This weekend I was bit by a bug. Not by one of the normal bugs I find on my hike with my dog like mosquito’s or bees.
I was bit by an even nastier one called
“The Perfectionist Bug.” Before it took me down I remedied it fast.
In this post I share along with a panel of awesome women with you so you can free yourself from its painful sting.
Do you take pride in being a perfectionist?
Do you wear it like a badge of honor you wear on your sleeve? If you were asked how much you give to any one thing, you would proudly say that you give 1000% to everything you do.
I get it. Been there, done that and still have to catch myself when I get bit by the “Perfectionist Bug.”
When we are bit by this bug it causes us to overwork, give too much ending in burn out. We do this because we put our self-worth in outcomes. Other symptoms are that it paralyzes us and we stay exactly where we were, however we now feel worse.
All we need to do is give 100% that’s really enough but when we fold into the mix our self worth then we are in danger of never being satisfied with anything. Go for good enough and see how much better you feel.
It looks like fear, not being ready, not knowing enough or even comparing ourselves to an older version of ourselves. It shows up outside as behavior and on the inside it hurts as we try to fix ourselves.
Tricky little bugger, don’t ya think? I recently read a great quote in Dwell Magazine by Hella Jongerius. “Perfectionism is Macho.” “And boring. I’d like to see the hand of the maker.”
I could not agree more. When we try to control an outcome and make it “perfect” it’s not organic or feminine. We squelch the hand of the divine and miss out discovering something special in a mistake.
Most of my mistakes actually ended up better than I intended and I was able to learn from them. Einstein got it, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has not tried something new.”
I’m going to break down the sneaky ways the perfectionist bug shows up. Feeling like you need some help from your outdated ways? Don’t sweat it you’ll get good gems you can use right now.
Fear for the perfectionist
You’re afraid to put your ideas into action, get started on your dream life or get out into the world and start dating. You say you are afraid but the truth is it’s because something is not perfect or right.
What if there is no right or wrong?
Suppose it’s perfect and you are perfect but you’re dealing with B.S.S. — belief system syndrome. It’s time to own that you are ready even if your ego is trying to protect you.
You can’t get hurt. My way to bust fear is to see it as: F*cking Exciting And Rewarding. What’s to not like about that?
REMEDY: What you can do is stop believing your thoughts and challenge your beliefs. Are you really afraid or is it you don’t feel it is good enough? For the next week hang out in this place feeling what is real for you then report back here and leave a comment letting me know how it went.
Not Being Ready for the Perfectionist
I’m not ready because _____________ . Fill in the blank. Excusitis my friend is rampant. Are we ever ready? We never think we are, then when we do it’s too late and we missed the train and beat the shit out of ourselves.
I want to know which is worse missing it or getting out there and learning how to swim?
We can get everything done and wait or we can get out there and work on it we go along. When I was working on my website I had to have certain things ready. But I wanted it to be PERFECT and the joke was on me.
When I surrendered and said we will get the main pages set then we can go back and work on the other stuff I felt so much better. We are always in process. We are always in evolution. We are always updating.
It never stops!
REMEDY: If this is you then check in with a trusted friend who BELIEVES in you. You can run whatever you are feeling is not ready by them. Then take the baby step and watch the next one show up.
Not Knowing Enough for the Perfectionist
I know this one. I wanted to know every last detail when I became a yoga teacher. I had to have all the “I’s” dotted and “T’s” crossed before I taught my first class. I remember like it was yesterday.
It was a New Year’s class and I went to take the class, then a fellow teacher suggested that I teach the overflow in the other room. You should have seen me. I was like a deer caught in head lights. What? I was not prepared and thought I did not know enough.
Guess what it was the best class ever and everyone loved it. I knew plenty and had to TRUST. You always know more than you think. Your real wisdom is in your body, your gut and your heart.
REMEDY: TRUST. When you feel you don’t know enough, turn to your heart and ask for the answer. Your body knows before you mind. When you are honest with yourself and own that you know more than you think you are in a good place to move forward. The key is to do what you are good at and Google the rest.
Comparing Yourself to a Past Version of Yourself
This one is Kryptonite and will pull you down. I hear this all the time. When I was younger I could do this or that perfectly. Before this happened I had the best life now I don’t know enough. (See how it plays out.)
Your past version led you to this version. Getting caught in that circle will stop you in your tracks. If you are out of practice then you get to choose to have fun relearning or releasing having to know.
You are in charge here not your past.
REMEDY: When you start taking that walk down memory lane to compare yourself to a past version of yourself, STOP it right away. Release the need to go there and see what you learned. Then, if you did learn some skills in something you did or a relationship make notes and apply to the next steps you are going to take.
