How Perfectionism Gets in Our Way

Have you heard the expression, “nobody’s perfect?” If that’s the case, then why are we trying so hard to reach this level of perfection in our lives, in our work, and what we expect from ourselves overall? 

What is perfect anyway? Who decided what is perfect? Who are we comparing ourselves to? We already know that comparing ourselves to others can be a very dangerous road to follow. It is not a road that is healthy for our self-esteem when we are all trying to live our best life! 

In our Getting Started: Motivation and ADHD podcast, we talk about how difficult it can be to start those projects that seem hard or boring to do. But one of the other reasons we may be avoiding certain projects, is because we label ourselves as perfectionists. At first, it sounds like a positive thing. We want things to be a certain way, we want people to like it, we want to be proud of whatever it is we are doing. However, what sounds like a positive characteristic, can actually be what’s getting in our way. We are so consumed with the fear that the end result will not be perfect enough, that we decide not to work on the project at all. 

“If I can’t do it right, I might as well not do it at all!” Sound familiar? This is an "all or nothing" mindset that is common with ADHD. What happened to do just doing the best you can and being proud of that? As a parent, this is what I tell my children. I let them know that no matter what the outcome, I am proud of them and I love them unconditionally.

You will never hear me say, "Well you didn’t play a perfect game, you can do better!" It sounds so harsh, doesn't it? Perfectionism can be ugly and mean. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t try your best or strive to do your best work; however, there is a balance. You can choose to do something well, but manage your expectations along the way. Be kind to yourself and you will be more successful. 

I prefer doing my work without judgement or comparison of what I think is perfect. I want to look back at my work and know, that at the time, I did the best I knew how to do. If it didn’t turn out exactly as planned, that’s ok.

Life is not meant to be perfect. This is how we learn, grow, and become better human beings. 

Until Next Time,

Nikki