Recovering Perfectionist – Notes from the Trenches

Hello.  My name is Whitney, and I am a recovering perfectionist.  I have been a recovering perfectionist for the better part of the last 2 years, with the 30 before that a full blown battle with this insane disease.  Ladies, why are we hard on each other? Because we are so damn hard on ourselves!

I always wore the title of perfectionist as a brand of honor.  A badge that screamed, “I give a shit! I want things to be perfect! Trust me with a job and it will be done better than excellent!” But really, this false sense of honor was long rooted in my internal desire to be accepted.  What a joy kill! Two years ago, after some very deep dark soul searching, I realized that this constant need to please everyone else was totally unnecessary, and well, rarely reciprocated.  So why did I feel the need to continue with it?

Hello.  My name is Whitney, and I am a recovering perfectionist.  I have been a recovering perfectionist for the better part of the last 2 years, with the 30 before that a full blown battle with this insane disease.  Ladies, why are we hard on each other? Because we are so damn hard on ourselves!

From a very early age, I recall an immense desire to have everything perfect.  Toys perfectly organized.  My outfits perfectly matching.  My hair perfectly combed.  Always.  This desire didn’t arise out of someone telling me I needed to be this way, it came and stayed from a very internal place.  In fact, until I really started evaluating my driving forces, I wasn’t even aware my perfectionism was, well, a problem!

I always wore the title of perfectionist as a brand of honor.  A badge that screamed, “I give a shit! I want things to be perfect! Trust me with a job and it will be done better than excellent!” But really, this false sense of honor was long rooted in my internal desire to be accepted.  What a joy kill! Two years ago, after some very deep dark soul searching, I realized that this constant need to please everyone else was totally unnecessary, and well, rarely reciprocated.  So why did I feel the need to continue with it?

The line between excellence and perfectionism is a thin one.  And arguably, the difference between excellence and perfect, really isn’t that big of a difference.  For most, excellence is fulfilling.  Yet, for those of us suffering from perfectionism, even excellence can feel like utter failure.  

So how do you overcome perfectionism?  Here are my notes from the trenches:

  • Know your worthiness.  You are a badassladyboss.  Only YOU have control over how you feel, so start treating yourself with awesomeness so you can feel awesome!  Stop doing things for everyone else, and start doing things for YOU.
  • Set goals.  Big hairy scary goals.  Set these goals for YOU, and for no one else.  Then, relish in how you get to those goals. Dance in the rain, as they say.  The outcome isn’t nearly as important as the way there.
  • Stop striving for 100%, and instead, practice 75%.  You are human.  Stop trying to be a unicorn.  Growth happens in not so excellent/perfect moments.
  • Release your baggage.  This is the topic of a whole other blog, but if you carrying more than a bag or two, girlfriend, you have got to release some of your baggage!

Whitney Dover is a co-founder of BadassLadyBosses.

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