability to live our lives in ways such as:

  • Always doing for others and never saying “no”
  • Not being able to make a decision and asking everyone for advice; seeking external validation
  • Constant comparison
  • Setting goals and not taking action; waiting for the “perfect time”
  • Lack of healthy boundaries in relationships
  • Overwhelm, anxiety, worry
  • Not speaking up for your needs
  • I “should” be further along

3-step process of leading with imperfection

Step 1: Awareness = Curious Observation + Pattern Identification

In identifying patterns of perfectionist behaviors, Ms. Buford listed “slow and fast perfectionism” for our intentional observation:

  • Slow:
    • Procrastination
    • Indecision
    • Fear of failure
    • Imposter Syndrome
    • Feeling stuck
    • Anxiety
    • Black and white thinking
    • Avoiding conflict
  • Fast:
    • Approval seeking
    • People pleasing
    • Unrealistic expectations for yourself and others
    • Obsessive thinking
    • Need for control
    • “Work harder, achieve more” thinking
    • Constant overwhelm

Both slow and fast perfectionism can negatively affect our relationships, personal development, family and parenting, finances, health, fun and enjoyment and the ability to lead oneself and others.

Step 2: Mindset Change

Ms. Buford suggested using  “habit of self-compassion”, summarized as “Four Cs” - criticism, curiosity, compassion, and choice, -  to reframe perfectionist way of thinking, with mantras and routines:

  1. Notice your Criticism
  2. Get Curious
  3. Show yourself Compassion
  4. Choose better

Step 3: Action

What does it take to build habits of self-compassion, other than time? 

“Reframing, mantras, routines” are the three words Ms. Buford used to conclude her presentation.  

To get out of the negative and self-destructive habits of thinking, first refrain from thinking “what if…”, insead, think “even if…”.  Refrain from viewing anxiety-causing unknown as “uncertainty”, but to view it as “possibility”. Refrain from constantly doing the “balancing” acts of pleasing everyone, and start to actively pursue your own “priority”. 

Mantras like these ones below can also help us feel good about ourselves:

“I give myself room to be human.”

“Done is better than perfect.”

“I cannot miss out on what’s meant for me.”

Action leads to confidence leads to action.

Creating new routines to reinforce new habits of thinking can gradually lead to changing perfectionist behaviors. 

To get more information about overcoming perfectionism, please contact @VitaleBuford 

www.facebook.com/vitalebuford vitale@vitalebuford.com

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please email Glenn Perkins: gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.

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Financial Planning

Financial planner and wealth advisor Stephen Grochol of SGC Financial Services presented at the Executive Forum Silicon Valley in 2021 about all major six areas of financial planning: Current financial position, retirement planning, insurance protection planning, investment planning, estate planning and tax planning. 

To put all pieces together AND to accomplish one’s retirement goals, these steps need to be taken:

  1. Identifying goals
  2. Gathering data
  3. Analysis and planning
  4. Develop solutions
  5. Implement strategies
  6. Review (quarterly)

Current financial situation

“You don’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you are…” said Mr. Grochol.  Whether an individual or a couple, the first place to start is a current year’s balance sheet that breaks down assets and liabilities, as well as percentage for asset types such as cash, taxable investments, qualified retirement, life insurance and real estate. This first step is to:

  • Determine current income and expenses
  • Determine current and projected net worth
  • Establish an emergency fund

Retirement planning

To prepare for retirement, you need to 

  • Estimate retirement income and expenses
  • Determine retirement savings needs
  • Determine how to distribute your retirement funds

To determine if an individual or a couple have enough funds for retirement, projections will be made for possible retirement preferences such as 

  • When you can retire: early, late, or on time
  • Spending levels during retirement
  • Risk analysis for various market conditions
  • Remaining assets for your estate

Insurance planning

The purpose of insurance planning is for

  • Providing for your family in the event of death
  • Protecting your income in the event of disability

For most of the aging retirees, long term care costs can be significant without adequate long term care insurance. In the event of disability, not only will there be substantial draining of wealth, but there is also the opportunity cost as the lost investment growth on the money used for paying for care from income or from existing investments. It is important to do the following planning long before retirement:

  • Longer term care insurance planning
  • Life insurance effect on protection planning and estate transfer
  • Long term disability
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance

Investment planning

One important way of wealth accumulation is through investment, which requires one to 

  • Assess your risk tolerance
  • Design an asset allocation strategy
  • Evaluate investment strategies
  • Fund college education or a home purchase

Asset allocation depends on each person’s risk tolerance. Mr. Grochol presented this question for members of the Executive Forum to determine their own risk tolerance:

Which of the following statements would best describe your reaction if the value of your portfolio were to suddenly decline by 15%?

