Hi friends, Wendy here! Welcome to the #perfectionistproblems interview series. My mission with The Gratefulist is to help creatives let go of their perfectionism and embrace their perfectly imperfect selves.
I’ve personally learned so much from other people's perfectionist stories and that’s why I’m sharing these stories in a weekly interview series on the blog, in the hope of helping you deal with your perfectionism. Reading about personal experiences is a powerful thing and I believe there’s so much you can learn from these stories and insights.
Today, I’m very grateful to share Kimberly Job from sublimereflection.com ‘s perfectionist story. Over to you Kimberly!
In what way does perfectionism show up in your life?
From the time I was very little, I was praised for performing. Unconditional love didn’t feel available to me all the time. I felt the most love when I did well in school, kept my room clean, and looked cute. On top of the expectations I felt, I had a traumatic experience that deeply affected my self-esteem. These two things combined created a crippling need in me to be perfect and prove that I was worthwhile through my actions.
Since then, perfectionism has shown up in my life in various ways. I’ve always been self-conscious about my weight and appearance. I’ve worked really hard to learn to love myself the way I am, but a lack of body love has been a recurring theme in my life. It’s kept me playing small and staying safe so I didn’t have to be seen. At certain points in my life it’s been bad enough that I haven’t even wanted to leave my house.
My entire life (until recently) I’ve only attempted doing things that I knew I was going to be very good at, because I couldn’t stand the thought of being average. This has held me back in many areas.
Perfectionism also shows up in my work. I spend more time on projects than I need to, because I want them to be “the best.” Perfectionism also keeps me from doing things (like video) in my business because I worry I won’t be good at it.
Why do you think perfectionism is such a dream killer?
Perfectionism holds you back, and more importantly, it makes you unhappy. I’ve achieved many things in my life that people would think are amazing, but I didn’t even enjoy the process, or the destination, because I was operating from the negative place of perfectionism and it never being good enough.
How does perfectionism affect your soul and success, both in work and life?
Perfectionism is crippling. There’s a false sense of safety, but it really just keeps me stuck and small. In work, it keeps me from making a difference for others because it keeps me too focused on myself. In my own personal life, it keeps me safe inside my comfort zone, which keeps me from growing. Right outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens, but it’s very hard to be perfect when you’re attempting something new.
What does embracing imperfection mean to you?
I used to call myself a perfectionist, as if that was something to be proud of. Now I realize that perfectionism is really all about fear. I was afraid if I didn’t do everything perfectly, if I let my true feelings, stories, hurts, and dreams show people wouldn’t like me. But, I’ve actually found the opposite is true. People don’t like perfection. People like real. So stop all the madness! Be vulnerable. Share all of you, even the messy parts. No, especially the messy parts. I’ve found it’s the messy parts that make people strong and beautiful. You (and me) included!
What’s the single most important thing about perfectionism that’s holding you back?
Perfectionism keeps me from making progress as fast as I would like to.
Tips and tricks about dealing with perfectionism? Share them!
I believe perfectionism is just a prettier name for fear. I’ve found methods of dealing with fear and anxiety also help with perfectionism.
It helps me to think of perfectionism as an emotion rather than a character trait. When I feel the need to be perfect come up, I remind myself it’s just an emotion and I can handle any emotion. Emotions are literally energy in motion -- thus the name “E-motion.” Any emotion you experience is like a wave passing through you, if you allow it. When I feel perfectionism (anxiety or fear) come up, instead of resisting it, I get curious. I try to pinpoint the cause of the fear and name it. I love the mantra, “Name it to tame it.” If I’m still feeling anxious, I pay close attention to where I’m feeling it in my body. I describe what it feels like. This takes my focus away from the fear. Anytime we use language to describe something it uses a different part of our brain and will help the emotion subside.
I actually use perfectionism, fear, and anxiety as a trigger to remind myself that these emotions mean I’m doing something important. Instead of using them as an excuse to stop, pull back, and stay small, I’ve conditioned my mind to use them as a trigger to go and keep moving forward.
Share a favorite quote or mantra that you use to remind yourself that who you are and what you do is good enough?
I love this quote from Steve Chandler, “Do it badly, do it slowly, do it any way you have to, but do it.”
WHO IS THIS PERFECTLY IMPERFECT, SOUL-CONNECTED CREATIVE?
Kimberly Job is an author, mindset coach, and mother of TEN! She’s passionate about planning, productivity, and personal growth and sharing everything she’s learning with her readers. She loves creative journaling, reflecting on life’s blessings and challenges, and using mindset tools to be a deliberate creator of her life.
Wendy, again! Phew, that was SO powerful! Thank you, Kimberly, for sharing your story so courageously. Make sure to show Kimberly some love in any of the places linked above.
Are you inspired by Kimberly's story and ready to let go of your perfectionism? Make sure to download my FREE perfectionism-busting workbook. Just click the button below!