As a full-time legal assistant with a background known to organize lives and maintain the chaotic and hectic schedules that revolved around this position I presumed to be an expert in perfection and planning. Go figure. The daily deadlines, phone calls, interruptions, creation of documents, powerpoints, spreadsheets, meetings, prep time to meet with and/or call clients or opposing counsel produced a certain confidence and the need for the p word – perfectionism. The checking, then verifying then reviewing again increases your awareness about errors, inconsistencies and/or disorganization. The very few times I found that I had made an error became devastating moments for me as I wanted to always create “good work product” as we call it in the legal field. I wanted to maintain my reputation for being organized, efficient and thorough. However, what I found myself feeling daily in the pit of my stomach was stress as I tried to be more perfect than the day before. I wanted to be perfect for who and what did perfectionism really mean?
Outside of work that perfectionism sometimes trickled into my parenting or relationships or even friendships. The perfectionism of sending a text and going back to correct the multiple spelling changes Apple would insist I made. The perfect and precise way to slice a piece of fruit, stack mail, hang a picture on the wall or towels in the bathroom. The attitude that if it wasn’t perfect it wasn’t right was costing me something. It was costing me my peace, sanity and self-esteem. I was relying on the perfectionism to take me through to the next stage or phase. I was reluctant to do anything that could potentially decrease my comfort level and threaten my perfectionism. In an effort to maintain perfection I usually took on more tasks than I had time for and would find myself overwhelmed and drained. We all know what happens when we are overworked, stressed and tired right? We tend to make more mistakes than normal, costing us or maybe others. As a result, you start to feel like you aren’t good enough and doubt starts to surface, settle and then rest there. It sits on your chest so heavy you feel bound and restricted so you shift from perfection to stagnation.
I found myself in this place. Just hanging around chilling in the land of complacency. I almost became comfortable and accustomed to that address on Complacency Lane. I even started feeling sorry for myself. I would say things like “I’m too smart for this, why don’t they see it, I’ll just do enough to get by since they don’t appreciate it.” I went from perfectionism to victimization. I made myself a victim and it was all predicated on “my need to be perfect.”
Once I looked in the mirror and said “Keya, you will not be a victim and you will take control of your life” I noticed the shift. I made the decision to just start. I started out crawling, but my mindset had changed so I knew daily there had to be some movement from me, commitment and dedication. I didn’t have it all figured out, but I studied, researched, connected and prayed diligently for guidance. As I moved into my purpose the shift started. I noticed that I was not as concerned about being perfect as I was about tracking my losses and wins, gauging what worked and what didn’t and being perfect became less important. I cared more about ACTION vs. NON-ACTION because I knew I didn’t want to be complacent again. I knew that I was making great strides, improvement and having some success with action, so I let go of the perfection attitude and surrendered to “mistakes, wrong turns, bad investments and wrong partnerships” because I needed all of that to grow. Those things would ultimately help me to help others who struggle with perfectionism and pack up and move off Complacency Lane as well. There is a detour you can take. You must start, keep going, be consistent and trust the gifts inside of you.
Perfectionism is costing you.
Contact Keya of Keya’s Coaching, LLC and Founder of Empower2Be for her Black Friday deal the full week of November 21-27, 2016. Are you ready to move off of Complacency Lane?