You are not alone. I have many clients who say I cannot do _____________ because I am a perfectionist and we get rid of that fast. Now they can live free of perfectionism and create a life they love regardless of these old beliefs.
If you are waiting to be perfect, have the perfect life, partner, job, body, house then you are going to have to wait for a really long time. Or you can get an update in your beliefs and set up a 1:1 Clarity Session with me and get rid of the bug.
To show you that you are not alone and get some more wisdom around this topic I reached out to women just like you who decided to make peace with this part of themselves.
Have any comments or questions let us know below, we really love to have you in the conversation with us.
Meet an amazing panel of women who were happy to share their wisdom with you:
“I am continuously learning the lesson that our potential rests in our ability to step into the unknown and risk everything to be the person we are born to be. When I sway my expression even a bit to avoid ugliness I suffocate my beauty. The work of an artist is to allow life to flow and let the Legend unfold as the steps are taken. This requires Olympic level trust, commitment and willingness to look ridiculous.”
“Perfect is the enemy of progress, and even companies like Google eschew perfection in favor of progression when they launch new initiatives. When you look at Agile Design, a specific method for launching development projects, it really becomes clear that frequent finish lines are far more effective than long “pregnancies” that ultimately fail to “wow” customers because there hasn’t been sufficient testing and feedback. The mindset of perfect immediately makes everything disappointing. Approach with the idea of efficacy and curiosity; it inherently raises the bar and inspires better outcomes.”
“Perfectionism is a male paradigm that keeps us disempowered and oppresses our deeper, feminine nature. Perfectionism is your inner saboteur that tries to shout over the whisperings of your Authentic Self. Annie Lamott calls it KFKD radio. Change the channel, stop the self-abuse and attune to the whisperings that your Authentic Self is sending. Nature helps. You know yoga and meditation get you there. Answer this honestly: What do you most need right now to feel vital, in this moment? That question sends perfectionism on a hike.”
“Perfectionism is paralysis. In striving to be perfect, we put off (indefinitely) being our brilliant selves and sharing our gifts with the world in big and bold ways. Everyone has a Woohoo Within them that’s special, unique, and remarkable. When we give ourselves permission to be imperfect and share authentically, MAGIC happens. I’ll take magic over perfect any day!”
“I can’t think of a more important conversation for women to be having. In my mind, and in my own personal experience, PERFECTIONISM IS A CONDITIONED AND CHRONIC DISEASE that is killing our women. It must be eradicated with as much vigilance as the diagnoses it brings about: Eating Disorders, Self-Injury, Depression, Addiction, Co-Dependency and even Domestic Violence. Young women are all too often being raised to think their currency is in their perfection. We must teach them, and remind ourselves, to celebrate the wisdom that comes only from lessons learned, risks taken, and imperfection. ”
“Trying to get everything perfect before actually doing something is the fastest way to get a whole lot of nothing accomplished. The most powerful coaching I ever got from a mentor was being told to approach my aspirations with an attitude of “Ready, FIRE, aim!” And that approach has yielded miracles in my life. Stop worrying, planning, or wondering….get a little sloppy, go for it, and get moving. Take steps toward living your life fully now and make your dreams come true. Do it right now!”
“Perfectionism is a bitch. The most fun and wildly exciting experiences and opportunities I’ve had in my life happened when I just let go, and lived in the moment with an ambitious recklessness. When you stop worrying, and trying to be perfect… magic happens. You become unstoppable, liquid, and magical. There is no room for extraordinary creation in perfectionism. Creation breaks the rules and barriers to expand, perfectionism holds things in place and holds them back from growing. Smash it and be free! ;)”
– Nikki Jumper, Photographer — talk to Nikki on Twitter
“Perfectionism can be a bitch. Training for the Olympics I was infected with the perfectionism bug and didn’t even know it. Until I came to America and attempted suicide because I was super hard on myself …about everything. Lesson learned? Your soul is the master. Your personality is a servant trusted with the task to beautify and perfect your human adventure. Bottom lline: no matter what imperfections you make, the truth about who you are is unchanged. Now go PLAY. :)”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 3 years is that there’s never the perfect time to do anything…You just have to be perfectly clear about what you want and move in the direction…and share your experience with others along the way. When you do that, you get to clear the path in front of you of all those fears that were holding you back. Suddenly, you’ve got enough space to navigate to a life you didn’t think was possible (but secretly dreamed was)!”
Remember, you’re part of the conversation. What is your take? Let us know in the comments below!