So…as I am about to share my thoughts this week on perfectionism, I am laying with my dog…he is perfectly still on my lap…all 85 pounds of him…cuddled up against me…showing me just how perfect our relationship is! Besides the birth of my daughter, that is about as perfect as life can be, right?
But in all seriousness, I will be the first to admit, I am a recovering perfectionist. I am not 100% sure when it all started or how it began, but for reasons in my younger years, I felt that if I was perfect…the perfect grades, the perfect behavior, the perfect quiet child…I would be loved. No one ever told me this, it was just feelings I developed through the years. And, once they were there, it was hard to break this belief. Yes, as a young adult, mother, and wife, I felt I needed the perfect life. Wow! What a lot of pressure I was putting on myself! And…honestly…on all of the people in my world. No one, and I mean no one, can keep that up forever and eventually something is going to break!
If you catch my online talk show, you can hear me talk more about my journey and hear from some women from all around the world who found themselves also dealing with this perfectionism situation….and a few tips on how to break free from this controlling thought process in your own life. But, today, I want to talk about how even if you are not perfect, can you still be amazing?
So, I started my journey in entrepreneurship last year…writing a book chapter, guest blogging, writing my own blog, publishing a magazine article, showing up live on social media, a YouTube channel, a podcast, and now an online talk show…and NONE of these projects are perfect! Yes, I may be harder on myself than others, but if you catch any of them, you see I am still a work in progress…I am still learning…and although I am getting better each day, not one thing I do is perfect! However, people are watching, reading, and responding to the work I am doing. I am receiving feedback that indicates that I am making a difference for others, having an impact on their lives. Would I call that amazing…yes, I think I would!
I work with teachers each day in my career and we all know that education is hard. What I see is that once we think we found the magic strategy that gets all students learning, something happens and we have to shift our course once again. I spend a lot of time in classrooms listening and watching the work our fantastic teachers do. And, last year, our state test assessment results proved that they are doing great things, as we went from a letter grade of a D to a solid B…in one year after the pandemic time! I would also say that is amazing! But the question is, are my teachers perfect? They are amazing, but there is not one of them on my staff (including myself) that is perfect. However, as you can see, students still continue to learn and grow…that’s the amazing part!
So, if you are stuck in the thought that you must be perfect to do anything well, how do we begin to change this? What mindset work do you need to do so that you can truly believe that what is more important than perfectionism is progress? Let’s think about this a bit.
- Although we should not set about to do something with a perfectionist mindset, we do want to know that we are giving our best. I know for myself, if I am going to do any new project in my life, I want to do it the best I can…it may not be perfect, but it also should not end in the result of being terrible. I think one of the first things we need to remember is when doing something, do your best…because if you don’t hit the bullseye with it, at least you are getting close!
- Reminding ourselves that fear has a way of playing with our minds. When we are afraid of failing, we tend to shy away from getting started. Leaving the comfort zone is scary…facing this fear can be overwhelming, but if we never try, we will never know what the end result could bring. Taking the first step is so important…even if you feel you will not be perfect. You never accomplish anything without getting started, right?
- Comparing ourselves to others happens so often…and rightfully so. Think about all that is out in the world through media. And remembering that most of these people we want to compare to are filtered to make them look as perfect as possible! Getting out of the perfectionism mindset will require you to stop comparing yourself to others. I suggest comparing yourself to you…getting 1% better each day than you were the day before. Think about that…1%…in 100 days, could that mean that you are 100% better than when you started?
Life is a challenge. Each day you will encounter ups and downs…and dealing with them is hard. Continuing to strive only for perfection just adds that added stress of expectations that we cannot always live up to. Spending time thinking about your own mindset this week is valuable. Are you a perfectionist? Or do you understand the importance of a little progress each day adds up to success in the end? I challenge you all to think about this as you progress through your week. If you do need support in figuring out where you are and how to begin living your best life, reach out! Until next time! Cheri ❤️
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