Are You a Closeted Perfectionist?
I’m curious: do you identify as a perfectionist?
Here’s why I’m asking. I’ve been hearing perfection as a theme time after time lately with my coaching clients, and I imagine they are not the only ones. Here’s how it typically goes:
Person is working on a project. Person stops, and isn’t sure why. After some exploration, person identifies that trying to get it “perfect” has completely stopped them from moving forward at all.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, you *might* be a closeted perfectionist.
Typically, our perfectionist tendencies have served us well: straight A’s in school, achievements and accomplishments in work and life, other people think we “have it all together.” Great, right?
Sure, but: perfectionism has a dark side. Primarily: IT. IS. PARALYZING. As in, if we can’t get it “perfect,” we don’t want to do it at all. And so we don’t. From there, we are left with lots of unfinished projects, brilliant ideas that have never seen the light of day, and an overwhelming sense of frustration, overwhelm, anxiety, and self-judgement.
Yikes. I’ve been there. In fact, even as I type this email, I am tempted to delete it all and send nothing instead, because I know for a fact that it is not going to be perfect. Oh, the irony!
Want to hear something funny?
PERFECTION IS A MYTH. Perfection is a construct that doesn’t even exist.
In deconstructing this idea with a client last week, we compared perfection to the monster under the bed. We can be literally paralyzed with fear by an idea that doesn’t even exist!
If any of this is sounding familiar to you, here are some of my favorite mantras and recommendations to implement:
Progress over perfection.
Take imperfect action, even though it’s scary.
Done is better than perfect.
Imperfect action is better than no action.
Go for “B-” work. (A+ students: I realize this one is hard, but you can do it!)
Perfection is a myth.
Give them a try, and let me know how it goes!