Any fellow struggling perfectionists out there? My hand is up… well, it used to be. I like to consider myself a recovering perfectionist these days (or at least I’m trying). Years ago in college, we once had a night meeting where we met in small groups with our different teacher education professors for an informal Q&A session. The talented leader of my group was a working mom with young kids. Looking back, I can really relate to her now, although she of course seemed “old” at the time. Someone asked a question about time management, probably because we all thought we were busy and overwhelmed (while our 30’s selves are having a good laugh in retrospect). And she gave us a piece of advice I’ve never forgotten. She said, “Some things just have to be done, and some things have to be done well. Now that’s a good word for tired working moms with plates spinning in the air left and right. The important thing is figuring out the difference.
If we try to do everything to a standard of perfection, we will either never begin and fall way short of our goals, or our health or family will eventually suffer while everything looks good from the outside. The perfectionist and people-pleaser in me wants to do it all and do it all well, but I’m slowly but surely learning how satisfying and significant “No” is and how to be ok with certain outcomes that are “just ok.” Sometimes I jump in with both feet and then have to dial it back – and that’s ok too!
Earlier today, I was feeling frustrated with myself that I signed up for this challenge and have missed several days of writing due to especially busy events with my job and family that I didn’t account for. So, I thought, “How can I simplify this and still complete the main goal I set to write more often during the month of October?” I counted up the remaining days in the month and found that if I post once a day, each day, until October 31, I will have a collection of 21 posts… which the perfectionist in me considers a nice “catchy” number. 🙂 And while it does fall short of the original goal, the outcome is still one I can be proud of, because I set a goal to grow in my writing, and I have! It’s much more than I would have accomplished by never beginning in the first place while waiting for the perfect circumstances to write, and I have learned a ton along the way about writing and about myself.
Are you an active or recovering perfectionist? What things do you just need to get done, and what things do you want to do well? Here’s a printable sticky note to do list to help you keep track of it all!