Perfectionism Doesn’t Protect Us: The TEDx Video!

Dear friends,

Today is the day! The video of my 4-minute TEDxBirminghamSalon talk, “Perfectionism Doesn’t Protect Us,” is now live on the TEDx Talks Youtube channel.

I must admit, I’m nervous about sending it out. It was one thing to get up in front of a hundred people and give this talk; it’s another thing to email it to 955 (!) of you.

But then I remember: you were the ones who helped me to find the courage to give this talk in the first place. You were the ones who encouraged me to tell the truth about my struggles with perfectionism … because as it turns out, they’re our struggles.

So I’m taking a deep breath and sending this out in faith.

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Terror, Triumph, and Taking the Stage: Lessons from TEDxBirminghamSalon

Dear friends,

A funny thing happened when I started writing about what it was like to speak at TEDxBirminghamSalon: I kept using plural pronouns. I kept writing, “We traveled, we spoke.”

Don’t worry, there’s a simpler explanation than schizophrenia. I wrote in the plural because I felt your excitement and encouragement as a tangible presence at TEDx, and I cannot thank you enough for that.

Plus, you helped me choose my topic; I based the talk around this post. Your thoughtful responses galvanized me to write and speak about our shared struggle with perfectionism. I’ll post the text of the talk within the next few weeks, along with the forthcoming video. Until then, here’s what I learned.

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In Which I Break the Rules & Go Cold Turkey

Nobody likes being sick.

A few weeks ago, I faced a fourth case of shingles, my least-favorite and most-recurrent illness. And my body was in great shape compared with my thoughts.

You see, I was struggling with a scarcity mindset regarding our readership here. I’d become overly attached to the goal of reaching 1,000 subscribers, so much so that I couldn’t feel the tremendous abundance that is already here.

To be fair, this 1,000-subscriber fixation didn’t come out of nowhere. It was fueled by the advice of myriad big-time bloggers, many of whom actually say, You’re a blogging nobody until you get 1,000 subscribers. If your number is below 1,000, don’t mention it anywhere on your site – smaller numbers scare people off.

The implied rule is, “Tuck your tail and be ashamed of your blog until you get the shred of legitimacy afforded by the number 1,000.”

So … this is me breaking that rule.

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How to Persevere When Rejections Knock You Down

It’s the moment every writer knows and dreads. When I finally open the email, it’s just as I feared. My essay wasn’t chosen; try again next time.

No matter how many times this happens – and for writers and artists, it happens a lot – I still feel a swirl of emotion. Depending on how much I wanted an acceptance, I’m by turns frustrated, disappointed, or angry.

If you’ve received such a rejection, then you know the feeling. It’s as though you’ve offered your best wine to an honored guest, only to see them sniff the glass and turn away. No one likes to pour out their best – that which cost them a great deal – and see it left untouched.

But the important point to remember is this: you have a choice to make.

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