Stuck in the Perfectionism Game
I’ve been a serial perfectionist for as long as I can remember.
When I was a kid, I was ruthless at drawing “perfect” pictures of my favorite cartoon characters and illustrations for class projects. I won awards and had my artwork on display many times over the years. I later started obsessing with photography, graphic design and many more art forms. In recent years, I’ve focused on web design.
Through it all, I’ve been my biggest critic, never believing my work was “good enough” and constantly striving to be better….to be “perfect.”
But there is a flaw in perfectionism, because even though it pushes you to constantly strive to be the best, it also forces us to dismiss everything we’ve created, as “not enough.” There’s no moment of celebration. You don’t reward yourself after a job well done. Instead, you keep pushing…in the illusive pursuit of “perfection.”
How Being a Mom Helped Me to Let Go of Perfectionism
Since having kids, I’ve had to let go of some of that perfectionism. Things aren’t always going to turn out the way I want them, and I can either accept that and live in the moment…or sulk about how it wasn’t “good enough.”
I remember vividly the first time that I baked cookies with my two year old daughter. She started slathering on the icing and it went everywhere. The decorations weren’t symmetrical and I cringed. Why did it bother me so much? I had to think hard about that.
Was I being ridiculous? Yup…I was.
And that’s when I thought…why am freaking out over imperfect cookies? Why am I obsessing about getting THE BEST pictures of my toddler? Why am I worried that my husband leaves spots on the dishes? Why am I terrified to hire someone to help with my business because they might do it “wrong?” WHY?
I had to give myself a reality check.
Because, guess what? Life isn’t picture perfect. People aren’t. And neither is my business.
That’s reality…a beautiful mess.
Listen, you’re not going to make the perfect ebook the first time out.
You’ll probably make mistakes with your clients once in a while.
You might panic over the WHOLE HOUR you wasted doing something for yourself when there’s still work to be done.
BUT…don’t get caught up in those little imperfections. Don’t let them stress you out or cripple your business.
Is Perfectionism Bad for Business?
There are TONS of sites on the web that talk about the evils of perfectionism. In fact, here’s one from Inc.com that tells you how Steve Jobs was an anti-perfectionist.
Go on…click the link and come back when you’re done.
What really stands out to me, is the reality that waiting on perfection = never really finishing anything.
And yes, that reality can KILL businesses.
Perfection can be poison.
Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t strive to be the best.
BUT…we shouldn’t be so caught up in perfectionism that we miss the point of actually CREATING something. Or allow ourselves to get stuck doing everything ourselves in order to get it “done right.” Sometimes, finishing is more important than everything getting done “perfectly.”
The psychological burdens of perfectionism are crushing too.
The fact of never finishing and never rewarding yourself is demoralizing.
So don’t do that to yourself.
Instead, let go of the details and just ask for help. Put your work out there. Perfect or not.