Do you ever wonder, “Is this it – is this how my life is going to be?” Asking this question is a good thing because it means you’re hungry for something more.
It can also mean you’re becoming aware you’ve been living life by a set of rules that no longer serve you and it’s time to create new ones. But change can feel hard. Especially if you’ve tried to create change in your life before and failed.
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, America’s most popular celebrity psychologist, joins us today to talk about how to tune back into your intuition so you can get your life back on track and drop the “all-or-none” thinking that so often goes along with trying to get healthy.
In this episode, you will…
- Discover how to overcome perfectionism so you can create the life you want
- Hear new insights on how to control your inner critic so you can finally stop that nasty chatter in your head
- Learn the difference between conditional vs. unconditional self-worth and why the ladder is an essential component for weight loss
- Realize the critical thing you need to do in order to truly empower yourself
- Learn one simple trick to boost mindfulness that truly works (it’s so simple, but will you do it?)
- Learn more about Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo: www.ElizabethLombardo.com
- Get her book! Better than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love
- Connect with Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo on Facebook and Twitter
Creating A Better Than Perfect Life [Full Text]
Jen: Thank you so much for tuning in to another amazing episode of the Energy to Thrive Podcast. I am beyond excited to share my guest with you today. I met her a couple of years ago, fell in love with her. Not only is she incredibly beautiful, she is so talented, smart, brilliant, and she shares so generously with her audience about how to create an amazing life and overcome your inner critic.
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, welcome to the show today.
Elizabeth: Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.
Jen: Are you really considered Shaquille O’Neal’s head coach for happiness?
Elizabeth: Indeed. Who has a bigger smile than Shaq?
Jen: That is so cool. I was just sort of taking a peek at your bio. The fact that you’re able to help get people free from a restricted mindset and the stress that is caused by the drive for perfectionism is huge, and it’s something all of my listeners are going to want to know more about.
In the work that I do in health and weight loss the inner critic is such a huge part of what keeps women trapped in the cycle and yet we often don’t understand that. We’re often going to just the surface things like eat this, don’t eat that, workout out like this, don’t work out like that, and we forget that it is really about the inner space.
Jen: Maybe share a bit with us about your journey through this and how you’ve become so passionate about really helping women – not just women, everybody – understand the inner critic work and why perfectionism and the drive for that is so harmful.
Elizabeth: We’ll start with how I came to be a psychologist first. When I got out of college, I actually went to school for physical therapy, I was a practicing physical therapist for a couple of years. I had a client who changed my life forever. I love physical therapy, I loved helping people get out of pain and learn how to walk again after an accident.
This gentlemen named David changed my life. He had to have a surgical amputation from diabetes, which can sometimes happen. They pushed him down in a wheelchair, just like all of my other clients, and he was just slumped over. You could tell he was just not happy. I went up and was trying to be happy, thinking he just needs to be happy and then he’ll be fine.
He yelled at me, “Take me back to my room.” So I took him back to his room. Later that day we had rounds, the doctors and nurses, and we all decided that he was depressed. It was the next statement that changed my life forever. The attending physician was taking notes and he haphazardly looked up and said, “I’ll prescribe him Prozac.”
Elizabeth: I thought, “Oh my gosh, you just cut his leg off. Don’t you think he needs to process this?” Literally it was like the heavens opened up and they were like, “This is your calling, Elizabeth.” Because regardless of how good of a physical therapist I was, and I was pretty good, I could not help him because of his mindset.
He was in this place where his life wasn’t worth living, he was no longer a man, an oldness inner critic was preventing him from doing anything to help himself. We couldn’t get him up walking, we couldn’t get him mobile again, until he addressed this inner critic.
For some people, medication can be helpful. However, it seemed to me at that time what he really needed was to process through this. We all have an inner critic. Thankfully, we don’t all have a loss of limb, but all have an inner critic. Everyone needs to hear that. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like. I have clients who are well known names who have inner critics. We all have inner critics.
Jen: Yes. It doesn’t matter what race, what color, what profession, your social and economic status, your body shape, whether it’s a perfect body or overweight body. This is so true.
