Perfectionism is a bitch.
There is no nice way to say it. Perfectionism is the pits.
If you’re reading this, chances are you are a go-getter, a striver, a dreamer-of-dreams.
Chances are, you’ve also left your biggest dreams on the shelf.
Not because you can’t. But because you’re scared. Because perfection made you.
The worst part?
Instead of seeing perfectionism as the beast that it is, we idolize it. Hold it up in interviews as our best ‘worst’ quality – wink wink. We all do it. I certainly have.
When they ask us – What are your faults? We reply, all coy and bashful – Oooh I’m such a perfectionist.
As we say it, we’re signalling – Please read that as – I am obsessively detailed oriented and will work my tail off above and beyond.
But really, what it means is that we’ll settle for less than we’re capable of, because perfectionism is not an asset. It is a disease.
See, when you are first starting, perfectionism comes at you from the left –
You can’t do it! You’ll fall on your face. Everyone will know you’re a fraud. Who are you kidding, you don’t have what it takes. You’ll start and you’ll never be able to follow through and you’ll look like a total ass.
You know how it goes.
But maybe, just maybe, you’re able to push through, smack ‘er upside the head and charge onward – well then she comes at you from the right.
Oh, yes you can do this! But it has to be BIG. In fact, it has to be THE BIGGEST! Go big or go home, right?
And next thing you know, you’re shaking’ your pompoms right along with her – squealing like a teenage girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.
(Do teenage girls like them? I have no idea. We’ll go with that.)
You’ve been there. I’ve been there.
And we all know what comes next.
Perfectionism asks us to do the impossible
And when it does, what happens?
We don’t even start, because now our goal is so damn big we just can’t even.
Or, maybe we are lucky enough to summon some courage and careen into the unknown like a teenage girl crowdsurfing at a Jonas Brothers concert . . . Do kids still do that? God I feel old.
But you don’t.
You just stand there on stage, stare blankly, make a fool of yourself and exit quietly stage left.
Speaking of crowdsurfing . . . that’s a transferable skill (really)
Crowdsurfing is like doing a trust fall with a shit-ton of people you don’t know.
It takes chutzpa . . . you leap into the vast unwashed unknown . . . and sometimes the vast unwashed unknown promptly drops you on your head.
Sometimes it picks your pockets. Sometimes it grabs your ass.
But sometimes – more often than not, in fact . . .
If you surrender to the sea of life beneath you, you will float, suspended.
And it is – to your 16 year old heart – the Best. Thing. Ever.
As a grown-ass woman, the closest I’ve come to feeling that way again are the times I kick perfectionism to the curb.
So how do we make that leap? Bridge the gap between the sidelines and surfing the waves of the unknown?
You tell Perfectionism and her BFF, your Inner Critic, to shove it, and you do the exact opposite of what she’s banging on about.
First trick? You make your goals as tiny as possible.
Ridiculously small. Embarrassingly so. And then make them even smaller.
And then you go out and you crush them. And it will be easy to do, because, remember, they’re teeny tiny.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
Focus on consistency and the shit you can actually control.
That means instead of setting a goal to achieve a massive percentage increase in your mailing list members, you set goals like – post 10 new pins to Pinterest a week, linking back to my opt-in freebies.
It means setting a goal to write 50 words a day, not 5000.
It means practicing the art of showing up. Consistently. Even when you don’t feel like it. Especially then.
It means not shaming yourself if you only write 50 words, but instead celebrate each day that you can check off in your habit tracker.
What we focus on, we create more of.
So don’t listen to perfectionism or your Inner Critic.
Watch the tiny habits slowly pile up, and they will become their own proof and protection against perfectionism.
You will have this ever growing collection of things – writing, paintings, names on your mailing list . . . that will be a constant, ever-expanding reminder of the fact that you CAN do this shit.
And that, my dear, is exactly what you need to do if you want to flip perfectionism the bird.