Is there a perfectionist in you, bursting to get out of the bottle? That certainly rings a bell with me! I try to keep the cork in place so that doesn’t happen, and as I’ve got older, I’ve become a bit more successful in the arm wrestle between me and the cork. But Mr Perfectionist is cunning, and sometimes, somehow, he sneaks out of the bottle and cunningly inhabits me when I’m not looking!
And then he wreaks havoc, holding me back, putting the brakes on, when I could be getting on with life and doing something which brings me joy. One of the bugbears about being a perfectionist is that even when you are following one of your passions, the need to get things exactly right is liable to suck the delight right out of the experience and burst your balloon.
Recently, I’ve been doing voice and communication sessions with someone who’s a successful celebrant. He has plenty of bookings, his phone rings a lot. So why is he working with me? This guy’s in his 60s; why would he be thinking about raising his game?
Maybe he’s also a perfectionist with an uncorked bottle? Well, he’s not. He’s decided that although he’s doing well, there are a few areas of what he does that could be improved. He’d like some knowledgeable guidance as to how he can enhance his skills, because. as often happens, there’s no one he knows who can give him a well-informed opinion.
And why is this important to him? There are a few reasons. He takes personal and professional pride in what he does. He has no intention of being perfect, knowing that’s impossible, but he wants to fulfil his potential. (To do that, he needs to be helped to identify what his potential is.)
And because he takes the vocation of being a celebrant seriously, he wants to do his best for his clients. He knows how important each ceremony is, and he feels the sense of responsibility that comes with the territory.
It can be a fine line between wanting to do your best and needing to be perfect, and this person has it just right. I admire his attitude to being a celebrant, and his willingness to give anything I suggest, a go. When I work with people, whether in person or online, I’m careful about what I ask them to do. Exaggeration and fun, with the right client, can be great tools – both for voice work, and for the communication side of things – because when an exaggeration exercise is over, the person doing it tends to retain a little bit of what they were exaggerating, so by degrees they end up beginning to acquire the new skill that they’re working on. I try and tailor each session to the individual client, and this man is reaping the benefits of his desire to be at his best (which can be achieved) without seeking perfection (which can’t). His eyes are opening to his possibilities, he’s enjoying himself, and he’s fired up with enthusiasm for the future.