An inner critic is universal, we all live with them. How I describe it is often it’s just that super mean bitchy voice inside your head that says horrible things to yourself. You live with it every day, so often you just think, “That’s the way I am.”
Maybe let’s go into why does the inner critic have such a need for perfectionism and how does that really sabotage somebody’s success in living a really happy life?
Elizabeth: When we talk about perfectionism, I think of perfectionism not just as a neat junk drawer, but that notion of an all or nothing mentality. Something is either perfect or it’s a failure. It’s either right or it’s wrong. I either go to the gym for an hour every day or I don’t have time to do that so I don’t do any of it. I either have no cookies or I have one cookie, I messed up my diet so I might as well have the whole plate.
Elizabeth: That all or nothing mentality that so many people really fall into, and when you’re deviate and you’re not the all then you become the nothing. Perfectionist not only thinks in all or nothing ways, it’s either perfect or it’s a failure, but she takes it one step further and she says, “If it’s a failure then I’m a failure.”
Jen: Then that starts the, “You suck. You can’t do this. Why even bother? You’ve failed so many times before. What’s the point?” We often get these loops on automatic playback, they’re sort of going on all the time. How do you stop that?
Elizabeth: All the time and it’s background music, so we’re not even necessarily aware that we’re saying this to ourselves, but we are aware of the consequences. We feel lousy.
Here’s the thing. I wrote a book called Better Than Perfect on perfectionism. Just so you know, self-help authors write for themselves. I was a crazy perfectionist. I thought it was helping me be better, I thought that inner critic that I called ‘The Drill Sergeant’ was actually helping me better, but really it caused a lot of stress and a lot of tension within myself, and frankly for the people around me too.
Jen: Can you show your book? If you’re watching the video, you’ll see this, but if you’re listening to the podcast you won’t be able to see.
Elizabeth: It just happens to be right here. Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love.
Jen: We’ll put a link to that in the show notes so everybody can grab it easily and access it. It’s going to be one of the books that I highly recommend you pick up and read, especially if you’re a woman listening to this right now who has been caught in any kind of yo-yo dieting cycle or if you’ve been stuck in the decades of dieting, or lacking worth and thinking that your weight is defining you in some way, shape, or form. It’s almost like a workbook, you can start to get through it.
For my work when so many people think it’s the diet, a hundred billion dollar industry now where so many quick fixes and fad things are promoted that prey on the insecurities of women, why are we so afraid to take it one step deeper? Why do we not understand yet that true change happens when we do our emotional work? I think we’re all fairly smart, my clients are all super smart, well educated people. What’s the disconnect there?
Elizabeth: I think a lot of it has to do with our desire for a quick fix. It’s just so much easier. Not that changing your diet is easy, but for some people the notion of changing your diet and what you eat is a lot easier than delving into this. This can be scary.
I have a lot of clients who say, “I’m afraid to even go there, because I’m afraid of what’s going to happen. If I let myself go there, I’m going to cry and I won’t stop for a week.” However, I will say that’s not always the case.
Whether you want to address it or not, what’s happening between your ears has an impact on every single interaction you have with yourself, with other people, with food, with your job, with your kids, with everything.
Jen: It permeates everything. I think women think that they compartmentalize sometimes. “I’m going to struggle with my weight and my food over here, but the rest of my life is great.” Really that’s not the case at all. There’s stress, there’s tension. I know that because I talk to my clients pretty intimately about what they’re going through and not yet has there been just one problem, it permeates the rest of their life.
I guess it’s the fear. And I was like that, I shared with you that so long ago I was in my stuff and using wine and chocolate to push down these feelings that I just didn’t want to feel, that was easier until I hit a breaking point.
It takes a lot of courage. How do advise people to not be ashamed of reaching out for help? So often it’s like, “I should be able to do this. I shouldn’t need help with this.”
Elizabeth: We should all over ourselves. A lot of times, especially women, we’re people pleasers, we help other people, we’re the caregivers, not the care-takers, “I don’t want to bother that person,” that kind of mentality.
My question is why should you be able to do this? To me, understanding how you want to think is a skill. It’s like learning how to speak Russian. I don’t know how many people out there can speak Russian, but if you’ve never had a class on Russian speaking and you’ve never heard anyone speak Russian, why should you be able to speak Russian? It’s ridiculous.
