How to cheat at perfectionism and get away with it

It’s been one of those weeks where my perfectionism blew up right in my face! It came up with my phycologist and with my Tony Robbins certified coach. It was good and bad.  It was good to get awareness around how hard I push myself to be a perfectionist, and it was bad to feel how miserable it makes me.  Which was also good, because I really don’t want to be miserable.  So dear readers today I’ll tell you how to cheat at perfectionism and get away with it. 

To review a little, if you’ve been following me on my website, Facebook or Linkedin, you know I’m all about awareness, pausing, meditation and change – the easy stuff – LOL!  And most things I write build on each other, and (hopefully) add joy and contentment to your life 😂🤣.  So here I go again – tackling a difficult topic, but I’m ready to dive in to help you.  So what’s the secret sauce? 

The Extraordinary Tony Robbins

To start out, full disclosure. I’m a huge fan of Tony Robbins! I had the pleasure of attending Unleash the Power Within (UPW) live in Miami last year (2019) and it was seriously a game changer for me.  Besides all the music, dancing, yelling, hand clapping and meeting super awesome people, it was four days of mental, physical and emotional exhilaration. Itt was one of the most extraordinary (that’s a word Tony uses a lot) events I’d ever been too! It gave me so much clarity on how I can change beliefs that I learned, but didn’t create! I can’t wait to go again! . Oh yes—brag moment – I did walk over hot firey coals 🔥 at the event! (I don’t think firey 🔥 is a word, but I’m going with it anyway!) 

 One of the big takeaways for me was how he started his career. He’d always been fascinated  (and still is) by people, their behavior, and how they become successful. In fact, he has a saying: success leaves clues. He attended personal growth seminars, read books and listened to tapes (back in the day before streaming came along) and he DID what they told him to do!! What a concept! This is the secret sauce! How many times have you heard people say self-help books and seminars don’t work?  Well they do if you do what Tony did – follow the advice. That’s’ why he is so successful all over the globe.  Aliens probably follow him 👽 too! 

So, I did a Tony if you will and took action in my life when I quit my soul sucking job  and started writing this blog.  I’ve had a Tony Robbins coach for almost two years who challenges me to see that my limiting beliefs that don’t serve me anymore and to replace them with beliefs that do serve me– and perfectionism does not serve me at all! 

Let’s Define Perfectionism

So let’s define this bad boy. This is from Personal Excellence blog’s article called Top 11 Signs That You Are a Perfectionist. 

A perfectionist is a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection. In psychology, perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by “a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.”[1] To a perfectionist, anything that’s less than perfect is unacceptable. 

I don’t know about you but that definition just exhausts me. Here are a few of my excessive high-performance standards and overly critical evaluations. And how I  I cheat at perfectionism and get away with it. 

Be a recovering perfectionist

Here’s ways I cheat at perfectionism and get away with it

Perfectionist thinking: I sign up for too way many courses and I keep adding them and consequently feel overwhelmed because I can’t get them all done fast enough. My flawed thinking tells me that until I get them all done, I will not be successful at social media marketing or be the best inspirational writer on the planet.   As the definition says “anything that’s less than perfect is unacceptable.” I’m not criticizing setting challenging and exciting goals, I’m saying set realistic and attainable ones.

Cheating at perfectionism thinking: I can prioritize the most important courses and implement what I learn. Also, I throw in some compassion like: this is my first go around at having a blog and my own business. I’ve already learned so much about social media and I need to focus my efforts on and use the social media techniques I’ve already learned.  Once I master those I’ll move on to the next. I’ll do the same for writing courses and books. It’s a process not a fricking marathon. 

Perfectionist thinking: My garage is so unorganized and messy-I’ll never get it cleaned and organized. And I didn’t for a long time. But, yesterday I called some junk clean-up companies for quotes to haul all that stuff I don’t need which will be an automatic cleansing for my garage and my head.

Procrastination and perfectionism

I joke with my kids about my relationship with the kitchen.  I want it to be clean, but it wants to be messy.  Truth be told, my dishwasher broke three months ago and I finally ordered a new one this weekend. So, it follows that I’ve had to wash all my dishes by hand and it takes forever!!  And they tend to pile up a lot!  Procrastination only makes perfectionism worse, because things that you don’t get done, swim around in your head and you criticize yourself for not even starting. I told my friend that I could’ve finished decades of taxes with all the “procrastination thinking time I used (they’re still not done😫, but I did start). 

Do you maybe have a few of these perfectionist tendencies yourself? I suspect everyone does at some level.  

What to do

So what to do? I talked to my therapist about how, at times, my darling siblings get pushy with me and how I get flustered, intimidated and lose my self-confidence in a nano second. She then pointed out my own inner pushiness – that perfectionist voice that keeps telling me whatever I do – and I DO A LOT – it’s never good enough which also is intimidating and a confidence-sucker. 

She gave me a very simple tool that I’ve been using this week.  When that mean voice pops up, I take five deep breaths (I’m up to around two or three). Next, I use the good kind of push and tell myself it just ain’t so. I then condemn that thought to the perfectionist graveyard and replace it with something kinder and more compassionate.     

Okay, you have to breath to stay alive—you do it all day every day, but deep breathing seems to be such a cure all.  It’s meditative, allows you to a pause, calms you down and gives you a better perspective…ahhhhh–I feel better already! 

picture with quote "there is no perfection, only beautiful versions of brokenness" with colored circles in the background.

 I loved what I heard in a zoom meeting recently.  This guy spoke about his perfectionist tendencies and how if he didn’t get everything exactly right he thought he was weak and he couldn’t stand it if anyone knew. It made his life a living hell. He’d attended a meditation workshop and shared they told him to embrace his weaknesses – even celebrate them because that’s what makes us so imperfectly human. You are not a human doing, but a human being. You can’t live in the chains of perfection, because it’s so despairing. 

So there you have it – how to cheat perfectionism and get away with it.   Have compassion for yourself. Pause, breath and kick that inner critic out the door.  Replace it with a kind, compassionate and realistic voice.  Embrace your weaknesses and not only will you be kinder and more loving with yourself, you will be kinder and more loving to others.   

Because you have just learned how to cheat at perfectionism, I’ll leave you with a Winnie the Pooh Quote: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you’ll ever know.  Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh

Work on being perfectly imperfect always!

Be sure to email me or leave a comment below of any successes at being imperfect! Let’s get the conversation going 🙂

See you next week!

Kathy

Picture of me, the bloggerer
Kathy

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