It’s great to strive to do your best, but when that feeling becomes a compulsion, when you lose sleep because some project didn’t turn out right, or when nothing you can do feels quite good enough, you have veered into the unhealthy territory of perfectionism.
My aim here is to help you determine the difference between a healthy pursuit of excellence and an unhealthy need for perfectionism so I’m providing a few steps you can take to make sure you stay on the sane, happy side of this metaphorical fence.
Here Are 5 Ways You Can Pursue Excellence Without Falling Into Perfectionism:
1) Have a passionate idea of where you want to go with a project, but keep it loose. When you fixate on doing something only one way, you limit your creative options and you miss opportunities to do it an easier or more playful way.
2) Give it your best AND embrace “mistakes” as possible gifts. Think of them as input from the Universe and work with them. It’s great to have a Plan A, but life may steer you in another direction, and that direction could be more rewarding. When I was making my healing album, “Chakra Love,” we made a few “mistakes” that we ended up loving and kept them in. If we didn’t keep an open mind, we may have rejected them off-hand and that would have been a shame.
3) Learn to say “Good enough.” Know when enough is enough. Be sure to apply this idea on a graduating scale. If something is a very short-lived project (something that will be put away or thrown away in a few days), put less time into it and find satisfaction more easily. If something is a longstanding project or one a lot of people will see, allow more time for it and raise your standard just a bit. For instance, if you’re washing your car, “good enough” should come pretty quickly, since you’re just going to drive it and get it dirty again right away.
Whereas, if you’re making a painting a client has commission for their home, you should raise your standard a bit, because the art will be on their walls for years. The important thing is to not treat all projects the same. Perfectionists insist on perfection, even when the thing they are making perfect will have very little shelf life. Don’t fall into that trap.
4) Partner on projects with easy going, fun-loving people who understand that the process of creating is just as important as the thing being created. Other people’s energy and attitudes rub off on you. If you have perfectionist tendencies, don’t work for or with those who are worse than you. It will exacerbate the situation.
5) Purposely make mistakes. Yes, I DID say that. I know, you wouldn’t dream of doing that. I’m telling you, if you are an incorrigible perfectionist, it will be extremely therapeutic. Purposely making mistakes will help you get comfortable with them and show you the world doesn’t end when you make errors, boo boos or blunders.
So, when you’re done with your masterpiece, dishevel it a bit. It just may keep you sane, and more often than not, people love the added “human” touch. If this step feels daunting for you, start with little things. For instance, after you create that absolutely perfect “up do,” pull out a few strands of hair and let them dangle freely. Or once you make your bed with throw pillows perfectly placed on top, take one off and literally throw it back into the mix (that’s why they’re called “throw pillows” anyway).
There, five easy ways you can avoid the perfectionist trap. I hope you found this helpful, because for me, for now, it feels good enough.
Vicki Howie is the Creator of Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™ (find out what inspired her to create them here). She’s also the Creator of Chakra Love, the Chakra Life Cycle System® and she’s the Co-Editor of Conscious Life News. You can visit her website chakraboosters.com,facebook page and youtube channel for lots of free chakra info and gifts. If you enjoy her innovative chakra work, you can pre-order her new book “The Key to the Chakras” here on amazon.com. Love and blessings!