Are you a closet perfectionist?
I never thought of myself as a perfectionist because I’m a bit messy. Ok, I am quite messy, but prone to random acts of tidyness.
Perfectionists are people whose desks, and homes, are designer white and clutter-free; their belongings colour coded and ordered into neat, symmetrical stacks; their life smells like fresh lemon cleaning spray.
I find symmetry, if it even exists, quite disturbing. As is the idea of wasting more than a precious minute on tidying. (Unless I’m writing, in which case tidying lures me from my desk like a siren call).
It is only as I write the final pages of my business book, in the dying days of 2018, that I remember what a friend told me — perfectionism is when you can’t let things go. By let them go, they meant have them leave your hands and make their way into the world as a new creation; to be judged a success or otherwise.
On that level, I will freely admit, I am a control freak.
Case-in-point. Said business book was pretty much written five years ago. Yes, I have been waiting five years for a few weeks to tidy up a few edits and release it. It is fear of judgement, not time, that has thwarted that effort. And that is tragic.
As I look back on my professional life I recognise many such perfectionist acts which have seen me hold projects and creations hostage far longer than necessary. Sometimes killing them in the process due to poor timing.
Something which helped me deal differently with my apparent perfectionism this year is producing a live TV show. Because content must be delivered weekly, in live format, I have been forced to make rapid choices and stand by them – whether that be talent choices or the choice of words in a script. I’ve often had to go with my first instincts and take the bird in hand. In the process I have learned to trust those instincts and understand the value of committing to action is higher than delaying something for an outcome that may not even be possible.
I have no further great insights on this just yet. But in the interests of overcoming perfectionism I will publish this now, in its first form.
Ps: I did find this article helpful. https://medium.com/s/story/the-perfectionists-guide-to-failing-d206132f032
My book The Business of Being YOU is available on Amazon and in all bookstores.