Why do I need to deal with perfectionism?
Because I am one. A perfectionist that is.
Yup..I’m a life coach who doesn’t have all their sh*t together and I’m ok with that.
Imperfectly perfect, normal, just like you. No better or worse.
I work on it. I firmly placed my perfectionist nemesis behind me for a few months but he came back when I wasn’t looking.
I’m also married to a perfectionist. Someone who is even more perfectly perfect than I am. We’re quite the comedy act, only sometimes not so funny, and as for the effect on our beautiful children….that truly concerns me.
Sometimes it’s handy having two perfectionists in the house. Stuff gets done. All the time. The smaller details are well taken care of and mediocrity…what’s that?
But it becomes a problem all too soon. It becomes a problem when we expect not only ourselves but others around us to live up to impossible standards. We become so critical of our own performance or efforts that we fail to try. Or we try, but deem it a failure because it is not freakin’ perfect enough!
At school, only A’s were acceptable. The one ‘Pass’ grade I got at university, was for statistics and I lied about it, because I felt ashamed.
Attempting my first Pavlova was an event shrouded in secrecy, just in case it failed or did not equal my mums. Forget about the fact that she has been making them for at least 30 years.
The truth is that nothing is perfect and nothing really needs to be perfect.
Understanding that ‘nothing is perfect’ is the easy part. Fully comprehending that things do not NEED to be perfect. This is where some of us struggle. This is where I struggle.
How do I deal with perfectionism?
(A refresher for myself and any other ‘relapsers’ out there!)
1. Focus on doing work that is excellent rather than perfect. When something is good enough – leave it, ship it, release it and see what happens.
2. Cultivate a “learning” rather than a “performance” mindset. For example – Make a list of all the positive things you have achieved this week, no matter how small, including your interactions with other people. Notice and appreciate the benefits of these experiences.
4. Set time limits. Tailor the amount of time you are going to put into a project and stick to it. Get really focused in that time and know that you are going to do a job that is good enough.
5. Put it in perspective – eg., “I didn’t ice and decorate the cake for Amy’s birthday. It’s going to be a rush job in the morning and will probably ruin the effect” becomes “I’ve almost finished the cake. All I have to do is give it a quick icing in the morning”.
5. Monitor your self-talk when you or others make mistakes. If you notice the gremlins coming out to play in your head, tell them to stop. Saying it aloud is even more powerful. Become aware of that negative self-talk and replace it with neutral or positive statements and affirmations. For example:
“I can’t do this properly” becomes “How can I do this? How can I make it happen?”
6.Stop worrying about the end result and attempt to enjoy the process. This may hep you become more productive.
7.Be patient and kind to yourself. Repeat and commit to change – every day.
Being human precludes the possibility of being perfect. But how often do we get mad or ashamed of ourselves for making a mistake? Errors unforgiven multiply. That’s because the shame we harbor over our imperfections affects our attitude. The more we think we should be perfect, the greater our chances of failure. ~unknown
Hands up any reformed or ‘working on it’ perfectionists? How do you deal with your perfectionism?
Image: David Allen Quote