I was in a meeting one day telling someone how I’m kind of a perfectionist. At first the other person didn’t agree, but given proper context, he was able to understand. The definition of perfectionism used in psychology is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.
I explained to my counterpart that as a child I didn’t like for people to look over my shoulder while I was working. If I was drawing, reading, solving a math problem, whatever, I didn’t want you to see me in progress. I only wanted to show you when I was finished with the task. I am still like that. I hate for people to read over my shoulder. That is my PETTY PEEVE. I don’t like for people to watch me work. It makes me nervous because I think they are judging me as opposed to simply observing my process. In that sense I am a perfectionist.
I believe that there are two types of perfectionists. There is the one who is striving, setting high standards, self-critical and still manages to get things done in a timely manner. If you’re a spectator on the sidelines, then these people make life look easy. There is also the one who is striving, overly critical and gets so caught up in the thinking that they don’t get things done. They look really put together though. Well, maybe that is just me. I’m in the second group. I’m working to rid myself of perfectionism forever.
You might be thinking that being a perfectionist isn’t that bad. It’s one of those weaknesses that you can turn in to a strength, right? WRONG! It is not a strength. It is a major hang up and a few months ago I realized just how much this type of thinking has hindered me. It causes a type of paralysis and it impedes progress and growth. In professional settings I struggle with asking for help because I don’t want people to see me doing things wrong. In past educational settings I didn’t ask for help because I thought other people would think I was incapable or an impostor. In romantic settings I ghost people because I’m afraid they won’t really like me once they see me flaws and all. Every time I withdraw from a challenging situation or budding relationship out of fear I rob myself of the opportunity to grow. Growth is life and life is for the living. What good is it to design a life if I’m too afraid and fearful to experience it fully?
This is the Remix. I am changing. I am now a recovering perfectionist. I don’t have a complete plan for how I can go about changing my train of thought, but as I was scrolling through my FB timeline I came across a video by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary said, “Document. Don’t create,” so that’s how I’m approaching it. That’s why this post was written. I was inspired to the point of action. I don’t need to stress or worry or strategize around what ifs. I just need to start. You can’t finish if you never begin. I’m not waiting around anymore and I hope you aren’t either. What are you starting? What are you documenting? Share it with me!