How you view the world, it’s just another skill just like that. You haven’t had the class on it yet. When you get the course and you apply those skills, you cannot help but be better.
Jen: I’ve used the same metaphor, but with being a mechanic. Should I be able to take apart my car engine and put it back together? No. But I don’t feel bad about that, I just go to my mechanic.
We’re not taught this in high school or university.
Jen: Yet – and I hope that changes. For the women who have been in this place, because often life ruts don’t just happen in a month, life ruts can sort of be the slow insidious decline. The way I describe it is for me is my priority list was 100 things long and I wasn’t even on it. I didn’t even know how to put myself back on it to even give myself permission to devote some time, energy, space, whatever for my own self.
What do those women do?
Elizabeth: I think a lot of times it goes into that all or nothing mentality, “I’m either selfish or selfless.” I don’t think that the opposite of selfish is selfless. I think that the opposite is taking time for yourself.
You need to take time for yourself. You need to take time to exercise, meditate, do fun things, have a hobby. Not all of the time and leaving your kids starving, but some of the time is absolutely vital. Giving yourself permission to do that is going to be really important, not only for you but if you’re parenting. If you’re a mom, don’t you want your kids to learn that it’s okay to take care of your own self, your own needs? Not at the expense of other people, but you also don’t want to take care of other people’s needs at the expense of yourself.
Jen: I think that’s so true. At one point I believed it was more valuable for me to wash a floor than to go out for a walk. Those are dark times, those are hard places to be in, especially if a previous version of you wasn’t like that. You just wonder, “What the hell? Where did I go? What has happened to me? Is this it?” And that’s scary.
Elizabeth: Yes. I have clients who have asked, “Is this as good as it gets? Is this as good as my life gets?” The answer is no freaking way. The reason why you have the question in your mind is because you’re ready to make that change.
Jen: Often there is sort of a nudge. Whether it be drama, trauma, life crisis, death in the family, diagnosis of a sickness, job change or financial crisis, there will usually be some sort of big event that kind of pushes somebody over the edge to where they think, “That’s it. I’m not doing this.” But along the way there have been lots of whispers or messages, whatever it is, circumstances, and we often get them but ignore them.
How do you start to wake up your own intuition again if you’ve been dumbing it down? We get the messages, but we ignore them until it’s a 2×4 across our head.
Elizabeth: I like to think of it as like if you go shoe shopping. If you go to a store and you put on a pair of shoes and it’s the most beautiful pair of shoes you’ve ever seen, it’s like the perfect height and perfect color, you just want to kiss it because it’s so beautiful. You put it on your foot and you walk around and it’s too tight. The smart thing to do would be to take that shoe off, put it back in the box, and go find another shoe. But, a lot of times we’ll wear it and then we’ll have the blisters and we’ll have all kinds of issues.
To me, that’s what our intuition is. Unlike this external biofeedback which is your foot saying that doesn’t fit, our intuition is an internal biofeedback saying, “This isn’t working with the true you. This isn’t consistent with who you are and you really are supposed to be.” If you just start to listen to that, you don’t necessarily have to change everything, quit your job and go to Africa to build wells or whatever, but just start to listen to it and start to honor it. Just like you would if you put on a shoe that didn’t fit. Start to say, “What message am I getting?”
Jen: It’s kind of like having more curiosity about your life again. I think so often there are these sets of rules that we’ve created and they’re almost default. They happen over time where it’s like, “I can’t do that, because,” or, “I can’t live life like that because,” and then we have all of this justifiable list of reasons – I’ve got kids, I’m a mom, I’m married, I have a husband, I have to work, I have to volunteer – that it becomes at the cost of us and who we really are.
Elizabeth: Right, yes.
Jen: I think that’s such a good distinction. It’s not all or none. You can still fulfill all of those roles and find a way to start becoming more true to you again.
Perfectionism. This is really interesting, because people who I work with have often been chronic dieters, they’ve often gone on more than 50 diets, whether it’s the quick fix or just hoping that there is going to be one thing that speaks to them. Yet, what happens is exactly what you said, all or none. They follow the diet perfectly and religiously for a week and then if they have one thing wrong they throw in the towel and they’re off the diet for one, two, three months, until they see a picture of themselves and they get back on.
