HOW TO MANAGE THE NEED FOR PERFECTION
“With nothing to compare yourself to, aren’t you perfect!” – Byron Katie
Years ago, I almost got burnt out at work. I was working ten hours a day as a rule, plus weekends. I couldn’t sleep well, and I generally spent my weekend time recovering from stress through overeating.
One day, I collapsed. I often saw my colleagues leaving the office after the regular working hours, while I was doing overtime regularly. I blamed myself for being less intelligent than my peers, thinking that my brain couldn’t handle my assignments at the same speed. In other words, I thought I was stupid.
I had a chat with my manager about my workload, and that was transformational. I told him it felt too hard to handle. I will never forget that manager’s words:
“Sara, I do appreciate your hard work, and I’m very pleased to have you on my team. However, I want you to know that I only expect you to run the daily business. I have never asked you for perfection, but for good enough.”
That was mind-blowing. For the first time, I came to understand that “good enough” had never been part of my repertoire. I couldn’t define what that was.
I wanted things to do everything perfectly so no one could hurt me or blame anything on my performance. I was an overachiever, identifying my human worth through my professional results and achievements.
I was raising the bar so high that my body couldn’t cope with the expectations I had set for myself any longer. Nobody else was responsible for my situation, but me.
So here’s what I’ve learned from that experience:
The need for perfection is energy consuming, and it can be exhausting for both body and soul. If this sounds familiar to you, please know that you will never get rid of perfectionism until you learn how to be okay with good enough.
Today I do the best I know and be the best I can be in every situation, and I aim for progress instead of perfection. I have learned to embrace my mistakes as much-needed opportunities for growth. I know I am not a Superwoman, and that we all have good and bad days.
If I fail at anything, it doesn’t mean I’m a failure, because I am not what I do. Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn. We never lose.
“Your best is going to change from moment to moment: it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
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- Posted by Sara Fabian
- On July 8, 2018