I have to admit something to you, a dark secret, something you would not believe … I am a reformed perfectionist.
Yes me – the messy, just do it, just play, just paint lady! For years I used to have to do everything correctly
I’d have to polish it up before I let it loose into the world, or even showed anyone else. I’d spend hours writing and re-writing emails or reports for work. Because somewhere during my youth I had learned “When you do something you must do it well/right/perfect” insert your own saying here…
In fact I learned that even the simple act of colouring in came fraught with judgement
After all colouring outside of the lines was a mistake or messy, and colouring within the lines meant I’d done a good job.
My perfectionista (as I prefer to call her) held me back while working in the corporate world
For example in large meetings I would have a great idea but not voice it for fear of the idea “being stupid”. Only to have someone else voice the idea and be applauded for it. I can not tell you how many times that happened to me. I finally realised how much in the grip of perfectionism I was when I didn’t go for a promotion which I desperately wanted because I was worried I would “make a fool of myself” at the interview. And yes you guessed it someone less qualified got the job – darn it!!!
I think we all have some level of perfectionism – which is ok when you’ve got it under control, but when it is holding you back from having an amazing life, when it’s making you play small then it’s really not ok.
When you let go of perfectionism, you allow yourself to be playful and have fun.
You’re much more relaxed in your daily life, and you become a much nicer person to be around. Plus the bonus of letting go of perfectionism is it rubs off on other people too – especially your kids.
They stress out at a such a young age, trying to “get it right” or “make it look beautiful” – so imagine being able to teach your kids, your nieces or nephews how to chill out, play and just have fun for the heck of it! When you let go of perfectionism yourself you can actually make a difference in the lives of those around you. Wouldn’t that be great!
But how do you loosen the grip of your Perfectionista?
It starts with finding something you like doing, it could be painting, sketching, cooking or gardening it doesn’t really matter – as long as it is creative in some way. Then you make a deal with yourself – repeat after me “I promise that during the next hour, while I play and have fun, I will not judge myself or my creation. I will treat my creation like a precious and fragile bird and will look after it with only loving words. And so it is.”
Surround yourself with supportive people, a coach, a teacher and others who are in the same beginners position as you. Find your tribe, your community, support and empathy while you take the first step on your journey. Find a safe space to play, explore and be curious.
One of my lovely clients who has just finished working with me for 8 weeks agreed to talk to me about what her journey has meant to her, and how she learned to let go of her perfectionism (even when she wasn’t liking her work). Just listen to what she has to share with you.
“I was scared!
It was big commitment of my time. It was a financial investment. It made me uncomfortable and work creatively. It made me look at areas I felt resistance.
But it has taught me so much along the way. I can now tap into my creativness and use it to help in my business. I find I’m more joyful and free when playing with my kids. I use it to help me process things when I work.” Tania Smith
Here’s a tip for something you can do to shake up your perfectionista and wake up your creativity.
Challenge yourself to photograph 15 things which are yellow. It doesn’t matter what they are – from bananas to balloons, labels on tins in your pantry, the yellow lines on the road. Take 15 pictures and then create a montage on your phone. Or just share them on Facebook. Just start looking at the world with a creative eye.
PS Dream Leaders is the perfect start to banishing your perfectionista – join me on 9th September for a day of fun, laughter, messiness and let’s kick perfectionism to the curb. You can do this!