I’m a perfectionist. I have to have things “just so”. Everything has its place, there is only one way to do things – my way – and my standards of excellence are extremely high.
It’s been a strength that has served me well in business, as I push relentlessly for both quantity and quality with my clients. However, perfectionism can also be a weakness that can easily throw off work-life balance if left unchecked.
I have wasted so much time agonizing over perfecting a sentence in a proposal or tidying around the house that I have missed out on having fun with family and friends, which if I examine my values, are more important to me than new business or a clean house.
Lately, my best teacher in letting go are my kids. A favorite phrase is “never mind” and they teach me not to sweat the small stuff. When one spills chocolate ice cream on a crisp white shirt, he just shrugs and says “never mind mommy, it’s no big deal.” And it usually isn’t. At 4pm, they ask me repeatedly to go outside and play. I often go grudgingly and then have so much fun that I wonder why I even resisted. They help me remember that it is always people first, before appearances or material things.
We often think of pressure as being exerted from outside us, but we also bring a lot of it on ourselves. We are often our biggest bully without even realizing it.
Remember what is most important to you and honor those values. Letting go of type-A expectations and standards may be hard at first as you make a choice to be less than perfect. But remember that no one is perfect. We’re all just human after all.
What does it mean to be perfect?
What does it cost you in your life?
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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