Hello everyone, my name is Karen, and I am a recovering perfectionist.
I am not perfect nor do I aspire to perfection anymore, because the pursuit of perfection made me a terrible person.
Instead, I work on how to be authentic, not perfect.
Pursuing authenticity is incredibly freeing because, for the better part of my life I would have absolutely agreed with the quote on the right by Hunter Thompson.
Interestingly, Hunter Thompson was a writer who committed suicide after a tumultuous life and a long battle with multiple illnesses.
I wonder if constantly striving to do everything right had anything to do with his mental health?
As I get older, the second quote from Steve Brown, a jazz musician and educator, inspires me so much more.
Steve Brown is still around, making music and living his life. I like his life philosophy so much better.
No one is perfect, but everyone can be authentic
Having to do something perfectly stifles creativity and new ideas.
It also creates procrastination.
Sounds crazy, I know, but think about this.
We put things off because we don’t have time to do the job right, or to do it the way we think we should.
We keep putting it off until the job overwhelms us and sucks our mental and emotional energy.
Finally, we get angry because we fixate on how something “should” be done.
It’s time to stop “shoulding” on ourselves.
We don’t need to be perfect at anything except being us and all that takes is authenticity.
What if all you ever need to do is your best, even if that falls short of perfection?
What is more important than to be your authentic self and do your best?
When a child is learning to walk, we never tell them to wait until they can walk perfectly.
They wobble and fall. They take baby steps, and get scared.
We encourage them and cheer them on, and eventually they walk across the floor, and we celebrate as if they won an Olympic medal.
We never tell them their best isn’t good enough.
What if we did the same with ourselves and focused on being our best authentic self rather than some fake perfect version?
Seek authentic improvement
What if it takes you a week or a month to do a project 15 minutes per day rather than in one long 4 hour stretch?
You still finish the job without exhausting yourself in the process.
Trust me, there’s magic in a focused 15 minutes.
Don’t believe me? Pick a project and spend 15 focused minutes per day working on that project and walk away when the timer runs out.
If the project involves getting rid of or creating something, take pictures every day so you can see your progress.
I promise you that within a week you will make a difference, and you’ll still have energy to do other things.
You can start tapping into The Magic of Fifteen Minutes and eliminate perfectionism and procrastination and replace it with productivity.
If you’re busy this is such a great way to practice being authentic rather than perfect.
You can paint a room, declutter a closet or basement or write a book this way.
The best way to do any project is the way that makes you feel powerful rather than depleted.
Yes, it may be different than your mother, husband or best friend does things, but if it works for you, who cares?
Life as a practice of authenticity
Here’s something to think about.
Being a doctor is one of the most demanding professions in the world.
It takes years of schooling and on the job training.
A mistake could cost someone’s life, and yet they call it the practice of medicine, not the perfection of medicine.
Yoga is a type of exercise that makes great demands on your mind, body and spirit. I mean, have you ever seen some of the more difficult poses?
I doubt if I’ll ever be able to control my body like that AND look serene doing it.
Yoga is also called a practice. Hmmmm.
Maybe we should all give up the idea of doing things perfectly and being the perfect person.
Perhaps it would be better to just do our best always, get better and practice living well.
That isn’t just how to be authentic. It’s how to live a great life.
I’m willing to try it. How about you?
What part of your life would you like to improve?
What if you could improve faster based on your personality?
Whether you’re a driven task oriented person, fun loving outgoing person, a security seeking family person or a cautious reserved person, you can learn how to be authentically awesome.
When you understand your personality type and the personality type of others, you can live your best life and help others live theirs.
Want to be a master of how to live an authentic life and kick perfectionism to the curb?
Start by reading the article Which of the four personality types are you?
For those who are part of a group or organization DISCover Your Team’s Potential can show you how to improve your group’s communication and success.
Also, check out the Moving Toward Better DISC Services Page to schedule a personal assessment and consultation or schedule a training for your group or organization.
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Remember to always keep moving toward better and live your best life and let the rest go.