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Our Perfect Self


Who do you aspire to be? Do you want to be skinnier? Do you want to be wealthier or healthier? Do you want to be classier? Do you want to be more successful?

We all want things. And we all have a perception of ourselves as our most perfect self. Our most idealised self. And not often does that idealise itself align with who we are right now, today.

And that's OK.

Because it's more important to understand why you want those things, and to understand the reasons you want those things, and from there create a multi-channel strategy to achieve it. Because willpower alone won't work.

There are four key questions to ask yourself before knowing where to head and how to get there.

You'll Learn

  • Why will power alone won’t work

  • What deep work is and how it helps

  • How to consider your idealised self from different angles to find what will be fulfilling for YOU


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Episode Transcript


EP #65

“Do I need a life coach?” You’re listening to Episode 65, with Rhiannon Bush

Welcome to the Do I need a life coach? Podcast. We’re here to discuss the ins- and outs- of the life coaching industry and give you tools to use, to see for yourself. I’m your host, Rhiannon Bush. Mother, management consultant and a passionate, certified life coach.

I was working with a client a while back on weight loss. And we were doing some deep work and what came up for her, was that as a child she was told “you must eat everything on your plate”. She’d completely forgotten but when she remembered, she could identify that as a child, she was constantly told that and then as an adult, she’d do exactly that – eat everything on her plate. Even when the plate was full of food and she didn’t want or need that much food to eat.

Over the course of her life the way she’d been conditioned at a young age and carried on doing since then wasn’t serving her as an adult. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with clients where this same pattern has come up – whether it be with food, fitness, self-talk, discovery and exploration, salary negotiations, etc. Some of the way we’re conditioned when we’re young often carries through to adulthood and no longer serves us. But we don’t realise it’s not serving us until we’re unhappy, unfulfilled and often unhealthy because we’re eating or drinking too much to make us feel better.

An added bonus of being us means that we’re seek growth and we seek challenges and simultaneously seek staying the same. Our brain is in this constantly debate over what’s good for us now, versus what’s good for us in the future and while these signals and needs come from different parts of our brain, throw in external influences as well and it’s no wonder changing or living a life that’s on our terms, is no easy fete.

We’re wired to compare and the result of that is often us having an idealised version of ourselves where we’re the perfect weight, perfect look, perfect income, perfect job, perfect everything. That’s usually the baseline we measure to. Call it our higher self. Our perfect self. Our better self. Our idealised self.

And then there is our self. As humans we are perfectly imperfect, we experience both negative and positive emotions every day, which is very confusing because in our idealised version of ourselves, we would be happy and peaceful and calm and accomplished all the time. Like the royal family for instance, right? I was slouching over my food at the dinner table the other day, I was feeling very tired, and my posture was slouched over with my elbow up on the table. In that moment I thought “how would Kate Middleton eat?”. There’s no way she’d slouch, slurp, burp, have large spoonful’s… it was an interesting thought though. And it’s celebrity status right? Today we get access to painted pictures of perfection through social media. Never hair out of place, never a bump of cellulite, never a pimple or a blemish, never doing normal human stuff. That’s how we are taught and condition that we are supposed to be. So there I was slouching over my dinner eating like maybe a bit of a slob because I was just needing to hold myself up and I thought well there’s no way Kate Middleton would eat like this.

But the beauty about your life is that it’s yours. You get to choose and design your life with conscious thought and energy if you want to. When you have a greater understanding of how our brains work – the debate I was talking about earlier and how our past has such an impact on our present and therefore our future, you get to stop and recognise what it is you want to change and what it is you want to have stay the same.

What is really going to make you happy? Most people in their idealised self think that we want to be happy all the time. So they work and work towards that, only to constantly fail and decrease the trust they have with themselves because guess what? We will always experience the rainbow – the positive and the negative. It’s how we’re hard-wired. And while yes we can be more positive and make changes overtime, we can look at things differently, our brains are wired for caution and fear to keep us safe.

So it’s important to recognise your idealised self, the things your idealised self has that you want, and the purpose for which you want to make those changes.

For instance I love to have a wine and I also love chocolate. My idealised self would never drink alcohol or have some chocolate. And the reason for that is actually health. Which is an incredibly important reason. There’s no need to drink wine. There’s no need to have chocolate. There are no health benefits of consuming those things. But actual Rhiannon, real-life Rhiannon going about her life, thoroughly enjoys celebrating the end of the week with a glass of wine. It’s rarely more than two glasses, but that’s how she likes to celebrate. And have a bit of chocolate here and there. In my own life, I've noticed that while I've reduced my alcohol and chocolate consumption, there are moments when I miss the relaxation and joy they bring. I can be relaxed and happy during long periods of abstinence but this internal struggle raises questions about whether I'm making changes in alignment with my health or societal ideals. Is there a need to completely forgo these pleasures when they can bring moments of celebration and enjoyment?

Deciphering where you are now, and what your idealised self has – A to B, and then finding that middle-ground and doing things consciously will help you find the compromise and in a way that doesn’t feel depriving or like the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction to where you are now.

