Perfectionism Can Cause Your Family Pain

One good reason to abandon perfectionism, or at least try to get it under control, is that your family and friends will love you more for it. Many pleaser-perfectionists find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They want to please; they work very hard at pleasing twenty-four hours a day, but at the same time they find themselves “getting on the case” of their spouses, children, or colleagues. In a sense, these perfectionists are “pleasers in reverse,” controllers who can make life miserable for everyone within earshot.

Thirty-two-year-old super pleaser Jill, perfectionist to a “P” and a firstborn daughter, had married at age twenty and had four children by the time she was twenty-eight. For the past seven years she had stepped into being secretary, office manager, and general girl Friday in her father’s insurance business. In effect, she ran her dad’s business for him so efficiently that he spent a great deal of time trying to bring his golf game into the low eighties.

A first impressions, Jill came across as “very together.” She had striking black hair and was very neatly and smartly dressed. She showed none of the impatience of a Type A personality. In fact, she came across as a very relaxed, sensitive woman who would make a good wife or friend.

But after a few sessions, I found another Jill behind the quiet smile and sensitive demeanor. Her sensitivity to others was really designed to hide her true feelings, which could be summed up in one word: anger. Jill felt she had to be nice to everybody, that it was her lot in life to please everyone.

When all was said and done, one of the keys to helping Jill change her life-style and cut back on her perfectionism was showing her that she was setting her goals far too high. In fact, her goals were out of sight. Not only was she running her father’s business, but she was also doing everything on the homefront as well, and she had problems entrusting anything to her husband, Manny. But when it comes to goal setting, I believe a good rule of thumb is that goals should be just out of reach, but never out of sight. We all want to stretch ourselves with worthy goals, but taking on too much can turn your “to do” list into a tyrant. You wind up trying harder and harder and enjoying less and less. And that stress almost always comes out on friends and family.

If that’s you, you can chose to turn over a new leaf, like Jill, who finally took a stand against her father and hired a babysitter/housekeeper with the raise he gave her. She realized that she didn’t have to do everything herself.

Don’t let yourself, and your family, be trapped by perfectionism. Believe me, taking a load off of yourself will take a huge load off of them too.

Want to learn more? Smart Women Know When to Say No is FREE in ebook only for one day only on March 13! Find it on your favorite ebook seller!

Attacking the Roots of Rejection

It is important for anyone who feels as if he/she can’t measure up to get at the roots of the matter—to examine his life-style and discover how and why this continuous cycle of “unworthiness” got started. Once that is understood, the next stop is to realize that life patterns can be changed, and that new, constructive attitudes and actions can be put in place of the old.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the old saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Well, that’s not quite true, but it is harder to redefine and reshape the life-style once a person has reached adolescence. Personality is like wet cement up until age seven, then it gets progressively harder. But even after it’s hardened, there are steps you can take to change your life-style.

For the most part, your life-style is a product of your environment. It consists of the way you perceive yourself in relationship to the significant people around you. All men and women follow certain life-styles, established early in life, which may be positive or negative.

Although, it might not seem that way, each child in a family can be considered to be living in a different environment, and so each life-style will be influenced by different factors. The family environment changes with the birth of each child.

For example, Betty was the oldest child, the apple of her parents’ eyes, who always did well in school and never did anything to cause her mom and dad to be embarrassed.

Rhonda, on the other hand, was the perpetual little sister, the one who always stood in Betty’s shadow and could never do anything—or so it seemed—as well as big sister could do it.

Betty’s environment was shaped by her role as the “golden child” of the family, whereas Rhonda was a frustrated underachiever, who soon resigned herself to the fact that she would never measure up to her sister. True to her expectations about herself, she never has. Both girls grew up, then, in totally different atmospheres that shaped the way they will see themselves and live out their lives forever—unless Rhonda sees that she does not have to be trapped in her life-style of failure and chooses to do something about it.

The more years I spend as a psychologist, the more I am convinced of the truth of that old saying “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”

The things that happen to us very early in life will shape the way we live out the rest of our years. Even if they live to be 120, most people will be following the life-style that was built into them by the time they were four or five years old.

So what is it that makes you feel unworthy? Even now, you can make the conscious decision to throw that out the window and start fresh!

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Find out more about your own life-style and how you can change it in Why Your Best Is Good Enough–on sale for $1.99 for a limited time from March 8-14 in ebook only! Find at your favorite ebook seller.

All It Takes Is A Little Belief

When I was young, there were plenty of people who didn’t think I’d amount to squat. My life’s philosophy was “I only count when I get other people’s attention.” And that’s exactly what I did. I was an expert at making people laugh, having a good time, and driving teachers up the wall. I wasn’t concerned with making the grade (my siblings already had that base covered), and my saintly mom was in school talking to the principal more than I was in class! My teachers all told me the same thing—“If you’d just apply yourself, Kevin, you’d do so much better” or “Why can’t you be more like your brother and sister?”—that is, all except for Miss Wilson.


