I am trying something very new! I am writing this blog post at 4:24pm Friday April 13th with absolutely no PLAN. I don’t know what I’m going to write. All I know is that I had the sudden urge to just get a blog post out! I have a few in the hopper but my PERFECTIONISM is keeping me from posting them!
Has this ever happened to you? Inspiration strikes, you have AMAZING vibes around a project and the joy of creation totally strikes, then your brain gets in the way. Anybody? (Raising my hand like a god with 1000 arms.) I have an idea mapped out for a book. I have a month’s worth of blogs sketched out and yet it’s April 13th and I’ve only posted 3 blogs total for 2018. So when I get this posted it will mean I’ve averaged 1 per month. While I love crafting beautiful work for you to read I think my perfectionism is f&*king with me! My blog posts get so long that I wonder if anyone would even make it all the way through them! I love that I offer tips to help you on your path to happiness but sometimes it feels like a full chapter of a BOOK. I want this to be easy for you and for me. Easy to read. I love the writing process but the editing process really takes it out of me.
So here I am, flying by the seat of my pants, as fast and as far away as I can from perfectionism. The struggle is real. Let me break down the scenario. We’ve all had this loop of frustration. Perfectionism comes in many forms. It doesn’t always come in the form of a type-A organization methods or a Martha Stewart style kitchen. It can come in the home of someone who doesn’t know where to start so they do nothing. It’s called analysis paralysis. In your mind you might know where you want to go and what you want to do but the final vision is so far from where we are now that even starting is overwhelming. Analysis paralysis also comes when we look around and see 100 projects and try to start all of them at once. A couple days later things are way worse than when we started, we’re exhausted with even more anxiety, and frustration sets in. Thoughts like “I don’t know how to do this”, “Look at this mess!”, and “Can’t I do anything right?!” can all drag you down.
And that’s when we’re looking at external environment. Don’t even get me started on how we talk about ourselves! You know what I mean. “Why can’t I lose the weight?” “Why can’t I get ahead?” “Why am I depressed?” “Why can’t I be happy like ‘everyone else’?” These are all lies we tell ourselves. I was bullied in school. Teasing was a daily ritual until I made myself so small and stopped caring or doing anything for myself. I KNEW I would never be perfect and I think it was a blessing in disguise. I knew perfection is a BIG FAT LIE!! NOBODY IS PERFECT!! That is the lie society is trying to cover up in advertising. “If you buy this ______ you will be happy and your life will be perfect.” LIES LIES LIES!!!
INSERT PERFECT DEFINITION
Perfection as we think of it today has come to mean doing everything exactly right all the time and having no flaws whatsoever. It’s not even the real definition of the word! There is a reference to being free from any flaw but it’s only used in reference to something mechanical! Putting those kind of restrictions on ourselves as biological & spiritual beings is crazy. We are not robots! We ebb. We flow. We grow up and then things fall down. Our face, our body, our butts. You get the picture.
So what do we do?
Step 1. Take a Breathe. Think about the journey of how you got to where you are today. Instead of thinking about all the things you “got wrong”, remember all the LESSONS you learned from all the situations you got yourself into. You are here because of every step you took on that journey. Honor that. Try to love yourself where you are today and say thank you to You!
Step 2. Take a Step. If you have a vague idea about where you want to go next on your journey then maybe write down a couple goals, or 20. Figure out where you’re going before you take the next step. Figuring out where you want to go next is the most important thing you can do today. Tomorrow, take the first step.
Step 3. Take it one day at a time. When you’re walking down the street, you don’t leap down the road. That would be exhausting. Also, it’s running. Some people like that. Weirdos! (jk)
Take one small step each day. Just focus on the one step each day. Don’t overdo it. Don’t worry about getting it “wrong” either. If you try to be “perfect” you are lying to yourself that “perfect” is the ideal way to live your life. IT’S NOT! STOP LYING TO YOURSELF! Good enough is good enough. Besides, what’s perfect to you is quite possibly someone else’s version of torture. It’s all relative.
Step 4. Go with the flow. If you try to schedule your life to the minute you will be immediately “disappointed” in yourself. There is a great quote from a youtube lady I love, Amy Landino.
“Stop ‘shoulding’ all over yourself.”
