As a recovering perfectionist “perfect” is a word I’ve eliminated from my vocabulary. It’s unobtainable. An illusion. And yet, for the majority of my life something I would strive so hard to live up to. However, just like an addict I often find myself relapsing. And, so begins the story of the closet…
When lock-down started I had one major goal: To remodel our spare room into my own private yoga studio. Somewhere I could practice yoga, hold virtual classes, and create content. It seemed the perfect quarantine project.
I ripped up carpet. Repaired the walls and ceiling, and applied three coats of paint. After the flooring and baseboards were installed I painted the closet. Then it was time to organize the closet, and add finishing touches to the room.
The struggle of a recovering perfectionist
- How could I fit everything in and have it accessible?
- What would be the best arrangement?
- What would I use the most? I’d need those easy to access!
- Which items needed to be on the bottom/top shelves.
- Did I need an extra shelf? If so, where?
- How was all this going to fit in “nicely”?
Not kidding, I had measured the closet, and all the big equipment, and made a plan on graph paper. Of a CLOSET. In a spare room. With doors. That NOBODY would see inside of. Two and half hours later, I realized I’d fallen into perfectionism.
My imperfect closet
Having spent the morning in analysis by paralysis I finally recognized the closet was holding me back from reaching my goals. Realizing my relapse, I exclaimed my frustration to my husband Bob, who reminded me of this quote by Winston Churchill.
After lunch, I just put everything back into the closet – wherever it fit. My goal wasn’t create the perfect closet. The goal was to create a beautiful yoga space, where I could practice and create content. With everything back in the closet, and the room cleaned I put my yoga mat down for the first time and began my first practice!
It was heaven. Did it annoy me that the closet was unorganized? Nope. Not one bit. Ok, maybe initially it did. But, having the space to practice and create was so worth it. Now, I don’t even notice the closet, and honestly in almost a month I’ve barely used anything in there!
Perfection is the enemy of progress – coloring page
To celebrate this learning curve I celebrated by creating this coloring page. When I made it I knew I wanted the arrows to represent perfection holding us back. When I was coloring the page myself just this weekend I noticed something. It’s not perfect. There are MANY “mistakes” on this page. Instead I’m choosing to see them as creative opportunities.
When I think how much of my life is wasted to wanting things to be perfect its sickening. The paralysis by analysis of not starting, or sharing work because of the belief I have to be perfect. Or do my “best work”. Whatever that means. Instead I’m choosing to just move forward. Onward into the messy, disorganized thing we call life. Rather than being stalled by fear, I’m choosing to face the fear and doing it anyway.
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- What creative opportunities are you missing through perfectionism?
- Are you a natural perfectionist or “done is ok” kind of person?
- Share your story with perfectionism in the comments!