Letting go of “perfect” and moving on.
“Oh, I’m just such a perfectionist”.
“It’s hard to be me, I need to be perfect.”
“My biggest flaw? Oh, I’m a perfectionist.”
We’ve all heard someone lament about how hard it is to live up to their own standards and expectations because of the big P that so many of us wear like a badge of honor. Oh, to be afflicted with having to be soooo good! You couldn’t possibly understand. *tosses hair annoyingly.* Perfectionism is chasing a standard so high that it only leads to inaction, dissatisfaction and a bad reaction (from everyone around you… perfectionists are frankly annoying to be around). It’s also feeling constantly judged and a little suspicious of others, even when they are being flattering and kind. It’s not being able to take a compliment, celebrate a success or give yourself a damn break. It’s also getting stuck in “not quite ever good enough”, because of a debilitating fear of trying your best, but failing.
Perfectionism is probably the biggest “ism” discussed at casa Stark. My husband came to terms with his own perfectionism a few years back. Suddenly, the reasons why he procrastinated, had blocks around his goals, and had constant indecision all made sense… he felt the need to do it all perfectly. As an extremely high-performing student, he felt the need to keep a perfect GPA throughout his entire academic career, even long after his desire to pursue his field waned. He grudgingly got his PhD and went on to create things he felt passionate about, but constantly ran into roadblocks of his own making. Maybe it was trying to create in a realm where grades aren’t handed out and there are no exemplars to hold his work to, but for a while he had a really hard time managing to get the work out. Until he came to terms with his perfectionism and decided to learn how to produce work despite it.
His self-sabotage is something most of us can relate to. How can you put any work out there in the world feeling it’s less than the best? I run into this issue all the time. I don’t blog as much as I should and would like, because in the last year or so I’ve had a hard time with feeling inspired to write, and my clunky sentences frustrate me. “I know I am better than this…and if I’m not constantly improving, then I will hide myself. Must. Keep up. Appearances.” It’s the same with creating anything for my business.
Perfectionism is what has been keeping me doing the Stark thing the same way for nearly 5 years now. It’s really good. It works. I enjoy what I do. It’s not perfect, and that annoys me, but why fix what ain’t broken…especially if changing anything could lead to failure? But ultimately I have come to terms that I absolutely need the change, and I know that if I move forward without fear I can not only have more fun with Stark, but serve my customers better. I can’t keep things the same just because they are working ok, at the detriment of not moving forward.
So for the better part of the year I have been weighing out if my desire for change is because I am being a perfectionist, or if it goes against my perfectionism and in the bold and scary realm of being a ballsy entrepreneur with a thirst for innovation, change and progress (on my own terms)? Do I want change because I’m dissatisfied with imperfection, or am I flying in the face of unattainable standards and embracing my creativity? I’ve realized that actually, it’s both. I’m not going to get anything perfect, ever. It’s impossible and frankly, laughable. But I can use my skills the best that I can (imperfectly) and keep moving forward.
Which is exactly what I have chosen to do.