The thing about comfort zone is exactly that – it’s comfortable. And our reptilian brain loves it there. So when we then try to change too much too fast – as in we ‘jump’ out of our comfort zone, we can sustain it for a short period of time but inevitably get to a stage where it’s too different to be sustainable and we’ll jump right back into our comfort zone, often worse off. Because we then have a reason to beat ourselves up and criticize ourselves for not doing the thing we wanted to do. I talk more about comfort zone in Episode 56.

I have a girlfriend who got a high cholesterol score from the doctor, and immediately went vegan. She has incredible will power but it’s exactly that – will power. And we all know will power is great for short bursts of activity but not for sustainable and lasting change. Why?

Willpower, often defined as the ability to resist short-term temptations to achieve long-term goals, has its limitations. While it can be a valuable tool in certain situations, relying solely on willpower to bring about significant and lasting change may prove challenging for several reasons:

Willpower uses our dopamine and other hormones in the brain that are finite. Throughout the day, as we make decisions, resist temptations, and navigate challenges, these resources become depleted leading to a decrease in self-control and willpower. Because of this, stress and fatigue impact willpower because when we’re stressed and tired, we don’t have the energy to exert willpower.

If you’re anything like me, when it comes to your idealised self you get all fired up, motivated, you know where you’re going and the changes you want to make and consequently overestimate the ability and impact of your willpower. This looks like setting unrealistic goals or trying to change too many habits at once, going too hard too soon which doesn’t work. Instead, it often leads to burnout and again, that excuse to criticize and demoralise oneself.

Successful change often involves planning, goal setting, and creating a supportive environment, as well as relying on willpower. Our environment also plays a significant role in our ability to exert willpower. If certain behaviours are deeply ingrained as habits, we may act sub- or unconsciously. Negative emotions, such as stress, anxiety, or sadness, can weaken your ability to resist impulses. So emotional regulation is essential for maintaining willpower. Willpower often involves choosing delayed gratification for long-term goals over immediate rewards. However, when presented with something that will provide immediate pleasure or comfort, it’s often really appealing to have that and get that instant fix, instead of sticking to our longer-term goals.

Then there’s also our self-talk, if it’s negative it’ll often override our willpower and undermine us. So.. many reasons willpower alone won’t work and that a combination of strategies and planning will be required to implement lasting change.

Is this making sense? Have you ever felt so frustrated and upset with yourself because you make the effort, and actually take action, to achieve what you want and who you want to be, only to fall off the bandwagon and revert back to how you were before? Doesn’t it suck?!

Let’s circle back. Our primitive brain, designed to keep us safe from threats, tends to gravitate toward the familiar and comfortable. It's an instinctive response that has been hardwired into us for survival. But what happens when the conditions of our comfort zone were established during childhood and no longer align with our desires and aspirations as adults?

As adults, we often find ourselves wrestling with discomfort and restlessness because we are no longer satisfied with the status quo. This internal conflict can lead to various coping mechanisms, such as overeating and excessive drinking, to seek instant gratification. While our reptilian brains might be content with the sedentary pleasure of sitting in front of the TV, our higher-functioning adult brains desperately want accomplishment and progress.

This paradox introduces two versions of ourselves: our idealised self and our actual self. The idealised self is the version of us that we envision as perfect, complete, and embodying our highest potential. It's the image we hold of ourselves at our very best. In contrast, our actual self is the person we are in the real world, navigating life as perfectly imperfect human beings.

We often perceive our idealised self as a state of constant happiness, peace, and achievement. In our idealised version, there is no room for negative emotions or imperfections. We've been conditioned, through media and so on, to believe that our higher self should embody all the ideals of perfection. And how much pressure do you feel as I say that? How heavy and strenuous does that feel?

Here are some questions for you to consider:

What does "perfect" mean to you?** Begin by asking yourself what your idealised self represents. Is it a state of happiness, peace, achievement, fun or some other characteristic?

Will perfection lead to happiness? It's an essential question to ask whether striving for this idealised self, will genuinely make you happy or whatever it is you want to be? Many people believe that achieving this state will eliminate all negative emotions, only to discover that it doesn't.

If you were to sacrifice that instant gratification and move closer to your idealised self, would it be worth it, even if you still experienced emotional highs and lows when you arrived?

Why are you making these changes? Is it health, happiness, longevity, social conformity? Be truthful in your answer and as long as you’re content with your answer, that’s all that matters.

Ultimately, it’s important to consider the motivations behind our desire for change and understand whether our pursuit of perfection aligns with our genuine well-being. Balancing our idealised self with our actual self requires thoughtful reflection and self-compassion, and embracing the reality of our emotions and imperfections can lead to a more measured approach on the way to becoming our idealised self.

Have a great week and I’ll see you next week.

Hey! Before you go, I always find reviews really helpful when looking for new information or insights…

I you’ve found this podcast valuable, please take a minute to write a quick review about what you’ve found most beneficial for you, so other people can benefit from your insights, and listen in too. I would LOVE that!

Also, if there are any topics you’d like me to cover specifically about life coaching or the life coaching industry, visit to contact me. Thanks for joining and I’ll see you in the next episode of Do I Need A Life Coach?!

Please note, this transcription may not be exact.

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