Why I’m a recovering perfectionist (and you should be too!)

September 11, 2019

< back to blog home

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. I can name lots and lots of reasons for this, but it comes down to just a few things. Firstly, I’ve been very much focused on other things, like leading a career change programme in London for Escape The City and raising my beautiful baby boy Blake, who was born in February.

The other main reason that you’ve not heard from me for a while is less rosy…

I have to confess something. You’ve not heard from me for a while because I’m a perfectionist.

Well, a recovering perfectionist I should say.

Recovering? Yes, recovering.

Because let’s be honest: unlike popular belief, perfectionism isn’t something to aspire to. It isn’t a badge of honour that we should proudly wear. It’s taken me quite a few years to learn this since leaving the corporate world, much to my own detriment.

You see, in my previous career a piece of work wasn’t good enough until it was flawless. I would get shot down if an image wasn’t aligned or if I used the wrong font size in a powerpoint presentation. Crazy to think of it now, but that kind of stuff conditioned me and stayed with me more than I’d like to admit.

So when I became my own boss, I wanted everything I created to be perfect too. I wouldn’t put something out there if it wasn’t perfect.

The result?

I’ll be 100% honest.

I’ve not made as much progress as I could have. I’ve stalled my own growth and success. Instead of putting myself out there and creating material to help women like you to find work they love, I’ve been busy perfecting my website, creating a content calendar, planning the video I said I’d record and thinking about the podcast I’ve been wanting to create.

Now, these are all important things to do if it actually leads to stuff you can share. There’s no point in being busy if all you do is perfecting thoughts and ideas, and never put something out there.

You might be wondering why I’m telling you all of this. Simply this: I come across a lot of follow (recovering) perfectionists through my work. Most of them are women. They all stall their own growth and success because things need to be perfect all the damn time.

This shows up in different ways:

  • They won’t make a move, because they don’t have the rest of the journey perfectly planned.

  • They won’t launch the website for their own business, because they believe it’s just not quite right yet.

  • They won’t try something that they’ve been wanting to do for a while, because they’re worried they won’t be good enough.

  • They won’t initiate a conversation with someone who could help them in their career, because they feel they don’t have their story ‘right’.

So they do nothing and stay where they are. They stay stuck and miss opportunity after opportunity.

The worst bit: they see others progressing and achieving things they’d love to achieve, and will start to believe something’s wrong with them. They start to believe that they’re just not good enough and that they don’t have what it takes.

Maybe that sounds familiar to you. If that’s the case, here’s what I want you to know: there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you. You have what it takes. You can make your wildest dreams come true. You can achieve whatever you want.

You just have to say a good old bye bye to that perfectionism, once and for all.

Ditch it. Honestly, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself – and your career.

Progress is more important than perfection. Something is better than nothing. A less-than-perfect first attempt is good enough. Get yourself out there. Create. Try. Experiment. Do. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Just focus on making progress, learning from it and putting yourself out there so opportunities can find you.

Difficult? You bet it is.

Here’s what helps me:

  • I tell myself that it doesn’t matter what other people think. What they think is none of my business. It’s got nothing to do with me.

  • I remind myself of the benefits of showing up consistently. I imagine the opportunities that’ll come my way and how simply showing up allows me to grow.

  • I repeat the affirmation ‘progress is better than perfection’ to myself. Over and over again.

  • I’m letting my heart and intuition take the lead. The rational brain is a wonderful and important part of our being, but there’s a time and place for it and it’s not welcome when I’m in creation mode. I trust that what comes from the heart and intuition is good. You might have heard this before.

I’m not making something new up here. It’s not rocket science. I just hope that this time, when you read these words, something will click. This time, make a commitment to yourself that from now on, you’ll show up.

Show up, especially when you feel you’re not ready and when it feels uncomfortable. Difficult, but so worth it.

You got this, fellow recovering perfectionist.

Iris x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *