Perfectionists…it is time to start being kinder to yourself!

I’ll confess it now. I am a perfectionist!

I expect so much of myself, set often ridiculous expectations and standards of performance, and I get cross with myself when I don’t get everything right – all of the time. This tendency does mess with my confidence sometimes and it also sometimes messes with my stress levels. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Fortunately as an adult, I have slowly learned the art of perspective (well, most of the time anyway)!

I make use of the tools I have shared with you in previous posts – I pay attention to different wellbeing strategies, I actively aim to use my strengths and cultivate positive emotions, I keep organised and (try) to set realistic plans, and when the ‘imposter’ feeling pays a visit, I actively work on rebuilding my confidence.

Now don’t get me wrong, perfectionism isn’t all bad. It has helped me to be successful so far and it does help me to continue to strive to be my best. But it can also come with some unhelpful tendencies – and now that we are parents, we can also see that it can be passed on with our DNA!

Paul recently came across a great video with Marshall Goldsmith and Sally Helgesen and shared it with me. We wondered if it would be useful to share with other members of our family. Since watching it, I have found myself thinking about from my own perspective too, and have found myself more regularly thinking or saying the simple phrase used in the video more often. ‘Oh, well’! I am doing this partly for others – to help role model a way to help combat the unhelpful elements of perfectionism and know that it is ok to be an imperfect human, but also for me – that I can also be an imperfect human – we perfectionists need to be kinder to ourselves!

We thought others in our network might find this 13 minute video useful too! It starts by sharing some information for women in business and for organisations to be more inclusive and manage diversity, particularly talking about the behaviours that have got you ‘here’ are not those that will necessarily help to get you ‘there’. Sally shares some behaviours that may hold people back from progressing – 12 that essentially stem from either a person’s feeling that they need to be perfect (and that if you are not it is a disaster, or you are disgraced or have let people down) or a deep need to please…and then Sally and Marshall share a powerful (and amusing) personal story. If you are pressed for time, this starts at approximately 7 minutes. It is worth hearing – it will make you giggle and stick with you!

If you enjoyed the story behind ‘oh well!’, here is another version that goes a little deeper into the learning Sally had personally about the amusing moments of forgetting pants, an embarrasing exit from the cubicle, and having a clash in appointments!