It’s ironic that I’ve been sitting on this post to write for ages, yet haven’t go going with it because I’ve wanted to be in the right frame of mind and make it a decent one….
Today I’m going to talk about perfectionism and how I’ve found it can hold me back, and what I’ve done to try and counteract it.
Despite being an overall confident sort, and someone who will muck in and have a go at most things, one of the things that I’ve realised in recent years is that I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. I want to do everything to a high standard, can get extremely stressed if my house/diary is in a mess, and get cross with myself if I think I haven’t done my best (I know, everyone line up to be mates with me *waves hand*).
You’d think being a driven perfectionist would have me soaring the great heights in most things that I turn my hand to, but actually it can often be a HUGE hindrance. By having a perfectionist mindset, in particular in a work and blogging setting, I’ve often wasted hours of time trying to get a ‘perfect’ result when actually ‘good enough’ would do and be a better use of precious work time (especially when I’m juggling kids and part-time working hours). Either that or I’ve found myself with an all-or-nothing mindset, meaning that I’m paralysed into doing sweet FA as I’m worried that the eventually outcome won’t be ‘good enough’, which rationally I know, is ridiculous.
I even sometimes haven’t been able to read other blogs for enjoyment (something I’ve always loved to do), as I haven’t wanted to be influenced by somebody with a cracking one and then have the fear that I wouldn’t be able to churn out something as good (especially if they write in a similar niche to me/have a similar style). Again, ridiculous, as I love being inspired by others and have made many friends online, but it really does show how a perfectionist’s mind can work.
So what do I do to try and ditch perfectionist tendencies, and just aim for ‘high achiever’ instead?
High achievers still strive to do well, but enjoy the process without all the angst. One of the best quotes I’ve heard is:
“Doing something is better than nothing”
Which in my world means just starting bashing something out on the laptop (it can always be edited later), as I find that once I get going, everything is actually okay. It means picking up the camera and snapping away, as the more you shoot the better you inevitably get anyway (and reminding myself that it’s okay to not be Rankin instantaneously!).
It’s kind of funny that this has manifested itself in my working life as I’ve got older, as it doesn’t tend to affect me in any other area, and as a teen/uni student I certainly wasn’t diligent at all. How I’d LOVE to go back to uni now though, it would be firsts for modules all the way!
I also make a point of saying to my older children
“Practice makes better” instead of the usual “Practice makes perfect”
It’s important that they learn that the process is just as important as the result.
Whilst it’s not all negative having perfectionist traits, I believe it hinders and impacts learning and progressing (because you’re too scared to do things) as well as lowering your confidence because you’re worried about putting yourself out there (and not because you’re a shy and retiring type).
I’m really trying to let go of this recently acquired habit and just focus on enjoying myself and my work- otherwise what’s the point in doing it?!
Have you suffered from perfectionism in any area of your life? How has it helped/hindered you? I’d love to hear!