My dear Perfectionist, feel free to stay on vacation!

The Big C - Courage

How many times have you waited to present a business case or an idea for a project because it was not yet perfect, just to be beaten by the punch by someone else?

Or how many weeks have you allowed to go by before asking him out, only to find out he has started dating someone in the meantime? 

Good news – this was not you. You are the one who got the brilliant, bold idea for the new project. And you’re the one with the gut feeling that he is someone you’d enjoy getting to know better! The one who simply ignores those things and procrastinates waiting for a better day or a better opportunity is your naughty ego-driven friend: the Perfectionist. 

Oh yes, you have “it” as well…

My Perfectionist used to stop me from speaking up at classes and later on in meetings because he convinced me that, if I was to take up space/time/air in the room, I’d better contribute with something BIG. I’d better bring something so incredibly intelligent to the table that everyone will stop and immediately see my genius. No pressure, right?

What is your Perfectionist holding you back from?

Because of fully buying into my Perfectionists story, I became the silent, reserved, complacent version of myself. A version that was thinking: 

“Right is right and wrong is wrong. I know the right way.”

“If you can’t do it perfectly, don’t do it at all.”

“Others too often set the bar really low.”

“I need to be more organized and methodical than others so things get done.”

“I hate mistakes.”

Until one day, someone challenged me and said: “What if you give permission to your Perfectionist to take a break?” “What if every time you notice yourself not naming something you notice or feel, you voice it out?” “How would that change your impact?”

Sometimes, the answer to how is just do it…

And so, because I have a difficult time saying no to a challenge, I gave myself 2 weeks.

2 weeks of speaking out at every meeting, every gathering, every lunch/dinner with friends. 

Sometimes, I felt incredibly awkward just saying things for the sake of saying them:

“I notice how this conversation is making me feel uneasy” or “I wonder what does this meeting need to get to the heart of the matter?”. And other times, I would simply say things that to me seemed almost completely redundant like: ”I enjoyed this conversation a lot, let’s try to repeat it shortly with more focus on the last point”.

What happened after only a few days was amazing: people started commenting my contribution, acknowledging me more and even asking me for feedback, simply because now, in their eyes, I was finally participating. I was putting myself out there. 

What is your Perfectionist protecting you from?

You see, that is exactly what your Perfectionist is trying to protect you from. He or she is deeply rooted in your mind with the main function of protecting you from: saying the wrong thing, embarrassing yourself in front of others, being less than, making a mistake, failing… 

The problem of listening often to that voice is that it achieves its purpose of keeping you exactly where you already are… It keeps you stagnant, still, small. 

So, if you recognize yourself in some of these lines (and if you are a millennial, I know you do), consider yourself challenged to stop giving so much power to that annoying voice that says: “if it’s not done perfectly, it’s not worth doing” because “ anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly at first”. Is worth doing. Period. 

Don’t allow your Perfectionist to steal you away from daring, trying new things, speaking up… because if you never do… you never will…

Soon enough, your Perfectionist will silence away your Self-Esteem that will then affect your Confidence until one day you feel completely lost & stuck.

You do have a choice.

It does not have to be that way.  You hold the power over your Perfectionist and you get to choose. Choose to dare. Choose to leave your Perfectionist on vacation.

And if you need more help, the group of “recovering-Perfectionists” at The Big C will be happy to serve you 🙂

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