Reframe Your Mindset & Reclaim Your Power from Perfectionism
In grade school, I was the girl that felt like I had to do everything right to get praise.
When I memorized my multiplication tables or got 100% on a spelling test, I reveled in the attention I got. As a painfully shy child, perfection was the tool I used to get my voice heard. My teachers were happy, my parents were happy, therefore I was happy. I didn’t know to think any different about it. As I got older, my workload grew but my mindset around doing perfect work didn’t.
Now as an adult I have realized the pressure of perfection doesn’t serve me. In terms of creating and goal-getting, perfectionism is a dangerous trap. I see it as a consuming fear that what you’re doing isn’t good enough. It is a fear-based response to uncertainty and undermines your own potential.
The truth is, there is no such thing as perfect…
As someone who is continuously editing, tweaking, and revising my work, I can totally relate to the trap. I take pride in the quality of my work, and I want it to look good and truly be a reflection of myself and the hard work I put into it. Whenever I start a new project, I can feel the fear and self-doubt try to creep in. Little thoughts can't help but start. "What if people think I'm stupid? What if it isn't good enough?"
The power is found in fighting back. It’s in knowing that you have control over your thought-life.
Here’s what you can do now…
1| Recognize that perfectionism is actually wasting your precious time.
Instead of focusing on getting a task done and moving onto the next one, you pick apart your work and focus on the mistakes. It is the act of choosing only to see what is wrong. When trying to achieve perfection, you spend less time focusing on the positives and more time on the negatives - the flaws, defects, and shortcomings.
2| Think of perfection in 2 ways: procrastination and self-sabotage.
You are procrastinating by using it as an excuse as to why something isn't finished or why you haven't even started it. I'm sure almost everyone can recall a time when they were waiting for all the stars to align perfectly to get started. The pursuit of perfection is also an obsession that leads to a sabotaging inner-dialogue. Have you ever over-thought and tweaked something to the point of unrecognizable? What usually ends up happening is frustration and scrapping a project altogether.
3| Recognize perfection’s disguises
It’s easy to justify being a perfectionist. From being detail-oriented to wanting to be “the best,” the excuses are endless. Not only that, the trap is that perfectionism does get good results. Don't fall for these disguises. Perfection is not striving for excellence or being thorough. There is a difference between perfectionism and those things. Striving for excellence is always looking for ways to grow. Thoroughness is making sure your facts are checked and all your bases are covered. Perfectionism is anything beyond those, that ends up eating valuable time.
We are all works in progress but there are steps you can take to remind yourself that you are worthy and your work is good enough.
6 steps to reframe your mindset to reclaim your power from perfectionism
1| Recognize you’re not perfect (and neither is anyone else!)
Be liberated with the knowledge that you’re not perfect and you don’t have to be! Once I let go of the need to be perfect, my happiness and productivity increased. Some days feel better than others and that’s all okay.
2| Stop playing the comparison game
Remember social media is not real life. The comparison game helps no one and only ends up hurting yourself and your progress. Instead of hyper-focusing on the differences, celebrate the differences and things that make you unique.
3| Don’t be afraid to fail (and do it quickly!)
Failure simply means you are trying. This is a good thing! Some of the best things in the world weren’t created perfectly on the first try. Can you imagine a world without cake, Netflix, or your favorite song? Those things might never exist if someone was afraid of failure. When you fail fast, your failures are smaller. They aren’t as big of a deal because you didn’t spend a lot of time perfecting something that didn’t work. It makes it more manageable and allows you to keep trying again and again.
4| Create a safe space for yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Create a self-care routine that encourages restoration, creation, and nurtures. Know that when you fall, you’ll be equipped to pick yourself back up.
5| Find an uplifting tribe to keep you grounded
Your tribe is so important because they’re the ones in your corner rooting for you and believing in you, even at the times you don’t. The great thing is now you have so many places to meet like-minded people. Social media and the internet make it more possible than ever.
6| Celebrate the wins
Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate you, girl! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in failing, perfecting, and moving onto the next thing but don’t forget to celebrate the wins in between.
Torey Schell is a blogger and educator for women’s well-being. She empowers women to be their best selves through tools like self-care, personal development, and mindset. She believes you have all the tools inside of you, you just need to learn how to unlock them.