Perfection Paralysis 2 – Ask Paula

Kite Flying- Perfection Paralysis

Let Go of Perfection Paralysis and soar …

Perfection paralysis plagues many smart, successful people. Are you one of them?

If so, you’re not alone.

Here’s a question we received after yesterday’s post. It’s from Marina, in Albuquerque:

Dear Paula,

I have a problem with perfectionism. How can I stop trying to be perfect when I’m doing a project? I feel compelled to have my project be as perfect as I can make it. After all, my project represents me and reflects my ability! Can you help?

Dear Marina,

That’s a great question. Perhaps you can cultivate a new relationship with your project, for starters.

Consider the evolution of the relationship between a parent and a child. In the beginning, the parent must closely attend to the infant. But as the child matures, it is beneficial to let go more and more.

Gradually loosening the reins is a valuable step in the evolution of this relationship. In the same way that fostering the independence of the child is an important parental responsibility, allowing your project to stand on its own, without further interference, represents healthy and natural progress.

So support yourself as a “good-enough parent”. Recognize there is a natural time to let go, and to allow your project to make its own way in the world.

Utilizing a mantra can help. I tell myself, “It’s good enough, Paula. It’s REALLY good enough!”

Remember to validate yourself at the end of your project. The more you appreciate your humanity and support balance in your life, the less compelling perfection will be.

Hope this is helpful!

Warm regards,

And speaking of perfectionism, I encountered my own voice of perfectionism and shrank it to a faint whisper earlier this week.

My office is heated by propane – and during our recent, unseasonably cool weather, I used it.

This morning, my husband remarked how warm the room was. “Oh no!” I exclaimed, horror-struck, “The stove has been on all night!” I was immediately annoyed …

And as I reflected on the previous night, I recalled how I hadn’t actually turned the unit off for the night. I berated myself for forgetting and wasting all that propane. (I had made a mistake. I was NOT perfect!)

Fortunately, I recognized my critical self-talk. Bringing in my adult, I identified the lessons I learned from this experience – all very helpful.

I then accessed my nurturer. What would I say to someone else in this situation? I would encourage them to be compassionate. I would suggest bringing in the adult voice, learning the lessons, and letting the rest of it go.

This provided a wonderful learning experience for me. Making a mistake uncovered my imperfect humanness. Then, bringing in adult and compassionate messages demonstrated that I had positive control over my perfection paralysis and don’t need to stay stuck in self-critical thinking.

So here’s to you, as you work to tap into this font of personal power and benefit from it every single day.

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