  1. I would be very concerned because I can’t accept fluctuations in the value of my portfolio.
  2. If the amount of income I receive was unaffected, it wouldn’t bother me. 
  3. Although I invest for long-term growth, even a temporary decline would concern me.
  4. Although I invest for long-term growth, I would accept temporary fluctuations due to market influences.

Estate Planning

The purpose of estate planning is to:

  • Transfer your estate according to your wishes
  • Minimize estate taxes and expenses
  • Fund estate taxes

To avoid costly and prolonged probate, these documents need to be prepared in advance of one’s death:

  • Trust
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Directive
  • Charitable Remainder Trust

Tax planning

  • Project federal income taxes
  • Evaluate tax-minimizing strategies
  • Investigate tax-favored investments

With every financial decision and recommendation in a financial plan, tax planning needs to be strongly considered in all areas and at every phase.

Please email Stephen Grochol at stephen.grochol@sgc-financial.co, or call: (650) 227-0380

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please contact Glenn Perkins gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.

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Financial EQ Can Improve Your Relationship with Money

Executive Forum Silicon Valley invited Emily Scott, a thought partner working with her clients to help unpack their money stories to improve their personal and professional financial decision-making, communications, and relationships. With no assets under management, Emily’s sole skin in the game is her clients’ peace of mind and clarity in discovering their money mindset, exploring their legacy, and determining their philanthropy.   Emily works with financial advisors, and other professionals to help their clients understand the role of money in all aspects of their lives.

Identifying one’s own feelings about money

Ms. Scott started with a self assessment on a scale from 1- 10, to see the intensity of one’s feeling about one’s money, more or less categorized into four types of emotions:

  1. Grateful, secure, tranquil, enough, amazed, thankful
  2. Anxious, concerned, nervous, uncertain, uneasy, stressed, worried
  3. Vulnerable, fragile, miserly
  4. Scared, frightened, paralyzed, terrified, f*cked

When it comes to decision making the personal side of money is more important than the technical side

There are two sides to money, the technical and personal sides. Both sides are equally important and complex, but it is the personal side that drives decision-making, said Emily.

The technical side includes aspects such as taxed, investments, estate planning, cash flow, risk management.

The personal side encompasses relationships, emotions, hopes and dreams, self-esteem, sense of well-being.

Financial EQ affects decisions, communications & relationships

Aristotle said: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” 

Everyone’s relationship with money starts with one’s core beliefs about money.  Our money story starts early in our lives by the implicit and explicit messages we receive on a daily basis. This story comes from our homes, our cultures, gender, media, and more. For most, we are taught to not talk about money and any feelings we have are deeply embedded and manifest in ways we don’t even realize.

The source of all money-related thoughts and behaviors derives from one’s core beliefs.

Thoughts and behaviors around money lead to outcomes and consequences.

Better outcomes with money depend on changing one’s beliefs, thoughts, behaviors

If you are not happy with your money situation, you need to start to adopt NEW beliefs, as shown in the below example of a  “personal wealth mission statement”: 

  • “I want my money to represent who I want to be as a human being, with my knowledge and emotions aligned to maintain my security, flexibility, freedom, and generosity.

Several things need to happen in order to achieve better outcomes:

  1. Recognize beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors that are detrimental to your new goals;
  2. Rethink and reframe new beliefs and thoughts that are intended for better outcomes; Revisit these beliefs, to get clarity and confidence;
  3. Align intentionality with developing new habits and routines for reaching your new goals;
  4. Getting your subconscious (your “computer”) to work for you, until your goals are accomplished.

To get a personal consultation about changing your relationship with money, please contact Emily Scott’s email: emily@emilyscottand.com or call her at: (415) 609-1900. 

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please contact Glenn Perkins: gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.