What is a gentler way? I always say you can’t lose weight in a bubble, because you don’t live life in a bubble. Life is still happening around us.
Jen: What do we do? If you’ve been in the all or none cycle, how do you bring it more to the middle? What are the tips that you give people that you work with to help us?
Elizabeth: The first one is it’s not failure, it’s data. By data I mean information.
Jen: I love that.
Elizabeth: Look back at when you relapsed or whatever you want to call it, look back to where you were on the diet and came off the diet. What happened?
For a lot of my clients it’s stress. Stress went up and so they reached for the comfort food. Or they were crunched for time and they didn’t have the food that they wanted. Or they haven’t been getting any sleep, so they’re cranky and they want something to pick them up.
Look at for you what were the variables, the ingredients, that went into you no longer eating the way that you wanted to. Just learn from it. If it’s stress, let’s get some new stress management tools for you. If it’s you don’t have the food with you, let’s talk about how you can bring the food with you or what food you can get when you’re out. If it’s because you’re cranky, let’s talk about how you can get the sleep that you need.
Jen: Sleep. Can we talk about that for a second?
Jen: This is one of the things that is the most insidious ways women sabotage themselves all of the time. Maybe men, too, I’m not sure as much. What I know is when kids go to bed or when we come in from our day and all of sudden it’s 8:00 or 9:00 and now we have ‘me time’ or the quiet time.
It feels like such a treat, but then we end up sitting in front of a television Netflix binging. Then it’s Midnight, now we’re going to go to bed, we’re going to be tired, we’re going to hit snooze. We engage in this cycle. In one way we’re getting this gift of ‘me time,’ and yet it’s not a gift at all, it’s toxic. What do we do?
Elizabeth: It definitely can be. It really goes into when you’re experiencing the you time, how mindful are you? If we’re watching three or four hours Netflix, you’re not being very mindful.
Jen: You’re a zombie.
Elizabeth: Right. You time is absolutely vital. Looking at ways where you can really get the most of it. Maybe it’s one show and then 30 minutes of reading, or taking a warm bath, or spending time with a loved one, whatever it is for you. Things that you can do that are very mindful are going to really help you enjoy that time more.
It’s kind of like eating. When I talk to my clients, there is nothing wrong with having a cookie if you eat it mindfully. What happens is we’re like, “I had a hard day. I deserve a cookie,” and then the guilt and shame settles in and we shovel in as much as we can because we already screwed up our diet.
The more mindful, the more present you can be as you’re taking your ‘you time,’ as you’re eating whatever it is, the more benefits you’re going to get from it.
Jen: Totally. A lot of people say that the best way to become more present is constantly come back to your breath. You hear that with yoga, with meditation experts, you hear it with all sorts of people.
It’s so easy to operate and be distracted all the time nowadays, whether you’re on your phone, we get notices from everything, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, we’re constantly bombarded with stimuli and it takes our attention so outward. How do you start that dedicated ability to regain focus? I think now we’re living in a very scattered life, our ability to focus and maintain attention has become challenged.
Elizabeth: Without a doubt, yes. The obvious thing is to turn off your phone for awhile. Nothing is going to happen. Truly, you aren’t going to miss anything. I have clients and even executives who are like, “I can’t do that.” Yes, you can. You really can.
Jen: This is one of those rules, all or none. It’s like, “I have to keep my phone all the time.” We start to live with these rules and it’s really learning how to break them and see that we don’t die, or that we can still keep our business going, or whatever the fear is.
Elizabeth: Exactly. Yes. I had someone the other day who wanted to get together and I responded to an email, and their response back was, “Hey. I’m offline today. I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m back online.” I thought, “Isn’t that great? I can wait. It’s not an emergency. There’s an emergency number if I need him.” Just being outward and up front about it, good. We tell people how to treat us, so start treating yourself better.
Jen: With perfectionism and overcoming it, when we want to create the life that we want, and for many of the listeners right now it will be also a body that they want, one of the things that I say is your body is basically a vehicle that you get to experience your life with. We get one of them. Where do people start to direct their focus when it’s a life that they want but they can’t even get past the 10 pounds that they feel like is holding them back? “I’ll create the life I want once I fit into my skinny jeans.”
