Are you a perfectionist? A couple of years ago, if you had asked me that question, I would have laughed and told you I was definitely NOT a perfectionist! I don’t do anything perfectly! But guess what, I was a perfectionist simply because I expected perfection and always fell short of my expectations. Perfectionism is less about doing things perfectly and more about having extremely high expectations for yourself.
Perfectionism is a dream killer. It sets us up to fail because we set our expectations so high that we can never reach them. Instead, we get anxious and overwhelmed and put off the goal until we feel more prepared to achieve it. Of course, as you probably already know, we will never feel prepared. We will always feel not quite good enough or not quite ready enough, and whatever our dream is, it will languish in dream-land and never move into reality.
What is the best way to get past your perfectionism? I use a concept called B- work. B- work means creating something that is still above average, but it may not be excellent and it’s definitely not perfect. It’s a solid rough draft.
For example, if I have a class I am preparing, I can easily allow myself to spin in overwhelm because I have to teach ALL of the concepts, so my students will leave will ALL the things. But this just isn’t a reasonable goal. Once I realize I can’t do it all, I set a specific amount of time to plan the class, and I honor the time I set.
During my work time, I break the class down into what I would like to teach and how I will cover each topic. When my time is up, I put the project away and move on to the next thing. If I didn’t complete it, I will plan for another session on my calendar. However, many times, I complete the task in the amount of time I set simply because I was focused and aware of the time I had, and I told myself "better done than perfect!"
You can combat perfectionism the exact same way. Make a commitment to yourself to work on a project for a specific amount of time and then put it out into the world! If you’re waiting for the perfect words or the perfect draft, you will never reach that goal.
Think about how many imperfect products have served us in society. If Alexander Graham Bell had never invented that very first telephone, would we have the cell phones we have today? In fact, no one thought his first telephone was imperfect at all! It surpassed anything they had experienced up to that point.
While you may not be working on anything as life-changing as a telephone, it still can’t accomplish anything until it is introduced into the world. If you work with the goal of future EVOLUTION rather than present PERFECTION, think about the possibilities!
If you are ready to work on your perfectionist tendencies, schedule a free session with me on my website! Until then, much love!