Letting go of perfectionism

Think about something you consider to be perfect - maybe a film, or a book, or a celebrity, or a box of chocolate, or type of coffee, or a dress/pair of shoes/handbag. Does everyone agree with you on this? I would bet there are individuals out there that agree with you, but there are also people that either hate what you consider perfection, or just don’t care either way. Why is this? I think it is because we are all unique so have different tastes and ideas. And, I believe, this is a good thing! I think it would be a very boring world if we all liked the same things, there were no debates, nothing original that divided people into liking or disliking something - and we would all be going after the same things in life, so instead of living in a state of abundance, a state of scarcity would exist as we were all vying for the same limited resources. 

 

“No-one and nothing is ever perfect” - Boom Shikhra

What you consider to be perfect is not necessarily what others think of as perfect. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try your best, and give your all, but, what I am saying is you need to also put a perspective on this.

If, for example, you are want to be the ‘perfect’ manager, what does that mean to you? What are the expectations of your staff and your own manager? Are they all aligned? Are they reasonable?

Can you see that there is no such thing as a 'perfect' manager because everyone has a different idea of what this is, and that this will change over time and in different situations? What if I told you that maybe what you consider to be ‘perfect’ your team members don’t care about - they just need you to show up and be a ‘good enough’ manager?

 

“Done is better than perfect” - Mark Zuckerberg

If nothing is ever perfect, what are we trying to achieve? I believe, all we can do and be is our best with what we have at this moment. We can always improve but this is part of the process. Setting our own goals is important and I want you to achieve the greatness you are destined to, but I don’t want you to ‘break’ yourself in the process. Define your own ‘must haves’, but let go of the ‘shoulds’ - the expectations you set upon yourself that are unrealistic or part of the 'perfection illusion'; be kind to yourself and accept you are continually growing and you complete tasks and manage situations the best way you can with the resources you have at that point in time. Yes, a year later you might handle it differently, or create a different solution or outcome, but you then would have an additional year’s learning and experience - you are not the same person you were a year ago, so how you react, behave, act and think will also be different.

But if you are always waiting for something - your idea, your presentation, you, time - to be ‘perfect’ then you are unlikely to ever put anything out into the world. And without doing this, you are denying the world of your awesomeness right now!

 

“Don’t look back, you are not going that way!”

This is why I rate productivity over perfectionism. By keep being productive, you are moving forwards; you are learning and developing as you go - you can gain feedback and amend your approach/idea/thinking [if you feel the feedback is valid]. But you are getting your ideas out there, you are taking action, you are showing up.

 

Keep doing your best work, keep progressing

Here are my top tips on ensuring you keep moving forward:

 

  1. Remember your why
    Why did you want to take the new position? Why do you want to manage people? Why are you writing a book? Why do you want to present your ideas? Know your ‘why’ as this helps anchor you when you are feeling overwhelmed, or like a fraud, or that you can’t possibly move forwards as things are not perfect yet. It gives you resourcefulness to find the strength to continue, or to ask the right questions of yourself to find the answers to overcome the challenges you are facing into to achieve your real purpose.
     

  2. Find other successful people...
    ...and talk to them (or read their autobiographies)! Find out how they have done what they have done to try to shortcut your own learning. Get their knowledge - then evaluate and take what is important to you, make this learning your own and take action. What they are saying is not perfect, it is their truth at that moment in time. Now see if it is your truth. Has it changed your perspective in any way? Maybe it makes you think about something else/a different solution? If you don’t agree with what they say, that is okay - you are allowed to have different thoughts, ideas and ideals. But be conscious of this - think about why it worked for them, but won’t work for you.
     

  3. Deepen your self awareness
    Where do you get your energy? What do you love doing? If money wasn’t an issue for you, what would you spend your days doing? You may find out a great strategy for success that works for someone you admire (see point 2 above). Maybe they got their answers through meditation and self-reflection, and this works for them because they are an introvert - but you are an extrovert, so spending time alone drains you, and you get your energy from people, so asking for feedback directly and having a face to face meeting would get you the same (or maybe better) results for you. You can do anything that anyone else has done. Everyone is special but no-one is perfect! You just need to find your way of doing what you want and finding your way of being that is true to yourself.

 

I advocate being the best version of you, to always be looking to grow and improve, but to not let ‘being perfect’ paralyse you as otherwise you get stuck and stop taking steps forward as you are waiting for an impossible ideal before putting yourself out there - and what you consider as ‘not quite ready’ may be someone else’s idea of perfect anyway!

Remember what Mary Poppins tells you (and I totally believe to be true) you are already “practically perfect in every way”, so start showing up now, in all your awesome glory!