Y’all already know I’m a Type A perfectionist so writing a blog post about how to deal with perfectionism and the pressure to be perfect is kinda ironic. But then again, I’ve had to learn A LOT so that I can still get stuff done and keep moving forward even though I sometimes feel like things aren’t good enough. So I guess I do actually have a lot to share.
How To Overcome The Pressure To Be Perfect
I’m still in the process of learning all of this and y’all know I sometimes just like to write without thinking. So today I’m going to switch things up for old time’s sake and talk about the things I’ve learned as if we were literally sitting together, catching up over a cup of coffee. K?!
Strive For Progress, Not Perfection
The whole “progress not perfection” phrase is becoming somewhat of a buzzword these days, don’t you think? But when you really think about it, it’s such a simple and true message. Without even realizing it, we can find ourselves chasing something that’s not even real. And we forget to look at what we’ve accomplished. And the neat thing is that when we shift our perspective and choose to focus on the progress that we have made, we, in turn, motivate ourselves to keep going. Progress breeds confidence and can oftentimes be the push we need to keep persevering, to keep trying.
Motivate Yourself With The Do Something Principle
I get overwhelmed all the time. I think that’s part of life though, right? I have a habit of taking on way too much and starting things I don’t always finish. It’s not that I don’t like planning, it’s just that I have commitment issues. OK, if I’m honest, I don’t have commitment issues. I’m just flat out afraid of failing. But I know a lot of y’all will be able to relate, which is why I’m going to be REAL with you in this blog post.
I recently shared a few of my favorite takeaways from The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*** by Mark Manson (not my fave title but loved the book) and in that post, I quoted a sentence from the book that really stuck with me:
“If we follow the “do something” principle, failure feels unimportant. When the standard of success becomes merely acting – when any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as the reward rather than a prerequisite – we propel ourselves ahead. We feel free to fail, and that failure moves us forward.”
I’ve found the “do something” principle the MOST helpful thing when it comes to overcoming my perfectionist tendencies and actually getting my work out into the world. With so many other bloggers to compare myself to, sometimes I feel crippled by the pressure to be perfect and can’t stop comparing myself with what everyone else is doing (which thanks to Instagram, is way too easy to do).
When I’m having one of those days (or weeks…) I try to remind myself to focus on making progress, not the outcome. I try to remember that what’s most important is that I’m (1) continuing to try new things, (2) put myself out there, and (3) doing my best.
The key to this one is really just not to be afraid to get started and just do something. Plus, I often find that clarity comes when I’m getting stuff done, rather than just thinking about it in my head (even though that’s what I prefer doing), so doing something always helps get me out of all the comparisons and back to creating. It’s HARD but hard things are part of life, and I know that if I can do it then you can do it too. Really!!
Start Small. Remember That Something Is Better Than Nothing
If you’re feeling pressure to be perfect then focus on doing the smallest thing you can possibly do. I’ve learned that doing small things is often times more important than doing big things. I try to focus on this when I’m feeling stuck.
When I’m struggling to put a blog post together because I’m worried it won’t turn out perfect, I take a step back and instead focusing on just writing one paragraph. Or even just the first sentence. As I said before, I get overwhelmed so easily so I find that breaking a big task down into smaller chunks helps me get out of my head. And once I’ve gotten started and created a bit of momentum, it’s much easier to keep going.
If there’s something you’ve been putting off doing because you’re afraid it won’t turn out perfect, break your goal down into smaller tasks so the whole thing doesn’t seem so overwhelming. I always find it easiest to get stuff done when I’m not thinking about every aspect of the project at the same time (though I’m still guilty of thinking of a million different ideas at once, hi Brighton brain!).
Don’t Get Stuck In Analysis Paralysis
Whenever I find myself in a rut, “analysis paralysis” is usually the cause! Y’all know what I’m talking about – when you’re over-analyzing something so much that you just can’t make a decision (aka ME, ALWAYS). That’s analysis paralysis and it’s one of the biggest things that can stop you from achieving your goals!
My tendency is to let all the thoughts swirling around in my head control and overwhelm me into either overthinking whatever it is that I’m worried about or just straight up being negative. When that happens I find that the best thing I can do is just do something, but I’ve already spoken about that so I’ll share something else I do when I’m feeling completely stuck in my head.
I talk about my process more in this post, but when I find myself feeling overwhelmed and stuck in analysis paralysis, I ask myself why I feel stuck and I force myself to be honest and answer truthfully even if I don’t like how it sounds. I just let my thoughts flow onto the page and I write it all down so it’s out of my brain. Usually whenever I do this a whole bunch of fears come up. Calling out my fears gives me a sense of self-control and power over them and I actually feel less overwhelmed and can figure out the next step. So if you’re stuck in analysis paralysis, get out your journal and shine a light on the fears that are holding you back.
Remember That Nobody’s Perfect
One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that there’s a BIG difference between having an intellectual understanding of something and actually knowing something in your bones. For a long time, I’ve known that nobody’s perfect, but I still feel as though I’m only just starting to get it in my core.
Most of the things that you guys tell me you looove about BTD are the things I feel are the most flawed. And that’s why I’m writing a post like this, I know y’all appreciate it when I’m real with you and I don’t try to pretend I have my life together all the time and that I don’t have bad days! So I don’t even think it’s important to remember that nobody’s perfect, but that it’s the imperfect things in us that are the most attractive to others.
When I find myself forgetting that it’s my imperfections that others relate to and want to see more of (which is ALL THE TIME) I like thinking about my friends and the things I love most in them (cheesy but it works for real). It’s never that they’re perfect all the have everything figured out or because they never fail at anything or make mistakes. It’s because they’re kind, they’re real, they’re fun AND they have their flaws. A big part of relationships is helping the other person grow, and having them help you, so there wouldn’t be much to chat about if we were all already perfect ya know?
6 Ways To Apply The “Progress Not Perfection” Mentality IRL*
I know I’ve thrown a lot at y’all in this blog post (sorry not sorry), but you know I can’t stop when I’m really into something. Plus, I know y’all like lists like this. Here are 10 different things you can do when you feel pressure to be perfect.
- When you feel scared to take the first step, do something and take the first step anyway.
- Most of the time y’all are never going to feel ready to do it, so just do it.
- Remind yourself that any result is better than no result. If you do that thing and fail horribly at it, it will totally suck for a couple of hours (just being honest) but then you can learn from that experience and become stronger because of it. And if you succeed – yay!
- Break your big goals down into the smallest chunks possible, this keeps it all much less overwhelming and means that you’re less likely to find yourself crippled by the pressure to be perfect.
- When you feel stuck, ask yourself why and answer honestly. Use a pen and paper to write down all of the fears that are holding you back. Once your fears are articulated on paper it’s much easier to see them for what they really are – just silly fears!
- Create a list of your ‘imperfections’ that are most complimented by others to remind yourself that it’s your imperfections that are the most appealing to others. Not only is it true that nobody’s perfect, but nobody wants to hang out with someone who’s perfect – so there’s no point even trying.
*in real life ;)
What about you?
How do you overcome the pressure to be perfect? LET’S CHAT.
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