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
While my mat would be out permanently (so I was ready to practice anytime) I needed to store weights, yoga ball, and blocks etc. And, so began operation closet organization.
- 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!
I am not a perfectionist but I know people who say they are I can not disagree with that. Nice post!
I have never been anywhere near to perfection, but yes I progress.
progressing is the important part for growth!
I am definitely a slight perfectionist. But it has to do with not wanting to redo something over again. So I just like to have it done once.
I can so relate to this feeling!
Kristine Nicole Alessandra
I cannot fully say that I am a perfectionist, but there are some days that I want everything in its place, and every task that I have scheduled for the day must be done before I go to bed. It does not happen often though. I guess it is just my mood.
I think there are things that get done that influence our mood too. I know I “go with the flow” sometimes, then often beat myself up cos I didn’t “achieve” anything. It’s ok to do nothing! Creative flow needs recharging!
I must admit I’m a bit of a perfectionist myself. I don’t think I’m missing out on anything though. I do like to do most things properly.
Hahaha I had to laugh at the last sentence, I relate to that so much!
My adopted father was a perfectionist. I am not, and must say thankfully so, but I had suffered under his need for perfection which left no room for creative expression and freedom to explore. I swore I would not do that to my children, and I did not. However, after having been married to someone who is overly spontaneous, I learned to forge a balance between the two extremes, at least I am thriving to get there. Blessings!
I can so relate to the spontaneous thing. I’m a planner, hubby is not. We have learned to compromise!
Charlotte Petit Noble
I can totally relate to that. Perfection has been a struggle of mine as well. As a recovery perfectionist, I have one mission that is to never wait any more minutes for perfection to do things that inspire me.
YES! That’s a great motto! I have to say that perfection is what has stopped me from speaking my truth for so long. A video/photo doesn’t need to be perfect. The wording doesn’t need to be perfect. What’s important is the MESSAGE and EDUCATION!
Lol…some things are just not worth it. Although I do prefer order, I’m not fanatical or OCD about it and can find things in my organized chaos.
I must admit that most of the time, I’m a perfectionist too. Maybe because I grew up with the same kind of environment.
Yep it’s tough when you grow up with that mindset!
Yes! My husband is semi-organized chaos type also!