the nasty P-word, and 3 things you should know about it

I want to talk to you about the ugly P-word: perfect, and how it holds us back.

I remember when I was young and just starting to experiment with make-up.

I would spend at least an hour each morning staring at myself trying to get my make up on right. I still remember how frustrated I would get trying to get it just perfect and have a specific memory of doing my eyeliner over and over again trying to make the line straight until my eyelids became red and puffy.

I was hot, angry and extremely frustrated.

My mom was yelling at me from the bottom of the stairs reminding me that it was time to go to school and I was feeling desperate and on the verge of tears just trying to get this damn eyeliner right. Of course no one would have noticed but me, but I definitely did and fought to get it right.

This was just the beginning of frustration, false starts, and pressure that started to build in order to be perfect.

Perfectionism reared its ugly head in all-nighters doing school work, body shame and insecurity. I think now at how many jobs I wanted to apply for, but never thought I had enough of what I thought the employer would have wanted to even hand in a resume. I believed that I had to pay my “dues”, or know more before I would be considered, even though somewhere inside I knew that other people doing the job weren’t a whole lot different than where I already was.

Even within my own business I held back.

I felt I needed to have already mastered something before trying it out (read that again, it makes zero sense and I know you do it too), or I felt I needed a larger audience before I could start writing (so tell me again where that audience comes from if you don’t engage with them? Again zero sense), and the worst sin of all was feeling like I had to have the full picture before I could start (we can never predict what’s going to come up, just start).

And all of those sad subconscious beliefs came from wanting everything to be perfect.

I remember early on in my coaching career, my coach Sandi would say to me, “who are you ripping off by not shining your light?” She always busted me with that one, and got me moving forward because it’s entirely true.

The world doesn’t need perfect. Feel free to tweet that.

It needs passion, it needs love, and people who are interested and engaged with the world, not just watching on the sidelines hoping no one’s sees how badly they are messing up.

Life is messy…and exciting. And everything you hoped it could be and more.

You absolutely can design your life and live it on your terms. It takes some bravery though, because it means letting go of some yucky beliefs and trying on new things.

It’s so easy to go crazy to perfect something that means a lot to you.

This year, I spent honestly 2 months writing a talk that I gave this spring. It was one of the hardest things I have done so far. Not the public speaking part, although that was an eye opener for me too, but the preparation. I had somehow made giving the talk about me and which made it personal and raised the stakes too high. Here’s what I learned through that process:

1) Perfectionism is the killer of joy.
Because I spent so much time trying to get this talk “right,” I was stressed out, and hating the process of something that should have been an exciting opportunity for me to share what I’m most passionate about. When we aim for perfection, we kill the fun factor no matter what we are doing. And besides, not one person would have known if this was “perfect” or not, except me.

2) Aim for good enough.
I wrote and rewrote that talk I don’t even know how many times until the words flowed and it sounded more like how I wanted it to. Shockingly (sarcasm here), I got up there and of course didn’t read it word for word, I shared what was in my heart. What I learned from that is to aim for good enough, and let go of the rest.

3) Done is better than perfect.
A few weeks before this talk I was actually ready to cancel it. I even tried. I was so stressed out that I wouldn’t get it to come together in time that I was ready to walk away from a ridiculously awesome opportunity that was literally placed into my hands with a bow AND cherry on top. It took everything I had to push through and just get it done, even though I had massive resistance because it wasn’t perfect. Had I given up, I would have let myself down, and all the incredible people that made the event happen in the first place.

Here’s the thing, the talk was not perfect.

Far from it (my husband informed me that I dropped the f-bomb 15 times), but I learned A LOT both from the preparation and from the delivery. I would have never gotten that deep hands on learning had I not pushed through and just done it.

Learning how to do new things is hard, risky even, but if we aren’t willing to put our best efforts in and then let go, we limit our growth and our potential. 

Perfection keeps us small, and as Sandi would say: we rip the world off from our gifts and our light.

I implore you start creating your life, and walking your path now, you have 60 days before the New Year. 60 days to start something new, 60 days to complete something waiting to finish, and 60 days that you could get clear on your purpose. You don’t have to wait. Even if you never work with me, I invite you to start now and invest in your future. Don’t wait for perfection, or the perfect moment, it doesn’t exist. Just get moving!

Now, I want to hear from you: where is perfectionism limiting you in your life, and how do you work with it to push through? Join me in the comments below.

Do you know of someone who should join our Sisterhood? Sharing is caring! Share this on Facebook, Tweet it out loud, or forward to those you love. You can be the light in somebody’s day…you already are in mine!

Thank you for being the light that you are!

Love and Light,
t

2 replies
  1. Eilidh
    Eilidh says:

    Thanks for this thoughtful article, Tina! I, too, have been paralyzed by perfection, and missed opportunities because I was afraid I wouldn’t be perfect. Hearing that you have a similar challenge, makes me realize that all of us do even though we can feel that we are alone in our fear. Thanks for sharing, Tina! Eilidh

    Reply
    • Tina
      Tina says:

      Eilidh, thank you. Perfection creeps up on all of us sometimes. Yes, even me! You are definitely not alone with this one!:)

      Reply

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