In the past 5 years, I’ve made a regular effort to let go of perfectionism. Perfectionism at some level is alive and well in all of us, no matter how much we’ve retrained our brains. Some of our primal instincts have us hardwired to seek approval from others. We’re built to desire inclusion and praise. From the time of early childhood, we have had teachers and parents teaching us how to survive and exist in society. If we didn’t learn to listen to parents, running in the street or playing with power outlets could have threatened our survival. By realizing how our perfectionism is triggered, we become much stronger in moving past it as quickly as possible. This is how rapid growth occurs, both personally and professionally. If you’re a recovering perfectionist like me, you may want to consider the following phrases and how they set you back.
Perfectionism can appear as a feeling. It can be the crippling anxiety that leads you into a quick meeting with your supervisor or an interview. It can be the reason you don’t finish a project or goal. Perfectionism is often sitting on your lap when you’re about to push the “live” button on Facebook. It can be difficult to overcome the feelings associated with perfectionism, however, it’s not impossible.
When you recognize that you’re being held back by the “P-word”, replace it with another P-word. Progress. Every single day I remind myself that progress is most important. The next time I find myself experiencing self-doubt, I simply say, “Progress over Perfectionism,” and it gets me moving.
Here are examples of the thoughts you may think that actually stunt your progress and keep you in a place of self-doubt.
- “I’ll start doing public speaking once I have 10 years of experience in consulting.”
- “I’ve learned to place implants but I’m not ready to offer this to patients until I have more experience. I don’t have time to get experience because I’m busy treating patients.”
- “I’ll go live on Facebook later when my makeup looks better.”
- “I can’t just switch careers now.”
- “I’ll start dating when the time is right. Of course, I want to be with someone special, but I’m not ready (for potential rejection).”
- “I’ll refund all your money because I’m afraid of someone not liking me.”
When you experience perfectionism in your day to day life, remember it’s not a positive attribute. In order to experience progress, we all must recondition ourselves to overcome this part of human nature. If you’re wearing your perfectionism as a badge of honor, it’s time to let it go and get going. If you’ve ever been hesitant to put yourself out there through marketing because you’re afraid of what your colleagues will think, let it go. You deserve to experience life without the shackles of being perfect.