Jen: Yes. We when ourselves, “I’ll get to that when this thing is dealt with.” What do you do with that kind of thinking?
Elizabeth: We really actually have it opposite. We think, “I’ll be happy when I lose the 10 pounds,” or when this happens, but the research overwhelmingly shows that when we address our brain, when we get into that state of happiness, releasing the stress and the perfectionism, once you do the internal work the external stuff is so much easier.
Why are you keeping on those 10 pounds? Stress has a huge role. Whether it’s physiologically because we have chronic elevated stress and our body lays down fat, whether it’s behavioral because who reaches for a fresh garden salad when they’re stressed out, when you do the internal work the external stuff is so much easier.
The other thing that you and I were talking about, and you mentioned it just a couple of minutes ago, was the sense of worth. When you determine your worth by how you look, that’s a huge source of stress.
When I work with my clients I talk about instead of conditional self worth where they say, “I’ll feel good about myself if I lose the 10 pounds,” what we really want is unconditional self worth, “I feel good about myself because of my values, because of my strength, because of who I am.” That doesn’t mean I’m going to go eat everything and it’s fine, but when you have unconditional self worth you’re actually more likely to eat healthy and in healthful ways.
Jen: This is hitting home for me so hard right now. That unconditional versus conditional self worth, part of what I knew was I was taking such not-great care of myself that I felt embarrassed about it. I felt like I had really let myself go. The minute that I started to put some better self-care practices into place I felt better about what I was doing, which then sort of spiraled up.
I know that when people stay in the cycle of feeling awful about themselves, eating awful, not moving their body, it just keeps going. At some point there has to be a willingness to overcome the resistance to change. Why are we so afraid to embark in change?
Elizabeth: Because we’re so afraid of failure.
Jen: Talk about that, please.
Elizabeth: There’s this mindset of, “If I try and fail, it’s so much worse than if I don’t try.”
Jen: Or, “If I failed before,” right?
Elizabeth: Or, “If I failed before then obviously I’m going to fail again, because I am a failure.” I see this all the time with health and with depression, people saying, “I don’t even want to try, because I could not handle if I tried and failed.” It’s just easier to be in this place of victimhood.
Jen: Victimhood. So often we’ll be in that place. I was in that place and I had no idea until literally a therapist pointed it out to me. I was like, “What? I’m not a victim.” Then I realized, “Oh. I am so.” I was blaming, I was justifying, I was rationalizing all of my behaviors. In my own mind they were really all understandable, until somebody else came in and said, “No. You are a victim in this. Is that who you choose to be?” It felt like a slap across the face, to be honest, because I don’t identify like that, but during stressful times I was reverting to that behavior.
Can you talk about what victim behavior is or the mindset of it? I think it’s a word that maybe we’re repelled by a little bit. Most of my clients would never self-identify as a victim, they’re strong, capable, driven, successful women, and victim doesn’t go hand-in-hand. Yet, it’s always there.
Elizabeth: They take it like that slap across the face, as a huge insult.
Jen: It did feel like that. I’d like to take it there for a second. I think when we are so successful or our success has been predicated by how much we do, how many certifications we have, degrees, accomplishments, promotions, money in our account, that we are very unwilling to hear that. I actually think it’s really helpful.
Elizabeth: In general we are a very victim-driven society. We love hearing about people, celebrities who screw up, it makes us feel so much better.
Jen: If they can’t do it, how could I?
Elizabeth: Right. People love to watch these train wrecks on TV. It’s that conditional self worth, “I feel better about myself if they’re going to be…”
When it comes to victimhood, it’s really an epidemic in our society. I see it a lot in relationships, especially significant relationships like marriages, where you’re constantly blaming the other person for why you are unhappy. “He doesn’t appreciate me. My kids don’t do this. Society only likes thin people. I’m stuck.”
Whether you call it being a victim or not, it really doesn’t matter. The opportunity is to say if you stuck a microphone in your brain, how many times would you hear yourself blaming your discontent or your health on someone or something else? The goal is not to say shame on you. The goal is to say, “I can’t control that McDonalds is out there, but I can control my reaction to it.” The real goal is to empower yourself.
