“Today I affirm that there is nothing in me but love. This love comes from total acceptance of myself and the understanding that I am a perfectly imperfect human being. I will walk through today and allow myself to fully express my perfection. I realize that all my “faults” are actually the Universe’s unique way of expressing itself through me. I let go of self judgment and any projected judgments of others that I have chosen to believe and finally allow myself to just be what I truly am: infinite. As this is true for me, so it is true for all other beings on the planet. I will choose to accept everyone in my life with the same radical acceptance I have for myself knowing that we are all perfectly imperfect human beings simply doing the best we can. And so it is.” – Jackson Kiddard
When I was younger and asked “What is your weakness?” during interviews, I used to reply with, “I’m a perfectionist!”. I thought my answer was great at the time because it meant that I worked really hard to be perfect and that can’t be all that bad.
Back then, I defined a perfectionist as someone who strove to be perfect. Perfectionists went above and beyond to ensure everything was done with quality and excellence. There was no room for mistakes. Even the effort of being perfect was soothing to my conscious mind because then I knew I did everything in my power to be the best I can be.
Being a perfectionist was a good thing…so I thought.
What I did not consider was what was really fueling the desire to be perfect? Why did I want to be perfect?
A month ago, my perfectionist nature crept up on me once again during what I believed was one of my worst workshop experiences.
Leading up to this event, I got really nervous. At first, the nervous feeling was more of an exciting feeling. I had read about the team and company and felt completely aligned with their core values and purpose. I even took the time to speak with one of the Partners to get a feel for the group and to help calm down my hibbie jibbies.
Why was I so nervous? I’ve facilitated many workshops before. It’s what I love to do.
My unconscious need to be perfect got in the way.
I recalled the Partner stating “Lorie, please note that we are all strong facilitators. There will be some personalities in the room that may take over. Be prepared.”
The words “be prepared” repeated in my brain like an echo in a hollow cave. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. I became fearful.
Rather than just show up as myself, knowing and feeling grounded with who I am as a facilitator (and human being), I started to unravel and got stuck in my head. I tried to do things differently and instead, I became unnatural. I was not myself.
Here’s what went on in my head and body as a perfectionist.
- Self-Doubt – I started to question my abilities and gifts as a facilitator. The questions that ran through my head over and over again were:
- What if I’m not good enough to facilitate in front of other experienced facilitators?
- What if I can’t meet everyone’s expectations?
- What if I screw up and forget something?
- What if I’m not able to get the results they wanted?
- What if I run out of time?
- What if they don’t see the value of my work?
- What if they tell others I suck?
- What if I’m not cut out to be a facilitator?
- Anxiety – It’s usually not a bad thing to be nervous. Sometimes, being nervous means you just care about the situation and want to do your best. However, this nervousness came from a place of fear. I wanted to do my best because I was so afraid of not being perfect. The thought of failing or not doing my best was paralyzing.
- Expectations – I created such high expectations for myself so that it would be impossible for me to meet them. I went into the session already believing I wouldn’t succeed. In my mind, I told myself, “I’m not good enough” and then I made that statement true with my actions.
With self-doubt, anxiety, and expectations working together, it is almost impossible to allow yourself to show up authentically. When you are focused on external elements (what others think), you are not able to lead from your heart. You forget your core values and purpose. In this state of mind (i.e. being stuck in my head), I could not free myself to be me. I was lost and clouded by the myth of perfectionism.
Brené Brown defines perfectionism as the following:
“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”
My need to be perfect stems from having felt shame and judgement. I don’t like that feeling so I sometimes go to a place where I start to fixate on being perfect to avoid experiencing any shame, guilt and criticism. The act of being perfect was more about saving myself from being judged.
In the book The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, they share that, “The irony is that perfectionism actually inhibits achievement. Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson, authors of The Plateau Effect, call it the “enemy of the good,” leading to piles of useless, unfinished work, and hours of wasted time, because, in the pursuit of it, we put off difficult tasks waiting to be perfectly ready before we start.”
TRUTH TALK: There’s no such thing as being perfect. Being human is not about perfectionism. It’s about having a high level of understanding, compassion and empathy for yourself and others. There’s also no such thing as mistakes. Every experience is a learning opportunity. It’s a gift for you to grow and learn more about yourself.
What if I let go of being perfect and already know in my heart that I am perfectly imperfect?
It is possible. Here are the benefits of being imperfect.
BENEFIT 1: You are stronger. There’s no pressure or anxiety. You have a strong sense of confidence in who you are and therefore, you feel an inner strength and peace.
BENEFIT 2: You are free. There’s no need to control the situation. You know that everything is happening for a reason. You fully accept yourself and all the people around you.
BENEFIT 3: You are fully present. You are not worrying about what just happened or what is going to happen in the future. You are calm and authentically listening. Your intuition is stronger and you can hear and feel the energy of your surroundings.
BENEFIT 4: You are fun! When you release any expectations and just go with the flow, you can create and be part of the experience. In that space of presence and knowing, you will experience joy and happiness.
BENEFIT 5: You are love. When you are leading with your core values and purpose, you are whole and complete. It won’t matter what people say or do. All that matters is that you are staying true to your authentic self and having the courage to be imperfect.
Love who you are. Accept that what is happening is supposed to be happening, and have the courage to be your most authentic self. It’s so much easier.
What can you do today to be imperfect?
Start with defining your personal core values. Connect with me today! #getmessy