High standards I admire just for the record. I have them. But, I don’t let them rule me or be my sole input in trying to achieve something. Being perfect is often confused as a synonym in partnership with excellence. They’re completely different. Practicing excellence and practicing perfection are not the same thing. Trying to be a perfectionist can be unhealthy. But, it can also hide something you need to grow.
It’s the fear of shame that perfectionism masks. Protecting ourselves from shame, embarrassment, and failure is what can drive us to work at being being to worried about perfection. With that however, our very self-worth becomes reliant on others approval. Our ideas. Our choices. Our behavior. Really anything we might try to accomplish.
The first thing I think we need to understand is maintaining the act of perfection is an impossible play. I’ve set a goal for my team of 0 wait time for getting to our customers. I know that making them with out any exception maintain that is impossible. I’d burn them out. Instead, it’s an aspiration to play for. Something to target. We’ll probably get really close to it, but I don’t expect us to maintain 0 wait.
Trying to be perfect can also drive us into life paralysis. We can become consumed by our ideas, creativity, and actions not being good enough for others to see or be a part of. Your very thought or idea that could change someone’s life by getting it out there might not even see the light of day if we let perfectionism have it’s way. I can’t imagine where this blog or podcast would be had I been to much of a perfectionist to put it out. I wouldn’t be here today doing this still.
So how do we become better and more self-aware of perfectionism so it doesn’t control the best parts of who we are? I don’t have the easy answer or a listical of top 10 ideas to share with you. What you can start with though is recognize it when it happens.
Recognize what triggers you to feel that way. Write it down and address it. Take a moment to set the tone with yourself why you are not doing what you want to do because it feels imperfect. Remember it is not for others, it is for your benefit to put it out. You don’t need anyone’s permission or approval other than your own.
You deserve to validate yourself and your work before anyone else gets that chance. There will be plenty of time to have others give you feedback along the way. For now, just rock out a little imperfection. It’s a gift.