Fighting the Plague of Perfectionism

As the wise Chumbawamba once said, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down.” Hey self, if you can’t handle me at my Chumba, you don’t deserve me at my wamba.

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I’m officially a month into blogging regularly and hit my first bout of writer’s block. That’s not to say I don’t have ideas. In fact, I have a very long list of topics to write about. I’d display a screenshot to prove it, but David Blaine never reveals his tricks, so neither shall I.

I had a bit of an emotional breakdown last week. When I say a bit, I mean, I showed up to work, went to fill up my water bottle and then promptly ran to the bathroom to have a panic attack on the lidless toilet in my office bathroom.

After semi-pulling it together, I checked myself in the mirror to discover that I had sweat through a layer of clothing and looked like I used poison ivy as a facial moisturizer. It was embarrassing. I understand that it shouldn’t be but I pride myself in not inconveniencing others with my feelings. As it so happens, there’s only so long you can go keeping up the facade that you’re a feelingless robot.

This fun start to my Wednesday led me to an unexpected, but necessary day off. I’m incredibly grateful my workplace understands the importance of mental health. After a good cry, a change of clothes, a load of Lily snuggles and a long nap, I took time to reflect on why the hell I fell apart so I could proactively identify those triggers in the future.

Turns out I’m absolutely plagued by my perfectionistic ideals. This is especially confusing to me because I embrace being different and proudly lean into my quirks.

tumblr_lwoyz7nUZM1r7cg2ro5_1280The only genuine examples I could offer of ‘perfection’ is Chanandler Bong with a piece of gum and things fitting perfectly into other unrelated things. So unexpected and oh, so satisfying. Being ~the best~ doesn’t even exist, unless of course, you’re an Olympic gold medalist. In that case, I digress, you are the best and deserve every bite of that delicious gold medal.

I put too much energy into the expectation that I can be the Swiffer Wet Jet wedged perfectly between 2 walls without doing any of the work. WHY.

Every Friday, my team at work watches a different Ted Talk. This week, we watched Simon Sinek’s talk about millennials in the workplace, the challenges they face daily due to the industry, and what they’ve come to look for in an ideal job. He implied that the basic need of all millennials is to make a meaningful impact.

I identify with this on a personal level. The issue is that in order to effectively make an impact, you must be good at what you’re doing and ugh, being good at what you’re doing takes patience, practice and work. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

With the instantly gratifying ‘likes’ that fuel our social media presences, we’ve grown accustomed to celebrating major achievements while often ignoring the hustle behind attaining them.

Making an impact takes time. Building a career takes time. Being a badass at life takes time and, oh yeah, also a fuck load of work.

With all that’s transpired, this was a blaring reminder of the importance of setting realistic goals for myself and not comparing my accomplishments to others. Too often, I focus my energy on criticizing my missteps instead of creating through the chaos. I’m my own worst critic and damn, can I be relentless.

To battle my inner bully on doing everything right the first time, (BECAUSE LOL THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS,) I created a list of questions to ask myself that bares a striking resemblance to SMART goals. Read more about those here.

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  1. Am I willing to fight, defend and make sacrifices for this?
  2. Is where I expect myself to be right now reasonable?
  3. What steps will I take to improve over time?
  4. How will I measure my progress, minor accomplishments and major successes?
  5. When and how much time will I invest to get to where I want to be?

I realized that I was approaching some goals with this mindset but not all of them. For example, while I made a beautiful content planning guide for my blog with 5 reasonable goals each month to achieve, I also returned to performing in an improv show after letting those skills collect dust for a year and expected my improvisation to be groundbreaking. I’ll let you in on a little secret: it wasn’t.

It’s imperative to consider every goal with these 5 questions in mind and measure their progress. I’ve wasted so much time being disappointed in myself for not meeting my own expectations when I could be embracing where I am in my journey.

The pain points in the process are what help us grow, what make us stronger. Fight through your downfalls and plateaus to build your drive to accomplish being the badass you’re born to be.

As the wise Chumbawamba once said, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down.” And as my boyfriend once remarked, which I shall now remark to myself,

If you can’t handle me at my chumba, you don’t deserve me at my wamba.

2 comments on “Fighting the Plague of Perfectionism”

  1. Your ability to articulate this all so well is very admirable. Thanks for sharing your ups and downs with us, please don’t let the writers block stop you from writing. XO.

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