Kicking Out an Uninvited Guest

October 10, 2011 0 Comments

I’ve had a visitor with me for a while now. An uninvited visitor.

My visitor doesn’t make a mess, but some messes result in the visit. Not so much messes actually. More like unfinished tasks, unsorted piles, and appointment-less calendars.

I’ve decided that it’s time to kick my visitor out. I’m hoping that exposure will send it running.

My visitor is perfection.

My blog has been quiet for a while. Admittedly, things have been busy. They always are, right? But that’s not why my blog has been quiet.

It isn’t the busy that gets in my way. It’s actually quite the opposite. The busier I am, the more I am able to accomplish. A full schedule helps me focus. Each task gets my full attention, because the time I have for that task is limited. If I don’t take advantage, the time will pass and I’ll be on to something else.

This has been true for me since high school. I always go back to my Junior year as a wonderful touchstone. It was the semester that I was working on the school play, which had me at school until 9 or 10 every night. I was also active with Student Congress, had a standing weekly babysitting job, a full course load of Honors classes, plus a new boyfriend and close girlfriends. That was the semester I almost pulled a 4.0 (I think I had one A-). More importantly, it was definitely my happiest semester of high school. I got it all done and was happy doing it.

But as soon as my tendency towards perfections sneaks its way into my life again, everything slows down. Perfectionism can stop me in my tracks. I suddenly find myself questioning my goals, my ideas, my writing. The questioning sets in before I even start. And so, I don’t start.

Perfectionism paralyzes me.

Some of you might read this and think “perfectionism motivates me”. There have been times that I’ve thought that too. I contend that that isn’t perfectionism at all. That is precision. That is attention to detail. That is a desire to do your very best work.

Perfectionism comes from a place of fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear somebody will think my ideas are stupid. Fear that I’ll make a mistake. Fear that people won’t like me. Fear that I will let someone down.

Perfectionism is unrealistic because good work, truly excellent work, can’t come from a place of fear.

Good work comes from good work.

Today I’m casting away perfectionism. I know that I will face up to it again. And I will cast it away again.

Now I’m going to do the thing that perfectionism hates the most. I’m going to take action.

I’m going to publish this blog post.

I’m going to do. I’m not going to sit around wondering if I should or whether this post is good enough. I’m going to push right through that place of fear. Today, simply pushing publish is good enough.


If this post resonated with you I highly recommend that you read the book The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. Much of the work that I’ve done in battling perfectionism comes out of her work. 

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