“What if I fail?
Oh, but darling, what if you fly?”
I am a work in progress. In a lot of ways of course but specifically in the sense that I am a recovering perfectionist. I know, I know… seems like a laughable problem and until not too long ago I would have agreed with you. It was not until I realized just how controlled by perfection I was and how debilitating it can be that I stopped laughing. Even worse it was preventing me from being the best mother I could be as I started to see one of my children start to display the same perfectionist behaviors. (Insert giant punch to the gut.) For every step forward I would take in my own journey of inspired and joyful living my perfectionist tendencies would bring me two steps backwards. Time and time again perfectionism was the elephant in the room preventing me from being the most inspired, joyful version of myself.
To many referring to yourself as a perfectionist is actually a badge of honor. One worn with pride. I know this feeling first hand because until very recently that was me. I am embarrassed to think about how many times I myself bragged about my drive to be perfect. Thinking that perfection would somehow mean I was at the top of my game. I really had it all wrong. Somewhere along the way I confused being highly competitive and driven with having to be perfect. That misconception, that black hole of a lie I told myself is where my most inspired, creative and joyful self was stashed away for too long. Sadly, I used to joke that I was “totally risk adverse.” What that really meant though was that I was not willing to try something new that I could not be confident I would succeed at doing.
Until now perfectionism has literally stopped me in my tracks more times than I want to admit. The tendency to perfect comes naturally to me but the truth is that I am actually at my best when I am not perfect but rather simply put my best effort forward. When I let go of needing to be perfect, when I try new projects, when I let myself get uncomfortable, when I am creative and silly with family and friends. At these moments I am absolutely not perfect but I absolutely am inspired, filled with joy and able to address that ugly perfectionist elephant in the room and tell it to please move the heck out of my way.
To all of you on your journey of living an inspired and joyful life I wish you the courage to identify and tackle whatever barriers are in your way. What is waiting for you on the other side is well worth the work and dedication.