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Leadership Training – The Performance Trap

The Performance Trap is a killer to many leaders that have great potential.  It is driven into most leaders from a very young age that their performance is what really matters in life.  Good Performance = Worthy of Love and Acceptance.  Most leaders are taught that if they are given a task or a goal then they had BETTER achieve it if they do not want to be rejected by the people that matter most to them.  Most leaders are taught to drive themselves in the same way and will not ever just be happy with themselves.  This leads to basketball players who win the world championship and still have an empty feeling afterwards.  The pinnacle of success turns into another let down.  Maybe you are a corporate warrior that has just been promoted to VP, but you still feel like that you have not climbed quite high enough on the corporate ladder.  Again, you experience a huge success, but you cannot enjoy your victory at all because you are full of discontentment because of that nasty little voice in your head that tells you, “You are still not good enough!  You still have not arrived.  You are not qualified for this position.  You don’t deserve this success.  You should be working harder.”  Do you see that these statements are all lies that poison our success?

Perfectionism is another killer that keeps you from finishing projects and getting things done.  Here is a revelation for you who struggle with perfectionism.  It will NEVER be perfect!  I know that you don’t like to hear that, but it is so true.  There are always tweaks, adjustments, polishing, etc. that CAN be made.  The question you must ask yourself is, “Will this bring me closer to success or should I be doing something more productive?”

How does this relate to your development as a leader?  Do not get stuck in the trap of living up to other people’s expectations for your life and your destiny.  Do not be brought down by your mistakes in the marketplace.  You must realise that we all have to learn and sometimes the best teacher is failure.  The word failure can seem like an “F” word to a leader, but I tell you that failure can become one of your best friends.  Failure means that you are trying something.  Perfectionism is actually fear of failure.  Did you hear that?  Perfectionism is FEAR.

Instead of being so worried about what others think of you, remember that you are responsible to God for your gifts, skills, and passion, and He wants you to hit a home run with what He has designed you to be.

Am I saying that we can all just coast and not worry about doing things well?  I will never advocate for mediocrity, but I will always advocate trying to get better and trying and failing.  God wants you to try!  Excellence is to be pursued because we are doing things for the Lord, and we are doing things with the Lord.  We must demonstrate the Kingdom of God in our sphere of influence.  I am not talking about trying to be perfect with everything we do because that leads to a performance driven mentality which sets us up for delay and discouragement.  Excellence should be pursued just as David encouraged his musicians to play skillfully.  Just don’t get trapped into making things perfect.  Make them good enough.  GOOD ENOUGH.  DONE.  Avoid almost, tweaking, and not enjoying success.

The Performance trap is a common trap that many leaders fall into.  Perfectionism is a dangerous disease that you must be healed of right now.  Realise that Done is much better than not quite there because it is not perfect.  The Performance Trap comes from all of those voices from our past that taught us that we could never be good enough.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ sets us free from having to be perfect to walk in our destiny.  It is more important to walk and stumble than to avoid failure.  If we never try to do anything because we are afraid of failure, we are squandering the very lives and destiny that the Lord Jesus Christ died and rose to pay for.  Lead well.  Make mistakes.  Try something.  Be happy with success and celebrate what the Lord allows you to accomplish.  Remember that we are His children and He loves us just for who we are, not what we do for Him.

Called to the Marketplace,

Kevin Horn

Author ~ Speaker ~ Coach