I am a self-proclaimed Type A perfectionist. I am constantly picking at projects (or myself) until it is "perfect" but I learned a while ago that this isn't healthy... at all. I learned to embrace my flaws (and those of anything I was working on) and that not everything needed to be exact-o-mundo. That's a word I made up, haha. So today I want to talk about how I've overcome my need to be little Ms. Perfect.
Strive For Progress, Not Perfection
Motivate Yourself With The "Do Something" Principle
I have a habit of dreaming big dreams, of wanting to run with ALL the new ideas I constantly have, and basically taking on way too much while means I can start things I don’t always finish. Yikes. You could say I have some commitment issues, but the truth is I’m deep-down just afraid of failing. Which is why reading the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*** by Mark Manson (loved it) was kind of amazing-- especially this phrase:
“If we follow the “do something” principle, failure feels unimportant. When the standard of success becomes merely acting – when any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as the reward rather than a prerequisite – we propel ourselves ahead. We feel free to fail, and that failure moves us forward.”
YES. HANDS ALL THE WAY UP! I have found that the “do something” principle is the MOST helpful thing (for me) when it comes to overcoming my perfectionist tendencies and actually getting my content out into the world. With #scicomm superstars and fantastic wildlife educators to compare myself to, sometimes I feel crippled by the pressure to be perfect and can’t stop comparing myself with what everyone else is doing. A downfall of social media, to be completely honest with you.
When I’m having one of those days (or weeks…) where I feel like I'm a "good for nothing fraud," instead of crawling under the multiple blankets I own with a pint of lemon-lime gelato and my iPad to watch Netflix, I try to remind myself to focus on the fact that I am making progress on my craft. What is most important from these interactions, I find, is that I put myself out there and am doing my darn best. And so, I just have to do something to get that progress going!
Start Small. Something Is Better Than Nothing.
Feeling the pressure for your content or work to be perfect? Start out small. Make a to-do list for the day and then do the smallest thing you can possibly do (such as "wake up and make bed" or "wake up and have morning tea/coffee/green juice"). This works for me when I feel stuck or just a tad bit overwhelmed looking at my day.
Here, I'll give you an example: I struggled writing this blog post! There was SO MUCH I wanted to shared with you. But I felt overwhelmed trying to write down all the different trains of thought my mind was taking me down for... so I stopped, took a deep breath, and focused on writing just one paragraph about one topic. Breaking a big task down into smaller chunks helps one create momentum to keep going!
Don’t Get Stuck In Analysis Paralysis
Have you ever found yourself in an “analysis paralysis”? A friend told me that phrase once and it has stuck with me ever since. Basically, it's when you are over-analyzing a situation TOO MUCH and not only end up down a rabbit hole but you can feel overwhelmed because of that! Don't let your thoughts swirl around your head and give you a possible anxiety attack- write it down in a brain dump! I wrote a whole blog post about this process. Here are some steps to stop overthinking, too.
Remember That Nobody’s Perfect
Nobody is perfect, no matter what those squares on Instagram seem to say. Everyone has their own highs or lows, and that is 100% normal and okay. Instead of having green eyes over someone's feed, focus on yourself and your real life (not the #reellife). Your relationships with people you know one-on-one matter more than whoever you follow, and these relationships help you grow into a better person. Strive for better, not perfect.
How do you overcome the pressure to be perfect?
Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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