Embracing Imperfectionism: a new path to growth

I thought I knew a lot about perfectionism.

I’ve heard that word all my life. I remember times when it felt crippling to get things “right”.

We may not want to claim it, but perfectionism has a way of claiming us. Usually where we least expect it.

Friday, alongside the most incredible group of women, we unpacked the tricky places we don’t see perfectionism coming. 

Perfectionism comes in all shapes and sizes. And according to the research, it’s grown 40% since the 80s.

On one level, this seems surprising given how far we’ve come – for women, specifically. But while we may have dropped the 1950s version of expectations for image and roles, we’ve replaced it with a version that is just as exhausting and includes next level accomplishment. 

Thank you, social media.

The stakes are high and not just for women. 

Adam Grant, organizational psychologist, and best selling author, talks about Perfectionism in his latest book, Hidden Potential, sharing how he failed his own perfectionism quiz

The good news is, you’re not alone. 

It’s easy to miss. Because perfectionism LOOKS good – internally we celebrate the way it reinforces our excellence. 

But don’t miss what else it causes:

  • Obsession over details that don’t matter
  • Avoidance over unfamiliar situations
  • Beratement over mistakes 
  • The inability to START those things you want so much to create

We’re not learning or growing when we’re trying to get things perfect or “right”. 

It’s sucking more life than it’s giving. 

Replacing perfectionism with curiosity and healthy levels of discomfort FUEL the next level. 

It gets us more of what we want, not less. 

As for me? Here’s what I learned in this journey through outing perfectionism:

-In an effort to make sure no one had an allergic reaction to the insane amount of dog hair my goldens shed off, I inadvertently sent the message that my house looks like they don’t live here. 

-In an effort to honor the investment in a photographer, I failed to convey that half the time I go without brushing my hair for days 🙂.

This was such a fun exercise in risk and getting to learn from a brand new experience. We failed at a few things – like staying on time so that we could give every point its due. I’ll take 85% over never. 

My biggest takeaway from all this? I’m actually loving my new relationship with failure.

So, let’s stop trying to BE perfect. 

The more we fight this idea of being “perfect” together, the further we get. And sometimes we have to go first. 

So today, I’m celebrating the dog hair on the floor. Because they do live here and that’s the best part. 🙂