THE BIG PROBLEM WITH PERFECTIONISM
Oh, hey, you gorgeous perfectionist.
I see you. I am you. I have and am actively working on banishing this so-called personality trait.
Spoiler alert: it’s not a personality trait.
It isn’t just who you are. Although most of us tell ourselves and others that very thing.
“I’m a perfectionist.”
Perfectionism is not an unwavering personality trait. It’s a core belief system.
And belief systems can and should be questioned as to whether they serve us in life.
Perfectionism is the core belief that you could always do better or be better.
And here’s why you should poke holes in your perfectionism. Meaning, you need to start asking yourself whether you want to keep chasing it.
The First Problem with Perfectionism
The never-ending chase for “perfect” keeps you stuck.
With the thought that you, or whatever you’re working on, need to be better before it’s “complete” or “done” will guarantee you cement your feet to the floor before you ever take a step.
And you know what perfectionism creates? Procrastination and mistakes and anxiety. Oh, my.
The Second Problem with Perfectionism
It’s a moving target.
Think about what you’ve resisted starting or completing because you want to make sure it’s perfect.
Maybe it’s a newsletter you haven’t launched because you aren’t quite sure what direction you want to go.
Maybe it’s an application to be a speaker that you haven’t submitted because you’re convinced you’re not ready.
Maybe it’s a promotion you haven’t put in for because you don’t think you’ve proven yourself enough.
Maybe it’s an outfit hanging in your closet that fits, but you think it really could look better if you lost 5 pounds.
Ask yourself, if you could make it or yourself perfect, what would perfect look like?
99.9% of the time, we can’t answer that question.
And 100% of the time, we wouldn’t have been able to answer that question before it was asked.
You’ve probably hit “perfect” hundreds of times and then changed the target.
We can see this when we finally hit the goal weight we’ve been striving for or the marriage we always wanted or got a salary bump that we originally thought would make everything feel better.
We constantly change the target because we don’t actually want to reach “perfection.” It was never about that anyway.
Which Brings Us to the Third Problem with Perfectionism
The underlying believe driving perfectionism is this:
We want to be perfect because we believe that if we are perfect, we will finally feel good about ourselves.
But we are using an unattainable goal. It’s a goal that will ensure we will, in fact, always feel like we could be more.
What if “perfect” is a lie your brain is feeding to you? What if it doesn’t really exist, and that’s phenomenal news? What if “perfect” always exists? What do you think you’ll attain if you reach perfection?
And then try on these beliefs like this:
“Perfect” is a made-up concept that my brain uses to distract me from my true work in the world (because I’m scared, and that’s ok).
Or this one:
I am all I will ever need to be in this moment, flaws and typos and misspoken points and all.
I will show up for myself and the world imperfectly, because I’ve got no time to be messing around with trying to be “perfect.”
Find a belief that works for you and repeat it to yourself whenever you notice you’ve stalled in pursuit of perfection.
See how you feel.
Notice that it’ll help you break the paralysis and start moving forward.
Your life is waiting for you.
You got this.