Suffering from Perfection Paralysis? Well then, Fuck It.
By Casey Erin Wood
I’ve missed out on a lot of things. A lot of amazing experiences and opportunities have passed me by and for no other reason than I let them.
Instead of jumping in and trying something new or speaking up and saying Yes, I let myself be sidelined. Why would I do this? Why would a perfectly capable person knowingly miss out on things they really wanted to do, things they really wanted to try?
Perfection paralysis… the freezing of your life in order to perpetuate the impossible standards you have set for yourself, in response to the impossible standards set for us by our culture and society. It’s a real thing and I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person (or last) to suffer from it.
I think most women have the compulsive need to be perfect, in varying degrees, in different areas of their lives. I know women who won’t leave their house without full makeup, but wouldn’t blink an eye to tell you they can’t do their own taxes. I also know women who would laugh off a major wardrobe malfunction at at black tie event but would lose their shit if they turned in a report with a typo. It all depends how much of our identify is tied up in the action at hand and how much we care what other people think.
Where the real problem comes in is when we allow that need for perfection to actually control us, stop us from trying, keep us in our safe zone and away from doing anything that might lead to us to look foolish or less than, in eyes of someone else. Then we are in Perfection Paralysis.
That was me for a very long time. I missed out because I was afraid, because of course you are never perfect the first time out of the gate, so better just to watch from the sidelines. “No, I’m good. You guys go ahead. l’ll just watch.” I became a really good cheerleader.
I still am a really good cheerleader, in fact I absolutely love celebrating other people’s success and accomplishments, but a few years back I realized something: I wanted to celebrate my own too!
I wanted to be engaged in life, I wanted to feel the exhilaration of extending myself, testing my limits and seeing what I was capable of and I wanted to be me, not a version of me that works for everyone else, but the real honest to goodness me, the one that had been lost somewhere along the way.
It’s not like one day I just completely stopped worrying about what other people think, in fact I consider myself a recovering perfectionist and probably always will.
I just realized that how I feel is far more important than what other people think.
Because really, what other people think about me is completely out of my control. But how I feel in my own skin, how I see myself through my own eyes, is a choice I get to make each and every day.
And I choose to be bold, I choose to be passionate, I choose to be myself and I choose to say “Fuck It” to being perfect.
Casey Erin Wood is a speaker, writer and coach obsessed with helping women find the clarity and confidence to own their Authentic Brilliance and shine it out in the world. When she’s not inspiring women to create lives of passion and purpose you can find her nibbling dark chocolate, having dance parties with her daughter or rocking tree pose on her dock. Visit caseyerinwood.com to get free, instant access to her favorite tool for discovering your Authentic Brilliance and creating a bold, luscious life.