Ep. 26: What Every Perfectionist Needs To Know

Perfectionism affects us all. Whether there are certain areas of our life where we think we need to get it perfect or it’s our way of life. It’s a funny thing too because as much awe think deep down inside it’s no good for us in many ways we actually stand behind it as if we’re somehow better for it.

It creeps up on us whenever we’re creating anything. Even this post, I wonder if I’m going to get it “just write”. The podcast that these show notes support, did I get that perfect? The answer is No and that’s okay. For perfectionism has stopped me from moving forward in life way too many times.

It’s why I decided to create this weeks podcast and why I think it’s important to share the truth behind perfectionism. It’s also why I decided to put out this weeks challenge in support of how we can live our best version of who we are.

Perfectionism isn’t something that helps us get to the next level. It’s not something that ensures we get to live our dreams. In fact, what we can be certain about is that perfectionism keeps us small, prevents us from building the kinds of relationship we desire, fulfill the dreams we long for, and ultimately live the kind of life we really want to live.

I’ve identified 4 things I know are true about perfectionism along with the lessons learned. For the complete story check out this weeks podcast on iTunes or listen to it directly here!

People Pleasures suffer from it: Those of us that suffer from people pleasing are usually perfectionists too. We figure if we’re going to make sure “they” like it then it has to be perfect. We don’t want them to think any less of us or to feel anything less than amazing all the time.

Lesson: You’re not responsible for how other people feel! If you press to hard on this you’re actually manipulating them instead of letting them actually feel whatever it is they’re going to feel. Do you want to be a manipulator? While pleasing others is a wonderful thing “People Pleasures” take it a step further and the driving force under it all is perfectionism.

You Are Enough: Often times we think we need to get it perfect because we’ve accidentally and unintentionally confused who we are with what we do! If it’s not perfect then that means that I’m not perfect. I can’t be less than perfect so I need to make sure this is perfect. No! No! No! This is all backwards!

Lesson: STOP THIS! When you were born you didn’t create anything and yet you were a good enough baby, right? Being enough is our starting place not something we get to after “getting it right”. Perfectionists never think they’re enough because they’re always trying to prove that by getting it just right (perfect).

You are Fallible: Part of being a whole person means you’re made up of many different qualities. One quality that you might not think is a quality is fallibility. This means you GET to make mistakes. Mistakes aren’t bad in and of themselves. Mistakes allow you to learn and to grow. Mistakes are opportunities for you to get back to being curious and create or be creative. Imagine if you got everything right all the time you’d never be curious and you’d probably stop creating eventually. The passion and the drive to create would be dried up as you’d already know exactly how it was going to turn out.

Lesson: The next time you beat yourself up for making a mistake, instead realize that this is actually what makes you whole. Embrace that and celebrate that and know that it is okay. Being a perfectionist actually convinces you you’re not whole by making you think it’s not okay to get it anything less than perfect!

Perfectionists are driven by fear: When you are in perfectionist mode you’re in fear mode. You’re preventing yourself from moving forward out of fear that it’s not just right. Perfectionism is the perfect disguise for fear because it leads people to think that you’re super caring or detailed. The reality is you’re fear is in the drivers seat and you’re in the passenger seat. That is no place to be when you’re the creator of your own life. 

Lesson: Think about progress, not perfection. You no longer have to let fear run your life and whether you want to call it fear or not if you’re a perfectionist then fear is in the drivers seat. I’m building my first online course right now. You better believe that perfectionism has shown up and I’ve had to be real careful about letting it take over! There’s a difference between caring and ensuring what you create is the best it can be and being suffocated by perfectionism. The truth is, if I let perfectionism take over I’d never release this course and both you and I would have lost.

ISA Weekly Challenge:

1. Think of an area in your life where you fall victim to perfectionism.
2. Remind yourself that you are not responsible for other peoples feelings.
3. Remind yourself that you are enough as you are and nothing you create is going to change that one way or the other.
4. Remind yourself that you get to make mistakes and that you enjoy staying curious and creative.
5. Go ahead and feel fear but choose to act based on something else, like who you are!

Remember, progress not perfection.

What things in your life are you a perfectionist about? What one thing are you going to get off your plate this week that’s been hanging around waiting to be just right?