Jen: I love that. I think that’s really helpful. You can’t change what you’re not aware of. I could not change how I was being until somebody else helped me see it. Once you become aware of it, then you have a choice about what you do. Do you stay and continue operating like that or do you start to really take some personal responsibility for how you’re thinking, responding, reacting – and I think those can be different things sometimes – and then move from that point?
Some of the work that I’ll do sometimes will be to imagine somebody that you admire or somebody that you hold in high esteem. What would they do? So often we feel ill equipped to take the actions that we know we need to take, because we’re scared. Embodying or imagining what that successful person over there does seems easier. What is that? Why does that work sometimes for people?
Elizabeth: When we’re in a place of helplessness, which is really where we are when we feel like a victim, helplessness is one of the toughest emotions to deal with. It’s the notion that, “There is nothing I can do to change this.” When we’re in that place it’s hard to see any other options because we’re so thick into it. Instead of seeing everything, we start to see just the problem and that we’re struck.
When we’re talking about someone else, how someone else would react, then we’re not as emotionally tied in. It’s also like if your best friend came to you with this problem, what would you say to her? Very unlikely would you say, “You really are a loser. A fat loser. Go home.” No way. You would have great advice for her, because you’re a smart, intelligent, helpful person. When it comes to ourselves a lot of times we can’t see that.
Jen: Does that tap into the concept of really developing compassion and empathy for self? Was that a yes?
How do you do that? I found and did some EQ assessment stuff on me when I was learning. I was like, “I think I’m so empathetic,” and I am, except when I’m stressed or conflicted. When I’m stressed or conflicted, I shutdown, close up, I’m resistant, and I’m sort of like, “F’ you. I don’t care about anybody else, I’m going to stay safe right now because I am so afraid. I’m in terror.” I didn’t realize that. Part of what I had to work on was really how to bring that empathy and develop self-empathy and self-compassion.
How do you help people learn how to do that?
Elizabeth: There are two components. One is what you said about stress. I like to think of stress as from 0 to 10. Zero is you just got off the massage table, life is great. Ten is the most stressed out you’ve ever been. When you’re at a 7 or higher, you don’t think rationally. I don’t think rationally. We go into reptilian fight or flight brain and we’re just there to protect ourselves.
A question to ask yourself is, “On a scale from 0 to 10, where is my stress level right now?” I always tell my clients if it’s at a 7 or higher, don’t let anything out of your mouth and don’t put anything in your mouth, because that’s the red zone. The first thing is to do something to bring that stress level down. Then we can start to think more rationally.
The second component goes back to this unconditional self worth. A lot of times we can be empathetic towards others, but we don’t think that we deserve it. Working through these steps to cultivate unconditional self worth, then you can be empathetic towards yourself.
Jen: It’s coming back to the breath, pause, breathe, do something to de-escalate within yourself. Probably, knowing that many women are in significant relationships, it’s de-escalating the fight with the partner or the kids sometimes. Often we want to teach in those heightened moments of amygdala hijacking and no one is able to receive it.
It’s kind of what we do inside our own head to our own self, the beating yourself up, “You should have known better. You should have done this. You could have done that and this would have been different. I shouldn’t have ate that bag of Oreos.”
The minute that trauma drama is happening and somebody is able to stop and take that breath, what’s the next thing they should do? You know how shaky you are sometimes after you’ve had that surge of hormones through your body, you’ve gone into fight or flight. What’s next after that step?
Elizabeth: I’ll just say one other thing. For some people, taking a deep breath works. For some people, when you’re so elevated, sometimes a deep breath doesn’t do anything.
Jen: Thank you.
Elizabeth: I’ve had clients who have said, “I know I was supposed to take a deep breath, but I didn’t want to because I was so mad.”
Gratitude helps reduce the stress activity in our brain, but when you’re at a 10 out of 10 you don’t want to be grateful, you’re angry, you’re upset. Sometimes it’s physiologically changing your state that can be more helpful.
Jen: What does that look like? What’s an example of that?
Elizabeth: Jumping on the bed, dancing, doing pushups, doing jumping jacks, moving your arms up and down, anything that you can do to move your body.
