Letting go of perfectionism - a few years ago this would have petrified me. I felt I was strong BECAUSE of my perfectionism. Now I know I was strong DESPITE of my perfectionism.
Let me tell you why.
PIN THAT, YO!
As a kid I loved going to school. I was an A+ student and was praised for it. All through school and college I proudly called myself a perfectionist. Being diligent, stringent, and extremely detail-oriented, favoring quality over quantity, preferring to work alone, holding myself to high standards, and working in a structured and organized manner; those were just some of my perfectionistic tendencies.
You might recognize them in yourself.
I was convinced that these habits of perfectionism got me the good school results I got. Up until I entered the workplace that is. What I found was that corporate culture appreciates speed over diligence, quantity over quality, and group work in project teams over solo work. Needless to say, I was miserable.
My perfectionism didn’t help me anymore. In fact, looking back, it had never helped me. During my college years, my fellow students only saw the perfectionist shield I had put up. It stopped me from making authentic connections and friendships. Perfectionism was the shield I used to stop people seeing what was really going on on the inside.
I quickly realized I had to let go of my perfectionism. (And I did.)
Around the same time I became interested in the benefits of gratitude and I wanted to start a gratitude practice. (And I did.)
I realized I needed to make a Detour in my life. I no longer wanted to be The Perfectionist. I wanted to be The Gratefulist.
It’s been three exciting years filled with gratitude, vulnerability, connection, personal development, and growth.
These are the lessons I learned along the way.
I learned to do it anyway. To put myself out there. To experiment. Even when I’m scared or anxious. Even when my perfectionism kicks in. I found that the response is (almost) always overwhelmingly positive.
Another lesson I learned is to listen to my intuition. For me, it’s been crucial to learn how to make a distinction between intuition and perfectionistic fear.
I also learned to be open about my struggles. When I did so, the response was overwhelmingly positive yet again. What I feared the most actually made me more relatable, authentic, and human.
The biggest lesson was that there’s no growth without vulnerability. My new motto is that I’d rather do what I set out to do and feel vulnerable than give in to the fear of perfectionism. I’d rather be courageous and try something than give in to perfectionism and never put myself out there.
Those perfectionistic habits still creep in every once in awhile and that’s okay. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Keep the learning opportunities coming. Letting go of perfectionism was the best thing I ever did.
Now tell me, what's your perfectionist story?
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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.