So, here we are on Day 8 of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo and once again my perfectionism is in full-force.
I started the month with the intention of writing and blogging every, single day in the month of November. This was going to be my year.
So I wrote. Then I didn’t. And here we are a week into the month.
I’ve written one blog post talking about how much writing I was going to do and wrote exactly 284 words for NaNoWriMo.
When I sat down today and took a look at my blog, that’s when the perfectionism kicked in. I opened up the November 1st blog post and was ready to hit the delete button.
Then I stopped.
If I Can’t do it Perfectly, I’m not Doing it
Sometimes we’re not even aware of our perfectionist tendencies. We don’t even realize we’re keeping ourselves from achieving our goals. Sometimes perfectionism sneaks up on us.
It’s something I’ve talked about before when dealing with getting motivated to work out.
So the concept is not new to me, in fact I know full well the importance of just jumping and doing it, even when you fall behind or lose sight of your goals.
Why is it so easy to work through my perfectionist tendencies when it comes to wellness but not when it comes to writing. Or cleaning, or any number of things I do on a daily basis.
Battling perfectionist attitudes; the idea that because I cannot flawlessly execute a thing, I will just completely delete or give up on the thing.
I have struggled with perfectionism my entire life. I have no shame in admitting that.
What I realize though is that when I stop myself from doing the things I want to do because I’m unable to do them 100% on point, little by little I self-sabotage my success.
Sometimes Perfectionism is a Good Thing
A prime example of perfectionism getting in the way of reaching my goals occurred just a few weeks ago.
In early September I half-launched a Lifestyle Coaching Business and was all set to start helping people change their lives.
I had just finished several weeks of training calls with my mentor. I had the logo, the website, and the motivation to helping people changing their lifestyle.
A few people agreed to try out the program and offer feedback. We jumped in.
Well, I jumped.
Tom Petty Free Fall style into this thing like my life depended on it.
The people? Nope. Not so much.
Mildly interested clients and very limited feedback.
I broke the first rule of coaching.
Disinterested clients mean I basically suck right? Well, maybe.
Was it me? Was it my Content? What was it?
I internalized and took my ball and went home. Not giving me the feedback I need?
I pulled away to rethink, analyze and re-evaluate.
I began to realize that this wasn’t the avenue that worked best for who I am at my very core. I could still coach people toward a healthy lifestyle but I was going at it all wrong.
Because the avenue I was taking did not resonate with me, I wasn’t offering the value I knew I had the potential to offer.
I put ‘coaching’ in a one-size fits all box and therefore, sold myself short with my limited thinking.
As such, I sold my would-be clients short. In this instance, my perfectionism served me well.
I’m striving for excellence now. I want to be able to create and deliver a program that will truly benefit everyone involved.
I am able now to focus on the delivery system that will have the greatest impact on my clients and leave me fulfilled with the knowledge that I’m truly helping change lives.
Personal Growth and Pushing through Perfectionism
I’ve been on a personal growth path for several years now. I don’t imagine it’s a path that I’m ever going to get off of, quite frankly.
As we grow and evolve, our path changes.
My path now is to bring all of the things I’ve dealt with, experienced or have been a party to, in my life, to the page.
Each year I’d tell myself, I’m going to write my life.
Each year, I’d fail.
What I didn’t now until recently is that my perfectionism was hindering my growth.
My need for every word, every phrase and every comma to be flawless was stunting my growth.
Stifling my craft.
I don’t need to have all the answers. Knowing everything sucks.
I was coming at writing from the wrong angle.
For years I’d heard:
Write what you know.
Write what you know, write what you know.
That’s where the perfectionism creeps in.
The things I know, I know.
I want them to be perfect, they have to be perfect.
Otherwise, what’s the point in telling.
If I can’t truly convey my message accurately, I’ve failed. Right?
The things I don’t know, I don’t know. They can’t possibly be perfect.
Those words can’t be perfect. Ever.
But they can be true, raw, honest and real.
Opening up to vulnerabilities is the most freeing.
I don’t have to know everything. I don’t have to write what I know.
The not knowing “how” is where the magic happens, where excellence manifests for the greater good.
Let’s do more of that.