I wanted to talk to you today about being perfect, or more specifically being imperfectly perfect. The other week I came across a post where an assistant talked about needing to be PERFECT! What was interesting was that all the comments weighed in agreeing that they also had to be perfect.
This made me sad because in reality, perfect doesn’t really exist. We are all imperfectly perfect and good enough just as we are. I’d also add that what is one person’s perfect is another person’s imperfection.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive believer in high standards. I was a Personal / Executive Assistant for 22 years after all and took pride in my work. But when we set such high standards for ourselves, we become our own harsh internal critic.
We tell ourselves we are never good enough – THIS IS NOT TRUE!
We pile on the pressure to be perfect, to get things right and when we don’t get things perfect, we chastise ourselves and criticise ourselves saying ‘I could have done better’
I know this because I’m a recovering perfectionist.
In my 20s I decided to retake my History GCSE and did a home study course. When I received my grade, I discovered I got a B and immediately started criticising myself. Telling myself and my friend that I could have done better, that I should have got an A. That a B wasn’t good enough!
What I was really saying was that ‘I wasn’t good enough’.
I was letting my performance be a reflection of my self-worth and I can tell you right now that is exhausting, and it doesn’t serve you.
We are all such amazing human beings, all with our own unique potential yet we limit ourselves by saying ‘oh but it’s not perfect’. The thing is it never will be. When we fall into the trap of perfectionism, we spend our time and energy tweaking and adapting things until we are happy with the desired outcome.
But are we ever really happy?
We will ALL make mistakes at some point in our lives, whether that’s in how we educate our children to a spelling mistake on a CV.
The fact of the matter is that pressure to be perfect could be impacting your mental health. Perfectionism can cause feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. There is a difference between perfectionism and healthy behaviour.
As the amazing Brene Brown says, "Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfection is not about healthy achievement and growth." She explains how perfectionism is used by many people as a shield to protect themselves against the pain of blame, judgement or shame.
Here are three things you can do to let go of perfectionism and step into more healthy behaviour…
Stop referring to yourself or others as perfect – Stop judging yourself (and others) and apologising for not being perfect. Choose to accept that you’re doing your best in life and that is enough.
Know that you don’t have to be perfect to be worthy – Your worth is completely separate from how perfect you might see yourself. You love others unconditionally so it’s time to start treating yourself like you do your loved ones.
Put yourself first – The need to be perfect is often rooted in the desire to make others happy. That’s really lovely, but make sure you prioritise you otherwise you are doing yourself a disservice.
Know that you are doing the best you can with the knowledge that have. YOU ARE ENOUGH! Keep saying that until you re-programme your mind to this new belief. Ditch your perfectionism and choose to focus instead on what is possible and value your worth.
p.s. Suzie Flynn Coaching helps Executive Assistants start their Virtual Assistant business by shifting the limiting beliefs that are keeping them stuck in the employee mindset. To find out more about my 6 week 1:1 coaching programme click HERE to book a call. To receive more sources of inspiration and positivity sign up to my weekly mindset newsletter for assistants. You can connect with me on LinkedIn or Facebook.