Perfection is the disguise for insecurity. Oh, how I love Gary Vaynerchuk quotes like this. They rip right through all the airy fairy BS and cut straight to the core. I’ve always believed that perfectionism was a quality – a sought-after skill really. I thought I had to get things “just right” in order to be successful – in my writing, for work stuff… basically, just in general for everyday life. Everything from how I looked and spoke to what I did every day all went through this crazy, warped perfectionism filter.
Well, I wish someone had told me in school how exhausting and unnecessary trying to be perfect was.
Instead, we were told to aim high, get those top grades, be the BEST. And while that’s all good and well… because of course, we should care about what we do and do it well – it really sets the stage for some serious procrastination – and insecurity. Actually, when I read this quote for the first time, it was like a bunch of “AHA” bells went off in my head. Think about it… you put off making your website live because it’s just not “there” yet. Or, you don’t start that side hustle you’re constantly daydreaming about because there’s no time for “silly” things like that, right?
You’re scared. That’s all it is – that’s what’s holding you back. You can come up with all the excuses in the world for making perfection the heart of everything you do… but it boils down to this: We strive to be perfect, because we’re afraid of what people will think if they see the REAL us.
Now, THAT’s scary.
I guess that’s why so many extroverts are so successful. Just look at Gary Vaynerchuck or Casey Neistad. They don’t care what people think of them and they’re far from perfect. They just go full steam ahead with their passion and they’re real with who they are – and that’s what makes them so successful.
SHAKE OFF “PERFECTIONISM” AND GET REAL
Soooo… I’m trying to get rid of this silly idea of perfectionism that’s somehow become part of who I am over the last 20+ years. And, I’d like to challenge you to start shaking it off too – even if it’s just a little bit at a time every day. IMAGINE how great you’d feel to actually write that blog post and publish it – without going over it 40 times. Or not stressing yourself silly about how clean your house looks every time you get a visitor. Or not freaking out when you make a mistake.
Introverts, creatives and dreamers… we’re the ones prone to all this negative self talk and this illusion that things have to be so damn perfect in order to be good.
Um no. Actually good enough IS good enough.
How great would it be to actually give yourself a break and stop criticising everything you do? To just live your life and not care so much about what the rest of the world thinks, because trust me, you waste SO much time trying to live up to all these crazy (imaginative) expectations.
And regret is a VERY bitter pill to swallow.
Let’s think practical for a second… What tiny steps can we take to stop this whole perfectionist mindset? How about these five simple tips to start:
- Set REALISTIC goals. Honestly. Those pie-in-the-sky ideas are cool and everything but you’re setting yourself up for failure if you make your goals too big. And that’s when those yukky depro feelings and frustrations set in. So, take it down a notch and be realistic about what you CAN do at this very moment in time, without all that unnecessary stress. Your journey is about the fun pit stops along the road – not how fast you can get there.
- Be your own best FRIEND. Yes, I know this sounds so cheesy, but it’s true! How many times do you tell yourself that you’re stupid or silly, or that you look ugly or you’re not good enough? In a day? Instead of tearing yourself down, talk to yourself or think about yourself as you would a friend. You’d never say those things to them, would you? Exactly.
- Allow yourself permission to make MISTAKES. YES. Repeat after me, “It’s okay to make a mistake, it’s okay to make a mistake, it’s OKAY to make a mistake”. I promise, the world is not going to crumble and neither is your self confidence. I’ve always been a goody-two-shoes, so this is TOUGH for me. But you know what’s working? Laughing at myself when I mess up. Really. Just give it a try. Even if it feels dumb. Do it a few times and you’ll start feeling a lot less serious and anxious about life, and start enjoying it a lot more!
- Think of 3 things you’re doing RIGHT. When that negative self talk tries to rear its ugly head, just think of three things in your life (goals, milestones, accomplishments) that you’re proud of. Focus on the positive stuff.
- Make HEALTH a priority. Exercise boosts those feel-good endorphins. When you don’t have enough of them, you feel stressed, depressed, “stuck”. Start small if you feel like you don’t have time. Get in a quick 10-minute home workout or instead of take out, cook up a simple Chinese stir-fry at home. Make self care a priority and you’ll start feeling more confident and positive.
BOTTOM LINE: Chuck perfectionism out the window – it’s a complete waste of time and energy. See what happens when you take that little leap and give yourself permission to make a mistake, laugh more, be imperfect, and start small. Who knows? You might just surprise yourself.