I giggled out loud today when someone suggested I was a perfectionist. You see I have some very clear ideas about what perfectionists look and act like. For me I see this organized, structured, tidy person who knows where everything is and makes sure everything is in order.
Perfect: the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
There are many times that I struggle to send an email, say what I mean, and act out of fear that is “not just right”. I can write something 100 times (like this blog) and edit, not send it, “forget” to add it to my website worried that it doesn’t sound right, read right. In these moments I am less than “in play”, creative, confident, and courageous.
Many times, in my life I have worked HARD to be sure my life looked like it was free of detectable flaws or defects. To me, it felt like I was carrying a backpack full of bricks, it slowed me down, and exhausted me. But do you know what happens when you carry around a backpack full of bricks long enough? You don’t even notice it’s there.
Feeling weighed down feels normal, and then that ridiculously high expectation of yourself becomes the bar for normal, and you drive to be better, do better, make no mistakes.
But then something amazing happens, someone or something comes and takes a brick out, by showing you its ok to be yourself, or telling you that what makes you incredible is your creative confidence or sharing a story that reminds you we all make mistakes.
And then you walk a little taller, and you are willing to open the backpack and put down some(not all) of the bricks that got you here.
I do love when things go perfectly, turn out exactly as I planned, but that is not what got me to where I am today. I am going to guess that is true for so many people.
SO, when I hesitate to hit send, or do something 100 times to try and get it right I try to remember how carrying those bricks changes how I think creatively, find solutions and play.
And then I look around my office and think “perfectionists are not tidy” and I laugh at how trying to be in control of everything can lead you to be in control of nothing.
Take those bricks out, and find out what it feels like without them, if you need some help, that’s what friends and colleagues are for. Reach out.
Yours in play,
This playground is for everyone.
Look forward to the next blog
Perfectionists Don’t Play and Other Myths