Updated: May 24, 2020
As doctors, most of us are high achievers, committed to exceptional performance. That commitment often extends outside of medicine to many other areas of our lives.
In fact, many of us consider exceptional performance and getting excellent results to be a source of pride and a core value in whatever we do.
After all, that commitment has helped us in many ways. It’s a big part of what gave us the drive to get into medical school, to match into our residency programs, and to take great care of our patients.
But for many of us, that commitment to excellence is a double-edged sword.
The first edge, the belief that we can do exceptional things, helps us cut down barriers on the way to creating amazing things.
It’s the reason our commitment to excellence seems to have gotten us so much success.
The second edge, the belief that where we are isn’t good enough or that if we “let up” a little bit then it won’t be good enough, is the self-judgement that cuts us down.
It makes it harder for us to cut down those barriers and achieve our desired results.
Think about that for a minute. The belief that where we are isn’t good enough (or is barely good enough) keeps us constantly hustling without stopping for self-care.
It leaves us feeling inadequate.
And if we finally get to the exceptional result we’ve been striving for, it’s the belief that keeps us rushing on towards the next exceptional result instead of really enjoying what we worked so hard to create.
All of those things—the lack of self-care, the feeling of inadequacy, and the failure to enjoy the results we have created—make it harder for us to accomplish big things.
They leave us worn out, apprehensive, and unhappy instead of rejuvenated, confident, and fulfilled.
Reaching the biggest and most amazing goals requires a marathon, not a sprint. Achieving them requires sustained action over time.
That’s only possible if we are taking care of ourselves and building ourselves up instead of cutting ourselves down.
I propose that we can keep that first edge, the belief that we can do exceptional things, sharp and true.
At the same time, we can dull the blade of self-judgement—the belief that exactly where we are right now—physically, mentally, emotionally—isn’t enough.
Even if we took a break.
Even if we didn’t do what we planned to do.
Even if we haven’t gotten the results we want yet.
We’re still enough. We’re still exactly where we should be.
If we can learn to do this—if we stop cutting ourselves down—we will reach our goals faster. The results will be even more exceptional.
We will feel so much better in the process.
And because it’s sustainable, we will be able to reach even bigger goals and create even more exceptional results.
What’s the huge goal you’d love to work toward but you're not confident enough and you're too tired to go after?
Is it losing 50 pounds?
Creating a business?
Making more money?
Or do you just want some peace and quiet that you think you'll find on the other side of the “exceptional results” you’re working towards?
The most important step to reaching all of those exceptional results is to let go of self-judgement and embrace yourself exactly where you are.
We can make the most progress when we can assess the space between where we are and where we’d like to be without judgement.
When we can tell ourselves “I’m doing a good job and I believe I can create even more.”
When we tell ourselves “It’s okay that I failed that test or ate that piece of chocolate cake or didn’t get exactly the result I wanted and I can do better”.
The truth is that we are humans with a human brain.
There will be bumps in the road.
There will be times when we don't do the "perfect" thing.
But if we can accept our humanness and accept ourselves exactly where we are, from that space, we can stand on solid ground and leap forwards, knowing that we have our own back.
The common belief that letting go of judgement would mean not getting great results is completely false. In fact, the opposite is true.
Judgement actually makes it harder for us to believe in our ability to create amazing things. It gives us inadequacy instead of confidence. It gives us fear instead of enthusiasm. It makes us play small.
The best news I have for you is that judgement, like all thoughts, is optional.
Beliefs are just thoughts we have thought over and over until our brain believes they are facts.
That’s true of the belief that judgement helps us get excellent results and the belief that where we are isn’t enough.
Believing new things like “where I am is enough” or “I can get better results by letting go of judgement” or “self-compassion is the key to moving forward”, is as simple as practicing thinking new thoughts.
If the new thought you want isn’t believable yet, all you have to do is find another thought that’s a step in the right direction and is believable for you and practice thinking it.
Examples include “it’s possible that judgement isn’t helping” or “I’m learning to believe that where I am is enough” or “I’m practicing self-compassion”.
Remember that wherever your brain is right now is okay. Cut yourself a break. You’ve probably been practicing that old thought for a few decades by now, and Rome wasn’t built in a day.
If you’re ready to train your brain to feel better and get your best results, sign up for a free consultation here.
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