I am a recovering perfectionist.
I didn't even realize that I was a perfectionist. I've always thought that perfectionists are people who have perfectly clean houses, who are dressed perfectly and who have perfect children. I was none of those things, so I was stunned to learn that I too was a perfectionist.
The definition and how it applies to me is around procrastination. That we are so afraid of failure (not being perfect) that it leads to procrastination because if it can't be perfect, or we don't know exactly how it's going to be done, we have trouble even getting started...so we put if off...or even worse, never start.
I always thought, maybe I was lazy or not motivated but the issue was deeper.
Of course, as they say, the first step to recovery is seeing/acknowledging you have a problem. Which is great...but then what do you do about it?
This list is by no means exhaustive, just a few things I started doing to help combat my procrastination:
- I often ask myself, what is stopping me? If the answer is something around wanting to control the outcome, I try to encourage myself to 'just start'...and usually that is enough to get me going.
- I repeat a few mantras... progress over perfection and done is better than perfect. While they are both difficult to follow at times, they are a great reminder for me.
- I try to look at previous failures in my life and see how I learned and grew from them. When I look back on them I see them for what they were, huge opportunities to learn about myself and how I can continue to improve.
- Found some great personal development books addressing perfectionism...a personal favourite is Brene Brown's gifts of imperfection and her TED talk on the power of vulnerability!!
The most interesting part about being in recovery is that I can still see how I go back to some of my perfecting ways, but I am more aware of how I get there (usually I can see it when I have something really big and 'scary' to do). As I grow and learn about myself, I can often see it coming and usually can catch it early on. Sometimes I do relapse, but because an all or nothing mentality is also a form of perfectionism...I give myself a break and start again!
Did you find this helpful? Where do you see perfectionism causing some procrastination in your life?