The Illusion of Perfection
"A life built on Perfection, will falter and fail, but a life built on Passion will weather the gail." - CM
Are you a perfectionist? I unashamedly will admit that in most areas of my life I am not a perfectionist. I am ok if the laundry isn't folded just right, or the dishes sit cleanly in the dishwasher. But I find that I am a perfectionist when it comes to putting things out there in the world to be judged.
Right now I am in the middle of planning a workshop, writing a book, and designing a course. Pretty busy right? The great thing in my world about being busy is that it prevents you from making too much progress on any one thing so you never really have to worry about finishing, and if you don't finish then no one can judge or critic you. Ahhhh I'm on to myself now.
The constant need for perfection is completely unattainable and yet so much of the world still strive for it. Just check your Social media feeds and you will have it shoved down your throat. All over Facebook and Instagram are images of people out there living their best lives. Perfectly attired with their hair and makeup done just right. They're driving perfect cars, have perfect jobs, and are perfect parents. No wonder we feel the need to be absolutely perfect. After all the whole world is watching right?
So what do you do when your need for perfection seems to gets in the way of actually accomplishing anything. How do you get yourself out of this mental loop that you find yourself stuck in? Well, I can tell you a couple of things that have worked for me during this time.
For me, the most important thing to do is focus on your Why! Why do you want to do what it is that you are trying to do? Find what it is that you are passionate about a focus on that. For me being able to provide a platform for women and men to come together to learn, grow, and feel not alone in their struggles is what I feel is my purpose because I know the impact it can have on lives. So understanding that providing that platform, even if it isn't perfect, is what is important.
Pick your priority. Write down all of the things you are working on, rank them in order of importance, and do the most important thing first. Give it your full attention, and finish it and then move on to number two. The name of the game is to get through your list. Not perfectly, but done!
Understand that you are not perfect, and neither is anyone else, so to expect Perfection is just a fallacy. Perfection doesn't exist so learn to be realistic when you set goals and tasks.
Eliminate overwhelm. Trying to do too many things because that's what a perfectionist is supposed to do will actually have a greater impact on the quality of the work that you are doing. You don't have to give up doing all of the things you want to do, just prioritize which task is the most important and put the others on the back burner until you have completed the first task.
Do some internal mapping. It's time to find out where the need for perfection originates. Were there messages in your past that helped you develop this need for perfection? Are you still trying to achieve the approval of someone? Maybe a conversation with your younger self is in order!
Take more breaks. Now I know this may seem counter-intuitive when you are trying to complete a task perfectly, but it actually helps. By stepping away from your desk for 10 minutes every hour, studies have proven that you can be not only more productive but produce better work. Our brains need some time every hour to go offline and reboot. So get up and stretch, take a lap around the hallway, or go refill your water bottle, just make sure you are pushing away from the task.
Learn to Say No!!! This is the hard one for a lot of people. We want to be seen as the person who can do it all, so when someone asks us to take on yet another task we say Yes. Well, it's time to start saying No to all of those extra little tasks that will interfere with our priority tasks. Your children won't suffer if you can't make cupcakes for the PTA bake sale.
By understanding that there really is no such thing as perfect and that it is just whatever story you have learned over your time here in this life, you can alleviate some of the self-imposed stresses that you are putting on yourself. Perfect really is whatever you choose for it to be. For me, it's laundry in the basket not folded because that frees up my time to both work on the things that will have a lasting impact on the lives of those around me, and give me more time to spend outside in nature with my dogs and goats who have no idea what perfection is other than a really good belly rub.
Remember that done is always better than Perfect, regardless of what that inner voice may be telling you!