It’s taken me about seven months to write this blog post. Seven months! Why? Because, for some reason, even though I have two personal blogs already, this one felt BIG. The business blog – it’s a big one, right? I need to connect with you, to show what I can do, how well I can do it and why you should come back for more… The website? I just got on with it, got it up and made some tweaks (and am still making tweaks) along the way.
The blog just felt like a bit of a mountain. One that I didn’t want to climb unless I could do so perfectly.
I’m a recovering perfectionist
That’s my story. Well, part of it anyway. I used to be quite proud of my perfectionism and when I first started looking for work (we’re going back quite a bit here!), I even mentioned it as a strength, not realising that an astute employer would absolutely see this as a weakness. Why? Because perfectionism often translates into procrastination, which means either that nothing gets done or that what does get done creates so much stress that it requires a bit of a lie down afterwards.
Take this post, for example
I wrote my first blog post ages ago. In my head. I don’t remember what I had intended to write about but it wasn’t this! What I do remember, is thinking, ‘That’s not quite right’. What I actually meant was, ‘it’s not perfect’ (and it had to be perfect!). So I brainstormed (on paper), drafted and re-drafted different posts (again, only in my head), fiddled about with my website, asked people for advice and generally did everything except write the thing!
Perfectionism = Procrastination
Not always but often. Wait until something is ‘just right’ and it might never get done. I still like things to be done well (and that attention to detail is handy as a writer!) but the key word here is done. Faffing about with minor details never gets anything done.
I can still slip back into perfectionist/procrastinator mode when I’m doing something new and scary – stepping outside of my comfort zone can bring some of my old stories back from time to time – but the difference now is that I know these stories and I can remind myself that I have changed them. ‘I’m a perfectionist’ is no longer my story. This blog post? I had a word with myself and one afternoon when my son fell asleep I opened the laptop, wrote it in 20 minutes, came back to it a day later and posted it. It might not be perfect, but it’s done.
Are you a perfectionist? What do you want to do that you still haven’t got round to because you’re waiting for everything to be perfect? What would it be like if you just went ahead and started anyway? Do share your stories in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!