Where’s the line between preparation and obsession

Picture a time, maybe it is even now, when you have been preparing for something BIG like an interview, event, presentation, or the release of some creative endeavor. Now consider how much mental, physical, and emotional energy you put into it.

Was it a lot -perhaps too much? Did you find yourself stressing out about it?

Where is the line between healthy preparation and perfectionism/obsessing?

This was a line I came face to face with over the past two weeks as I was preparing to give two big talks at a very high profile company where some of the most brilliant minds in the world work (hint: google it). I was incredibly excited to create a new three hour talk / workshop, yet I found myself challenged by how much pressure I was putting on myself that I was calling “preparation.” I share about my aha in today’s vlog.

What I realized is after spending hours and hours preparing is that at some point I crossed the line from being inspired to prepare from the value-based standards I set for myself, to pushing myself with massive expectation. Luckily a very annoying twitch in my right temple got my attention. I sat in mediation and realized that I was coming from fear not love.

And then the aha came . . .

Over preparation and over doing in general is fear in disguise @christinhassler (tweet this!)

Sure it’s important to do everything in our power to do our best, to fulfill our goals but it is just as important to know when enough is enough.  When it’s time to stop.  When it’s time to back off, step away from the computer, stop editing, stop tweaking, stop rehashing and rehearsing.

When we are in manic mode, there is no room for magic!  If we do not get out of the way, the Universe cannot work on our behalf.

You’ve done enough. Do you not trust the Universe? Do you doubt the competency of your guides and your own inner wisdom?

Dedication, focus, enthusiasm, and “heart work” (doesn’t that sound so much better than “hard work”?) are gifts but unless they are properly constrained, they can undermine our best intentions. Just as we need food to survive, too much will weigh us down and negatively impact our vitality.  So let’s not gorge on perfectionism.

Once I let go and trusted myself, my inner wisdom, and God, the magic happened. I visualized all the people in the room and how I could serve them best rather than impress them. Both talks went phenomenal because I focused on how I wanted people to feel during and after my talk. I stopped making it about me. I swamped preparation for prayer, “God help me get out of my own way and use me as an instrument.”

Ask your Higher Power and guides for the courage to let go. Get in magic mode rather than manic mode. You know who will oversee your success? God!  You can rest.  Let go and hand over over-responsibility. Let the Universe work overtime on your behalf. Rest. Relax. Know when enough is enough.

You are ready. You got this!!!



P.S. My Costa Rica is around the corner and almost sold out. Come for five days in paradise that is both deeply healing and incredibly fun!! Email jill@christinehassler.com to apply and go here for more info.

  • Sonia

    This is an awesome reminder Christine. I have a big workshop I’m presenting next weekend with people coming fro
    m all over. I’ve been totally over preparing because I want people to have an amazing experience….and I see definitely the piece around fear or not just trusting in my unique gifts and how they will shine through. Thank heaps, fabulous timing. I hope your talk went well, Sonia Sommer.

    • Christine Hassler

      Your workshop will be amazing esp if you trust yourself and come from your heart!

  • Heather Leneau Bragg

    Such a great topic! I’m a recovering over-preparer. I find that when I over-prep, I end up sounding cold and impersonal, probably because I recite bullet points instead of linking everything in a narrative. But I feel like a slacker if I don’t slave away during the creating and polishing stages. Thanks for the fantastic clarification and guidance Christine!

    • Christine Hassler

      My pleasure, glad it resonated and I would hardly call you a slacker Heather!

  • http://www.thecolormage.com/ thecolormage

    This is absolutely perfect! What a timely message for me! I do this ALL the time! I need to get out of my head more – and do!

    • Christine Hassler

      We all need to get out of our heads more….

  • newadventure

    Thank you Christine for your perfectly timed message! The BIG thing that I have been preparing for is that I have just moved abroad (today!) to live by the ocean and embark on a new journey! Ever since I made the decision to move two months ago I have found myself planning and over-planning and over-preparing…and I know deep down it was coming from a place of lack of faith in myself or my abilities and perhaps fear…as though if I did not spend every waking minute preparing for this move that things wouldn’t work out. To be honest, I exhausted myself before even getting here! And I know that it is time to step back now and hand things over. So, it was reassuring to read your message and know that enough is enough and that yes, I am ready! Thank you for all the wisdom that you share :) x

    • Christine Hassler

      YES! Hand it over :)

  • http://www.missstrangelove.com/ Milena Rangelov

    This is exact thing I have been doing with my blog!It is never perfect, it is never enough, just this little tweek and I will be ready to publish. It keeps us congested rather than opened for creation. And yes, pray, meditation and call for divine guidance ca be a perfect thing. Thanks for sharing this Christine.

    • Christine Hassler

      Time to just publish it, Milena :)

  • Rosanna Lauria

    This is great! I had been procrastinating with a work project, trying to get it perfect and wasting so much mental energy. So your tips have helped me move out of my own way so I can move forward with it. Nice to get the reminder. Thanks :-)

    • Christine Hassler

      So glad it helped!

  • ArtN

    I find that when I push hard, it seems like I’m fighting headwinds. Better to take a break and come back when I’m fresh. Often I find I can get into a nice flow where words and ideas come to me effortlessly. Unfortunately, that usually happens when I’m fighting insomnia.

    • Christine Hassler

      Exactly!! And melatonin and some rescue remedy are great to take before sleep.

  • alana

    Just sharing my experience. As a student, I have to give many presentations in my classes, and I often over-preparation. At the end of each presentation, we have a ‘Q & A’ session which is graded, so I often try to guess what people may ask and prepare an answer accordingly. I will run these answers in my head and rehearse them. When people do ask these questions at the Q & A session, I’d often jump right in and answer them, giving them what I feel is a complete answer.
    However, it happened a few times that I wasn’t answering their questions at all. Instead, I was just saying my rehearsed answer to a question from my imagination, not necessarily the question they had asked. My prof even gave me the feedback: understand the question properly before answering. I reflect – perhaps I was so into impressing people (“woah, what a great answer she gave”) than actually communicating with them. I wasn’t listening; it wasn’t about them, it became about me.
    This post attacked this attitude of mine so succinctly. Focus on how to serve, not how to impress – I really need to get this message in my head. Recently I’ve stopped over-preparing so much – well, I still do put in a lot of effort, but during actual presentations, I paused and listened better, and I don’t rehearse my speech too much so the tone was more spontaneous instead. The most surprising thing is that my anxiety actually went down when I prepared/ rehearsed less; somehow it gave me the lightness to laugh at myself if something went wrong. Still working on striking a balance (: Really could relate to this post!

    • Katharine Di Cerbo

      Great comment. Your self-reflection is admirable.