Once again one of Sarah Wilson’s blog posts has really resonated with me…
In her recent post What Steve Jobs’ perfectionism has taught me Sarah talks about perfectionism and how it can stifle us. I’m not so bad these days but there was once a time when perfectionism was a dominant driver for me. In fact the first time I recall this being an issue for me was my 5th birthday party. I had a very specific and clear picture in my head of how my party was to proceed (yes, event manager from way back!) So when I discovered that Mum had bought split peas instead of whole dehydrated peas (to play that game where you have a straw in your mouth and have to suck up the pea and carry it over to the bowl for a point) I lost it. I cried and carried on like it was the end of the world. No one, least of all my poor Mum had any clue what had set me off. My friends were all wondering what was wrong. Yes, split peas ruined my birthday party, so strong was my need for things to be ‘just right’.
Another time I had a huge deadline at work with dozens of media releases to finalise. Instead of taking the ‘do the best you can in the time you have available’ approach, I spent many late nights and a full weekend using the ‘no matter how long it takes they all have to be perfect’ method. I was stressed and completely exhausted. My need for perfectionism was overriding everything. And it took this extreme situation for me to see how debilitating and deeply ingrained this behavioural streak was in me.
Over the years I’ve done a lot of exploring around who I am, and I now have a much greater awareness around this. I somehow found a space where I could let go of needing things to be perfect. What is ‘perfect’ anyway, right?
The secret? – Letting go of attachment.
I started to recognise when my perfectionist streak was making an appearance. And I realised that my reality is different to your reality, and your reality is different to everyone else’s reality. There is no perfect.
Sarah says “perfectionism and indecision masks the fear we’re not enough on our own”. I think I’ve reached the point where I know I am enough. Full stop. It’s a much nicer space to be in.