I’ve danced with perfectionism for much of my life. And I must admit, it hasn’t been the best dance partner.
Here are a few of the things I experienced when I was deep in my perfectionist ways:
* If I couldn’t do it well or completely, I wouldn’t start at all.
* If I made a mistake, even a typo in an email, it would occupy ridiculous amounts of space in my brain.
* I celebrated overall achievement. If I didn’t achieve the whole thing, I didn’t celebrate.
I still need to keep my perfectionist tendencies in check, but leaning into my purpose instead has made all the difference. For example:
* Instead of asking, “Can I do it perfectly?” I ask, “Does this align with my core values?”
* When I make mistakes, I course-correct as best I can. I also consider what this will mean a year from now – and more often than not, the answer is that I won’t even remember it a year from now.
* I celebrate all along the way: mini-milestones, unquantifiable signs of growth, the fact that I’m still taking action even after setbacks. The entire journey counts, not just the mountaintop view.
I’ll be honest – I still cringe at my typos. But living and working according to my personal purpose, rather than to some external measure of perfection, has felt so much better and, ultimately, has led to much more significant success, too.
Christi Hegstad, PhD, PCC, is the Practical + Purposeful Coach for Achievers! Join our email community for weekly coaching tips, free resources, book recommendations, and more!