To do lists and overscheduled lives don’t leave room for magic, fun, and love! Or room to breathe for that matter. It’s sad to say but I don’t know how many times I’ve delayed playing with my daughter because I “had to” fold the laundry. “Will you play with me pleeeease?” rings in my ears! It haunts me. Sure the laundry needs to get done, eventually. Is it more important than my daughter?! HELL NO! My laundry routine used to be crazy. It was time to do laundry when the dresser drawers were practically empty. Nowadays I’m on top of it! I think I can wait a few hours to fold laundry to enjoy some spontaneous playtime with her. When I’m rigid with what “has” to get done I miss out, big time. So does she.
Step 5. Where does your time go? 43,800. If someone gave you that much money, what would you do with it? I bet you have at least 5 ideas of what you could do with that kind of windfall. And yet we get that much time over 5 years. That is how many hours you get in total over 5 years. If you invested that amount of money you could make a pretty profit but if you took all of it and used none of it for pleasure in the meantime, it wouldn’t be very much fun would it? It’s the same with your time. You could use all that time for work, but it’s not very much fun. Life is to be enjoyed. If your work is taking precedent to spending time with family it’s time to course correct. If your conversations start with “I’m just so busy” than you are letting your life and family slip by, missing the most precious few moments that you’re given in favor of what? Maybe you don’t like your family. That’s ok. Find time for friends that are a new family. Just take a look at where your time is going.
Step 6. Redesign your Life. If you’re one of the 90% of people who work for your someone else and don’t have flexibility in your schedule you are going to possibly feel like you have no control over your life. We have to survive. But isn’t your life worth more than just “surviving”? What steps can you take to make it better. Maybe change your work availability if that’s an option. Work on your passions as a side hustle until something comes of it. Maybe there’s something you love to do but instead of making time for it you watch 3-4 hours of screens/social media. Are you too busy watching someone else’s life to live your own? What needs to change in order for you to create the life you’ve always wanted!? Even if you take 30 minutes a day for what you love, that’s 1560 hours in a year! 7800 hours over 5 years. Just spending 30 minutes a day on you.
If you’re self employed however, what are you waiting for?! What needs to change to create the life you’ve always wanted!? You became self employed so you could CREATE your life. Live it the way you always wanted. What did you imagine? What needs to change in order to make it better? Do you need to charge more for your goods or services? Are your clients “demanding” you work on days that you would like to handle the business side of your business? My chiropractor’s got a great idea. She closes on Thursdays so that she can do her paperwork! Brilliant. She makes up for it by working a half day on select Saturdays. It’s not even every week. She also hired another doctor to work with her so that she could increase her office availability. If you don’t like something, change it. Learn how to ask for help for the mundane stuff you hate doing, like bookkeeping or social media. The tedious stuff. You do what you love and farm out the rest to a virtual assistant whom you pay to do things YOUR way. “You’re the boss. All you have to do is act like one.” Katherine Johnson ~ Hidden Figures.
Step 7. Choose your Destiny. “Easier said than done” I’m already hearing you say. Don’t think I don’t know! There were quite a few times I thought about moving to Seattle and Australia and didn’t. Ideas like this are EXHILARATING! Then our practical perfectionist (fear) brain chimes in with “How is that gonna work? It’s impossible.” It’s at that point you have to say to your fear “Thanks for looking out for me, but I got this.” Fear is your checks and balances to make sure you really want to go after something. It’s to make sure you don’t die. Fight or Flight. Don’t run away from your dreams. The memories of the adventures going after what you always wanted will be able to keep you company in your later days. Don’t end up with a basket of “should ofs” instead of a book full of memories. Did I go to Seattle? Not Yet! Did I go to Australia. Damn right. For 6 weeks. Head full of memories. Figure out where you want to go and take one step. Even if that step is figuring out what you want. Take some time, but don’t EVER give up.
I realize that all I mentioned above can cause the ground to quake in all of us. It’s scary to take charge of your life in a new way. I love to shake things up. It’s what I’ve always done. It’s like I take the cards of my life and occasionally toss them in the air like a game of 52 pickup. Anyone else love that game as a kid? I AM NOT SUGGESTING YOU TOSS YOUR LIFE!! But what about shaking it up a bit if it’s not working for you? What needs to be tweaked or edited?
Here’s some questions to get you started.
What makes me happy just as it is?
What needs work?
What totally sucks right now? If this doesn’t apply then what annoys you?
What do you wish you could just finally get past or heal?
This post is dedicated to Frances. I wish I knew you better but you are a reminder as to why time is precious and why people are more precious than work. May you be lifted on the wings of angels home.
Have a good day my dears. If you’ve made it to the end I hope you engage in this beautiful adventure of life. We all never know how long we have. My hope is you squeeze and savor every drop of nectar of life out until the very end.