Releasing perfectionism as a multi-passionate Mom has been a big challenge in my life. Consciously, I believe that the most perfect you can be is authentically you and being authentically you is totally awesome! The thing is, there are times when I’ve struggled to embrace being perfectly authentic for me. Times when I tried really hard to be someone else.
It’s not that I didn’t want to be me, it’s just that I didn’t think that being perfectly authentic me was enough. I wasn’t knowledgeable enough, capable enough, likable enough, attractive enough, organized enough… Oh, the list goes on! Basically, I wasn’t whatever I thought I “should” be like. Queue the perfectionism!
I’ve done a lot of work to release perfectionism in much of my life, however, it still usually comes up when I’m stepping into unknown territory. I feel this pressure to get it right. I don’t want to fail. I start comparing myself to others. It’s subtle but I see it in my procrastination, resistance, irritability, and lack of energy. The perfectionism is kind of a snowball effect of stress with all the best excuses and, before I know it, I’m buried in snow.
This came up a lot as a new Mom and now again as an entrepreneur.
The basic thought is that I’ve put on this new hat and I suck at wearing it, there for I must suck.
The hats you wear are part of you but, no matter how big the hat, YOU are not the hat. (You wear that hat, it does not wear you!) Just because one hat isn’t sitting well YET doesn’t mean you don’t have other hats you still totally rock. Though they may have shifted a bit with the addition of the new hat.
Here’s the thing, it takes time to adjust to a hat. The bigger the hat, the more effort it takes to adjust to it and you are going to fall over a few times trying to wear it till you get the hang of its size. Sure, some people will adjust more easily to a particular type of hat, usually because they’ve worn a similar hat before. You deserve to embrace being perfectly, authentic for YOU, even when it’s messy.
Also, remember that everyone wears hats differently (even the same hats). Some will wear it backwards, to the side, to the front, on top of other hats and in different orders. There’s no one way to wear a hat and it usually takes some trial and error to figure out who you are with that hat and what order of hat wearing works best for you. As someone who has drained tons of energy in the ‘Who Wears It Best’ game, I encourage you to spend that energy instead on learning about yourself and how YOU WANT to wear that hat. The best way to wear it is always deeply personal because each hat is deeply personal.
Okay… So, stepping away from the hat analogy that I got a bit carried away with…
Ready to embrace being perfectly authentically you?
Here are four suggestions for when you step into something new (ie put on a new hat):
- Think of what you would say to your kid when he is trying to do something new like walk, for example. I’m guessing you’re not going to say “Dude, you suck! Who do you think you are trying to walk? I mean you just feel on your face like 10 times! You should give up and stick to scooting on your butt.” Let’s be honest, how many of you are talking like that to yourself? Yeah, I see you. I’ve also been you and it’s time to cut it out! Let’s try this together: “You’ve got this! Keep trying and you’ll get there sweetie. I know it’s hard but I believe in you! It’s all about practice and progress, not perfection!”
- Set small, reasonable goals for yourself and celebrate Every. Single. One. When you’re stretching your comfort zone it’s easy to get caught up in the discomfort and all the face plants, scrapes and bruises. When your focus is on what’s not working, of course, you’re going to get disheartened! Make sure you are acknowledging the effort you put in and the small achievements, yes, even when they don’t quite meet expectations. (New information about how something works or does not work is absolutely something to celebrate too!)
- Create a support team. Doing new stuff isn’t easy! Have people to help you stay on track, focus on, assess and re-assess your goals, and to encourage you to keep going. It’s important to note that while our spouse is (hopefully) part of our team, they’re not always the best person to turn to for everything. There may be times when they are too close to what we’re struggling with to be objective and, instead of being helpful, they’ll get caught up in their “stuff” around the topic. Ideally, you have several people who will listen to you, cheerlead you, and also lovingly challenge your perspective when it’s not serving you.
- TRUST THE PROCESS. Most people don’t like the process of growth. We want to jump from wanting it over to it’s just working. Ya know, like a Matrix-style download. The thing is, it’s in our own process where we learn what will help us in each stage of our journey. Of course, there are parts that are more uncomfortable than others and you may want someone else’s process (there are plenty of people who are more than happy to capitalize on that desire.) Remember, uncomfortable doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong (though your basic brain may try and tell you it does) and you never know what pieces of your journey will turn out to be needed later. The universe makes sense, even when it doesn’t seem to in the moment. Whether you’re religious, spiritual, and/or science oriented, they all support the idea that there is a Grand Overall Design. Go with it. Be present. Stay curious.
You’ve got this Momma!
Want to walk through the process more easily, calmly and even joyfully? Think about adding a professionally trained transition support person to your team. Schedule an exploration call and let’s talk about what you’ve got going on and how I can help.
You can also check out my podcast HERE