Hey, fellow soul-connected creative! That headline made you bristle, didn't it? It's okay, you can admit it, I totally get it.
For years I thought perfectionism was something to be proud of. When I told people I was a perfectionist I said that with either a self-satisfied smirk on my face or an inward, silent smirk.
I was a good student (and was praised as such) and I loved learning and spending hours writing and rewriting papers and study notes. I thought double.triple.QUADRUPLE checking my work was what made me successful. I was convinced that my perfectionism made me an excellent student and made me get the grades that I got.
Being a perfectionist makes you feel like you're in control. It makes you feel like you're striving for excellence. But the truth is... you're NOT.
I'll tell you why.
PIN THIS! :)
On the inside I was crumbling. I was insecure that study would be the only thing I was good at. I felt like I didn't fit in. I used study as a way of trying to control a small part of my life as I felt so out of control in the rest of it. Perfectionism was the shield I used to stop people seeing what was really going on on the inside.
Let me bust some perfectionist myths for you.
Striving for excellence isn't what perfectionism is about. Striving for excellence would mean focusing on personal growth and healthy achievement: 'How can I improve?' or 'What are my goals?'. Instead, being a perfectionist means you're focused on the other and trying to win their approval: 'What will they think? Will they like me? Will they think my effort is good enough?'
Next time you think 'I need this to be perfect!', ask yourself why. Usually the answer is that you're scared that people won't like you, that it won't be good enough, or that you fear failure, disapproval, making mistakes, and/or being criticized.
Perfectionism is a fear-based response to insecurity and uncertainty. It is a thought pattern that goes like this: 'If I do this perfectly or have a perfect life or look perfect I am in control and therefore people can't hurt me or see me for who I really am.'
Another myth is that being a perfectionist is the key to success. But in fact, perfectionism holds you back. Fear hinders growth and achievement.
And that feeling of control? What you're really trying to control is how people perceive you or the work that you do. But you can't make other people like you. You can't control perception. [Unless, off course, you have some secret super power and you can magically put thoughts on other people's heads.]
Wear your talent
* Taking off my tough love boxing gloves *
Perfectionism is hustle and you're really doing yourself a disservice with it. And I think deep down you know this. Otherwise you wouldn't have made it to the end of this blog post. :) Looking back on all those years of me being a perfectionist hustler, it was such a waste of my time and my talent.
So let me remind you, in case you didn't know this already: you are an amazing person with so many talents, strengths, and qualities. Use those for good. Don't abuse them by becoming a perfectionist hustler. Wear your talent and not your perfectionism as a badge of honor.
If you need a little reminder about why being a perfectionist is a bad thing, then download the free printable checklist. Just click the button below.
Let me know in the comments, what's your perfectionism story?
Hi there! I’m Wendy, founder of The Gratefulist and host of the #perfectionistproblems community for recovering perfectionists. I’m insanely passionate about helping you let go of your perfectionism. Let’s chat about the hard stuff - like dealing with comparison, people pleasing, your inner critic & starting a perfectionist detox - so that you can stop caring so much about what other people think and finally take on those dream projects that you've been putting off for so long.