Zoe Lynam on ‘healthy perfectionism’ to achieve your goals

Olympian Zoe Lynam says it is possible to achieve your goals through intrinsic motivation and pushing beyond your limits, while still maintaining balance.

Zoe believes being a ‘perfectionist’ doesn’t have to be a gruelling or detrimental journey through life. Personally, she’s transformed perfectionism into a process where she can push hard towards her goals in a healthy way.

Through her commitment and endurance, Zoe has achieved many feats in sport and business and is soon to be the CEO a professional services firm.

But this high performance can be achieved by all, with Zoe telling listeners on the Get Invested podcast that the key ingredient to her success is intrinsic motivation.

“Intrinsic motivation has always been the driving factor for me … and the absolute desire to succeed and be the best that I can be,” she told KnowHow founder Bushy Martin.

“It’s always been something that has sat with me. I’m my own worst enemy. I’m certainly my own worst critic, and I do things purely for the joy but also because I just feel that need internally.

“So it’s structure, it’s sacrifice, it’s motivation. They’re the biggest things.”

For those who may struggle with perfectionism, Zoe said you need to shift your mindset to one of determination and have a willingness to always improve, despite the difficulties.

“It’s an interesting place to be as someone who strives for that because there are certainly pros and cons to perfectionism, and I don’t really know if you can enjoy it on one sense without going through the cons on the other side,” she said.

“It was always there [for me]. It was just this sense of wanting to achieve more and needing things to be right … and looking at what are the areas that I might not be 100% in and how can I improve those? And certainly not at the detriment of running with things that I’m good at, but certainly trying to make sure that I can get across as much as I can and and achieve in all the areas that I’m focussed on.”

Through this motivation, Zoe believes individuals can achieve the seemingly impossible and push themselves beyond their limits – both in their personal lives and in the business world.

“It’s thinking about what is the threshold and how far can I push to get there? And then how far can I push to get through it?” she said.

“It’s about pushing the boundaries. It’s achieving as much as I can. It’s making sure that I’ve got a laser focus on the goals and where I’m going and where the business is going and what I need to do to make sure it gets there.”

Whether in sport or business, people should surround themselves with a team that shares these values.

“With others, I think leadership is really about taking people on the journey with you and really inspiring them and showing them why it’s important and having these collective goals that really resonate with them. And then they strive to also achieve the same thing,” Zoe said.

“So I certainly have expectations across the business, but I think they’re not unrealistic expectations because those who are playing and performing those roles buy in to the same culture and the same goals. So I think there’s a real big mutual benefit there from a business perspective.”

But Zoe said you still need to maintain perspective and have a healthy balance in your life. This can be managed through prioritisation and a support network.

“It’s about making sure you’re organised, focussed and that you prioritise … and I think you have to understand that there has to be balance. Always taking the time out to focus on health gives a real sense of calm and clarity,” she said.

“And for me, the biggest thing is the supportive environment I have at home. I have a wonderful husband who has always been supportive and helps me reach my goals.”

Listen to the full interview here.

Want to Know How you can build wealth with the help of leading, qualified experts? Talk to the team at KnowHow, now.

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