When I look back, I count Miss Wilson, my gray-haired math teacher, as one of the top five people who really mattered in my life. She was the first one to tell me I had any skills. Just a few months before graduation, Miss Wilson cornered me and said, “You know, it occurred to me the other day, and I wonder if it ever occurred to you, that maybe you could use some of the energy you expend on these antics to really make something of yourself, rather than just being the proverbial class clown—at your expense, I would add.” This blew me away. It even made me angry at first. But her expression told me that she saw something in Kevin Leman that others didn’t, and so I gave her a chance. It was thanks to her help and tutoring that I was able to make the grades to graduate. Even when I was sure I was dumber than mud, Miss Wilson didn’t give up on me. Later, I would meet another wonderful woman who didn’t give up on me either—my wife, Sande.


My point is, we all have dreams, goals, and things we want to do with our lives. But it’s awfully hard to get there without any help. We need people who believe in us, who don’t give up on us, like Miss Wilson. When you’ve got a person who believes in you, you’ll find you have a lot more courage to try those things you never thought you could do. I always ask people when I’m speaking, “Who believed in you?” If you’re successful in any area, it’s because perhaps one person believed in you. If you had two people who believed in you, then you’re really blessed. Consider the people in your own life who’ve believed in you. Do they know how grateful you are? Maybe take some time to write them a thank you note and to provide them with some encouragement. Also, ask yourself what you’ve done to let the people you love know that you believe in them. Everyone needs to have someone who believes in them. As for me, if it wasn’t for an old math teacher, I might not be writing this.

For more encouragement and some tips on living wisely, turn to my books The Way of the Wise and Have a New You by Friday.

RELATIONSHIP TIPS FOR A STRESS-FREE 2012 (or as close as possible!)

Hi Everyone!  Welcome to my new website!  We worked hard to make the site user friendly and we welcome any of your comments.

We had a great Christmas, all of my five kids were home!  And in typical Leman style, we had fun.  It's great to have kids who love each other and love us.

Can you guess who is who?

At this time of year everyone is talking about resolutions for the coming year.  So I thought I would take time this first blogpost to give you some suggestions to make sure that your relationships with those you love most are strong and healthy!  I am sure many of you made a resolution to be a better parent or spouse… If so, leave a comment, tell me your goals!

Tips for parenting: 

1. Watch your expectations, make sure they are positive and not negative!

2. Make sure your kids get enough Vitamin E (encouragement) and some very essential Vitamin N which is No! Remember, if you love your child, you will disciple them

3. Rules are important but not the only thing that is important, relationships matter most!

4. Have fun with your kids, laugh at yourself, use the words, “I am sorry”

5. Finally, to put it bluntly do not take any disrespectful act from your son or daughter without significant consequences!

Kids have a need to please you.   They don't like it when Mom and Dad are unhappy.

As important as relationships are with our kids, the more profound relationship is with your spouse!  Now, realizing that many of you are single, stay with me because there are tips for you to come. For those of you who are married, here are some thoughts to make this year as close to stress-free as possible.

Tips for your marriage:

1. Ladies, remember he is the SIMPLE one!  As I have said many times, think of him as a four year old that shaves! His needs are simple.  He needs to be needed and wanted by YOU!

2.Guys, understand that your wife majors in relationships and communication.  She has the need to hear from you.  She wants to know your feelings that you have about, well… almost everything in life!  She needs to feel like your lovingly affectionate at all times!

3. We spend money on everything under the sun, I wonder how many of us invest our time and our money in our marriage? Want to do something for your family this year, take time to be a couple, enjoy a date night, consider joining next year's Couples of Promise Cruise! Those kind of investments play dividends for generations.

4. Do your marriage a great favor and make sure that your spouse and your relationship take precedence.

 Tips for relationships (including those of you you are single!):

1. Don't “should” on yourself — When you “should” on yourself, you are really putting down the masterpiece that God created in you. You truly are a one-of-a-kind!

2. If you have a critical eye– that is to say that you can spot a flaw, especially in the ones you love, in less than 10 seconds…. give it a rest!   And rather than pull up the negatives, look for the positives and use the words, “Good job!” “Nice going” and “I bet that makes you feel good inside!”

3. One more thing, if you want to see a relationship with someone you love improve dramatically, in less than 48 hours, stop asking questions!  It's like magic.  On that note, tuck the “why” word away and watch the relationship change before your eyes!

Two of my favorite scriptures come from St. Paul — Where in Ephesians 6, he says “Children obey your parents, it is the right thing to do!  Because God has placed them in authority over you.”

And in the preceding chapter, Paul writes these profound words, for those of us who are married, “Honor Christ by submitting to one another.”   These imperfect people that surround your life are God gifts for you!  Handle these relationships with care.

I have said many times that marriage and parenthood is not easy, but it is simple.  God does have a simple plan for our marriages as well as for the journey of being a good parent.

As a welcome to my new website, I thought I would start with a Giveaway! This one is simple. There are only TWO things you have to do to enter.

1.  Use the buttons below to share this post with your friends on Facebook and/or  Twitter.  Invite your friends, help us get the word out about this new site!

2. Leave me a comment on this post!  Tell me your resolutions this year.  How you are going to strive to be a better parent, husband, wife, son or daughter…etc.. Or just tell me what you think about the new site!

Friday afternoon I will select a winner, at random, to win 3 autographed books (Now, the books need to be in stock!) Don't forget to give your email in the comment section so I can get a hold of you! 

I wish you all a great  2012.