Is it possible to get out of your own way so that you can gain traction and get action on things that you would like to do? Sometimes the thing that can keep us stuck in unfinished cycles and continuous loops of inertia and inaction is a fixated view of getting things right vs getting the right things done.
Brene Brown, celebrated author and researcher, and one of my favorite role models, says that perfectionism is “armour” – that it is a 20 ton shield that we use to protect ourself. That ‘If I look perfect, do it perfect, work perfect and live perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, blame and judgment.’” What she says is quite profound – that it protects us from being seen.
Through my experience as coach, my personal work and journey, and as a doctor, my belief is that a core human need is in fact the opposite – to actually be seen and heard, and to see ourselves and hear ourselves. This is why perfectionism is so painful. If we drop the shield of perfectionism and look at “good” and “good enough”, what might open up for us? For me it’s being vulnerable and open. To learn and acknowledge that something is better than nothing. To act, and shift, and iterate and learn. To be seen – so that others may view and gain permission to be – to be present, and present themselves in full view – as who they are today.
Brenè says that at its core perfection is fueled by “not good enough”. So perhaps, in an act of self rebellion rather than self sabotage how can you acknowledge that this could be at the core of your perfectionism. Seeing this, in itself is an act of courage. Can you notice the emotions and feeling in your body as you tense up reading this?
Feelings of discomfort, perhaps shame and exposure?
All part of that acknowledging and “seeing” what you may have tried to hide behind. In fact, if you have just noticed this, about you, you are not the same as when you started reading this blog.
Stay the course, seek support and guidance, read.
Learn more about yourself and stay awake to when and how this shows up in your day.
Do, and act rather than think yourself into paralysis.
This, is a “good enough” start to arriving fully, and bringing your whole beautiful imperfect self to today. In the quest for progress rather than perfect.
I leave you with this quote from Thomas Greenspon, in his book, Moving Past Perfect
“Excellence is risk. Perfection is fear.
Excellence is effort. Perfection is anger and frustration.
Excellence is openness to being wrong. Perfection is having to be right.
Excellence is spontaneity. Perfection is control.
Excellence is flow. Perfection is pressure.
Excellence is confidence. Perfection is doubt.
Excellence is journey. Perfection is destination.
Excellence is acceptance. Perfection is judgement.
Excellence is encouraging. Perfection is criticizing.”