Is it time for a new way of thinking about perfectionism?
I had an interesting conversation with a Hogan's psychometric tool analyst last year. It led me to exploring a few ideas in more detail and I thought it would be interesting to write a short note about one of the areas we explored; perfectionism.
Well it turns out that the word perfectionism maybe one that I have been running away from for no reason. Anytime someone says I am a perfectionist, a reason to negate the comment is brewing somewhere in my mind. Not because it is necessarily untrue but because there is a certain stigma linked to the search for perfection. Many state that perfection is not a standard but an obstacle. Perfectionism has been linked with negative emotions such as stress, hopelessness, distress, avoidance, anxiety and self-condemnation.
My natural personality is fun, carefree and mischievous however I have a love for beautiful experiences and contributing positively. I am in love with superior outcomes and always desire the most perfect scenarios. I also find myself in lots of environments and work roles that require precision, objectivity and mastery. This has led to a need for discipline, self-evaluation and self-regulation that gets interpreted into the word- perfectionism. This word always felt uncomfortable to me because I understand that we are all "perfectly imperfect". Perfection is not possible. So this conversation was like a breath of fresh air as we discovered that my inclination was to do the best that I could bearing in mind my personal qualities and my inclination for having the most beautiful experiences possible.
In recent months working with my coach, I discovered that my nervousness in certain situations or with certain tasks is linked to performance anxiety. The cure for performance anxiety is not to throw myself in the deep end, laying myself bare to the agony of failure, ridicule, shame and regret. The cure is to try something over and over and over and over again in a safe and productive manner. The cure is to continue to be curious. The cure is to continue to have a growth mindset. This means repetition until the skill is improved. It means accessing training, guidance and feedback to keep growing and expanding my capability and confidence.
I no longer feel haunted by the word that has plagued my life ! Perfectionism does not limit me , instead it allows me to expand my horizons to the extremities. The search for the most perfect experience broadens my life experience. I am now joyously practising everything and creating the most beautiful experiences. I have found more self esteem, self confidence and awesomeness in my perfectionism. I am perfecting my gifts. I am becoming a master at this thing called my life! What is called perfectionism is my need to LEARN, ITERATE AND BECOME A MASTER . The word perfectionism doesn't hold me back rather it gives me an open space to explore myself , overcome myself and become more of myself.