By Guest Blogger – Nathan Hayes
Towards the end of 2014, I completed the Human Synergistics LSI 1 and 2; on receiving the results and going through my Action Plan, I had numerous discussions with my wife outlining the process and outcomes, the first of which went something like this:
Me: “My profile showed strong perfectionistic tendencies.”
Wife: “Excuse me? You? A perfectionist?”
The label of being a perfectionist is not something that my wife or those closest to me would have necessarily associated with me. Generally speaking, I have quite a calm demeanour, I’m easy to get along with, and whilst neat and tidy, I’m not obsessive with details (those visible to most people).
Let’s consider some characteristics of the Perfectionistic style:
- Excessive demands on self
- Self-worth attached to accomplishment of tasks
- Avoidance of making mistakes
- Displays of emotion can be seen as embarrassing
- Driven to prove self.
I was an example of a ‘duck on water’, quite calm on the surface and paddling madly (internally my thinking) under the water’s surface.
The step of completing the LSI 1 and 2 should be put into context of my journey of personal and professional growth. I have been incredibly fortunate to have gone through a life-changing period in my professional life over the past 5 years. I have been part of a high performing organisation with the critical purpose of working with families to nurture and develop their sons and daughters. To cap it off, I have been fortunate to have a wonderfully generous mentor in my college principal. I have been presented with many challenges that led to significant growth professionally and personally. My principal always backed me 100%, he never ‘rescued me’ when I was faced with the necessary challenges that are present in high performing cultures, yet provided an unwavering supply of support always driven by the constructive, ‘doing good’ philosophy.
As fulfilled as I was, I still sensed there were some mental barriers preventing me from performing at my best as a father, husband and leader, and simply enjoying each day. Cue Human Synergistics…
Months on I reflected on my LSI 1 and 2 results and worked through my Action Plan; I began to go through a series of significant mental shifts in understanding my thoughts and behaviours. A key take-away for me has been the difference between ‘looking good’, ‘being good’ and ‘doing good’. Whilst I have never been overly concerned with the ‘looking good’, and would like to think I have always focused on the ‘doing good’, I came to see that whilst doing the right things has always been a high priority, it has been inhibited by the ‘being good’ thinking present in my LSI 1.
During my coaching, I received strong advice to take on the mantra ‘fail fast to learn quickly’ when developing my Action Plan. I applied this advice to my decision making; although it was a challenge initially, not once has this mantra let me down.
I would encourage anyone who can relate to the Perfectionistic characteristics above, particularly in their LSI 1 thinking, and to the feeling of being a ‘duck on water’ to apply the mantra ‘fail fast to learn quick’. Paying deliberate attention to minimising such Perfectionistic traits is beneficial from a health perspective due to the mental anguish that can build up internally. Moving from the Aggressive/Defensive Perfectionistic space and into the Constructive space brings about an increased sense of satisfaction through doing what you know to be right, without wasting energy being concerned by the reaction of others. Inherently, this leads to better performance as you become more present, and have a clearer headspace to make good decisions quickly.
The journey of being a reformed Perfectionist is one that I am enjoying; and will continue to give particular focus. I have benefited from the mentor ship of my college principal for five years, and the LSI 1 and 2 were the perfect complement to my development as a leader and person. I have always gained a great deal of satisfaction from my work in education and consider it to be much more than a ‘job’. I can now say without hesitation that since taking deliberate measures to be more ‘Constructive’ in my thinking and behaviours, my ability to enjoy the moment with a clear head has increased significantly to say the least!