Jen: To get out of your mind.
Elizabeth: Yes, but there’s also a physiological change that happens. I actually have one of those personal rebounders, little trampolines, in my home office. When my kids get really stressed out, especially with math homework, they’ll just come in and start jumping on the trampoline. Because their mind is not in a place where they can think and they’re starting to go into their inner critic, “I can’t do this.” They jump on the trampoline and things change. Buy a trampoline.
Jen: That’s a really good idea. This is so helpful. With Energy to Thrive the energy model is about exercise, nutrition, emotions, relationships, goals, and yourself. I talk and teach and interview on those six core capacities. Inner critic and perfectionism are too often driving the train for many of us. The minute we become aware that’s who is driving our life we can start to separate and take these suggestions and implement them.
I have one last question for you. You’re smart, I’m smart, all our listeners are smart women. Why is it that we can know better and not do better sometimes? That is probably one of the number one things. They can be so successful in a gazillion areas of their life, but they feel like there is one area that they just can’t get a handle on. They know better. They’ll say, “I know better, but I am just not doing better. What is wrong with me?”
Elizabeth: Just that question in and of itself, I think, is very diagnostic. “What’s wrong with me?” We’re pathologizing, we’re saying what’s wrong, something is bad.
To me, what comes up when you ask that question is this notion of perfectionism in terms of a perfectionist doesn’t want to not be a perfectionist. When I was a perfectionist, I thought that was why I had my graduate degrees and why I could do so much stuff.
Really there is some good in perfectionism, the strive for excellence, the wanting to make things better, but there’s also some not so good, which is that inner critic and the beating yourself up. We think that’s what motivates us, but really there are lots of ways to be motivated.
The whole concept of being better than perfect is striving for excellence, and being empathetic to yourself, and realizing that if you make a mistake it doesn’t make you a failure, it’s just information. It’s just data.
I’m trying to get everyone to get into this notion of better than perfect. You make a mistake, better than perfect. Couldn’t go to the gym, but you did 10 pushups, better than perfect. You had one cookie, it was delicious, better than perfect.
I think if we could embrace this notion of any step in the right direction is awesome.
Jen: That is awesome. Let’s get to the bare bones of how people can find you. Anybody listening is going to love you and is going to want to know more. I know we can go to your website at ElizabethLombardo.com. Maybe just do a quick shout out about your book? If you’re a women listening to this podcast right now or watching the video, Better Than Perfect, you can probably grab it at any major bookseller or order it online.
Elizabeth: Mostly online now.
Jen: I know you have a quiz that is really helpful, too. Can you explain a bit about that?
Elizabeth: Yes. A lot of times people may say, “I’m a perfectionist, but it’s not a big deal.” or, “I’m not a perfectionist at all.” When the book came out I actually did a segment on Today Show and we had six producers take the quiz at BetterThanPerfectQuiz.com. All of them denied being a perfectionist, but they scored ridiculously high.
Whether you call yourself a perfectionist or not, doesn’t matter. It’s fun, because perfectionism the way that I define it is so much more than that. I don’t have a neat junk drawer, my closet is not color coordinated, and yet I suffered from perfectionism for so long.
Jen: Perfectionism and denial.
Elizabeth: Exactly, yes. When you realize how perfectionism plays a role in your life then the whole notion is not to get rid of all of the perfectionism, it’s to get rid of the stuff that isn’t working and to be better than perfect.
Jen: That is so great. Thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode of Energy to Thrive. You are amazing.
I love watching your segments. For those of you listening, you can follow Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo on Facebook and you’ll also see all of the clips that she puts up of her Good Morning America show and – well, you’re on so many different things and they’re all there and I love watching them.
If you’ve tuned in for today’s episode, thank you so much. Please like it and share it. I truly believe that this is something more and more people need to understand. There isn’t anything wrong with you. Most of us are living with parts of ourselves that we don’t even understand or have an idea about how to change. Change is so possible. Head on over to iTunes, rate it, share it, like it, spread some love so that more women and men can get this message.
We’ll be back again next with another amazing episode for you on the Energy to Thrive Podcast.
Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, thank you again so much.